Friday, March 27, 2015

A CURSE UNBROKEN by Cecy Robson Join the Virtual Book Tour March 2nd thru 27th!



A Curse Unbroken
Weird Girls # 5
By: Cecy Robson
Releasing March 10th, 2015
Loveswept


Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 Gift Card to ebook retailer, Loveswept Mug and Nail Polish)


Blurb

Fans of Keri Arthur will love the Weird Girls, four sisters cursed with supernatural powers. In Cecy Robson’s latest urban fantasy romance, the search is on for an unholy grail, while evil is licking its wounds—and looking for revenge.

The preternatural world is changing. After a massive magical throwdown tore apart the established order, the dark elements are rebuilding their ranks unopposed. Celia Wird’s world is changing, too. She’s the mate of the pureblood were Aric, and his Warriors are honor-bound to protect her family as she and her sisters recover from unimaginable horrors.

Celia hesitates to reveal the true extent of the Wird sisters’ trauma, but they aren’t the only ones keeping secrets: Aric and the werewolf Elders are tracking a stone that grants limitless power. So is a tough coven of witches. Then Misha, a master vampire with his own plans for the stone, sends Celia after it. Can she and the vamps beat both the weres and the witches to the treasure before it falls into the wrong hands?

Fearing for Celia’s safety, Aric begs her to stay out of the hunt. What they don’t realize is that they’re the ones being hunted. But Celia’s ready to prove that she’s not easy prey.

My Review:

I love Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance, and I just discovered this exciting series by Cecy Robson. The story grabbed me from the first chapter and did not stop until the last page. I loved the connection between the Alpha Aric and Celia, who love each other and always have each others backs, not that they don't sometimes have conflicts. There was so much going on, but I never felt lost in this land of magic, shifters, witches, and vamps. How could you not like a brave heroine like Celia, especially as she continues to fight for the good of everyone, even after recovering from a previous attack? My one regret is that I didn't know about this series sooner. I have some Weird Girl novels I have to put on my shopping list. A very enjoyable story.




Buy Links:  Amazon | B & NiTunesKobo

Author Info
Cecy Robson is the New Adult author of Once Perfect, Once Loved, and Once Pure and the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Cecy counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song despite her family’s vehement protests. A full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.






Author Links:  Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | TSU| Google+
























Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Club Thursday for March 26th: Review-UNLEASHED by Rachel Lacey


It's Book Club Thursday and we are wrapping up the month of March with a Review.


Unleashed by Rachel Lacey

 Book #1 Love To The Rescue

Available now by Forever Publishers

B & N      Amazon

Author Website

What happens when you find the right one at the wrong time?

Cara Medlen has a serious case of animal attraction. And it's not because of all the foster dogs she's rescued. She's got it bad for her incredibly sexy neighbor. Her one rule: Don't get attached. It's served her well with the dogs she's given to good homes and the children she's nannied. Yet the temptation of Matt's sexy smile might just convince her that some rules are made to be broken.

Matt Dumont doesn't need his skills as a private investigator to detect disaster on the horizon. Cara is everything he thought he'd never find-gorgeous, funny, and caring. But there's no way he can start a relationship just as he's about to move to another state. Talk about bad timing. As their attraction sizzles too hot to deny, they'll have to make a decision: forget the consequences and let loose, or forget each other and let go...


My Review:

If you love dogs and are looking for a small town romance with a lot of heart, than UNLEASHED might be for you. Cara is an interesting heroine. She has a wonderful heart, is a little kooky and naive and will do anything to help foster dogs who are in a desperate need of a good home. As a cancer survivor, you would think she would enjoy her second chance at life. But until her goal of surviving a certain number of years, she puts her dreams of a photography career and a love life on hold. 
     Just as he is readying to move, she finally meets her neighbor in the townhouse next door, a PI named Matt. After a rocky start and a few days of butting heads, the sparks begin to fly between the two. Matt is a good guy and soon he is helping Cara and her friend Merry to save a couple of dogs who are being neglected and chained outdoors as the weather is turning cold.
     Though their time together is ending, Cara and Matt can't seem to stay away from each other. This story is filled with emotion and you can't help but admire the dedication of Cara and her friends as they try to save as many dogs as they can from the worst of humanity, especially since this is a real problem in this country. Matt and Cara made a fun couple and Ms Lacey delivered a sweet and touching romance of two people who had so much to give to unwanted fur babies and each other. I can't wait to read Merry's story which has just come out.

I hope you enjoyed the review and that you stop by my fellow BCT members blogs to see how they liked UNLEASHED. Stop by next week, April 2nd when we have a new theme: Back In Time.

Romancing the Readers-Ann

Born to Read Books-Cyndi

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

RED HANDED by Shelly Bell Join the Virtual Tour & Read an Excerpt. Try Your Luck and Win A Digital Copy!



Red Handed
A Benediction Novel
By: Shelly Bell
Releasing March 10th, 2015
Avon Red Impulse

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Ten Digital Copies of RED HANDED)

Heat Level: Age 21+

Blurb

An exhibitionist who's waited her whole life to be seen …


After her stepmother is abducted, Danielle Walker has no choice but to follow the kidnapper's cryptic instructions. Under the guise of a sex slave trainee, she must infiltrate Cole DeMarco's BDSM club and find evidence of his offshore bank account … or she'll never see her stepmother alive again. But Master Cole is no stranger, and despite the dark past they share, Danielle cannot resist his magnetic pull.

The voyeur who's always been watching …

As Danielle begins uncovering Cole's secrets, the artistic voyeur arouses her deepest desires, and she surrenders to a fiery passion she never expected. But with time running out to save her stepmother, Danielle and Cole will face off against an evil growing more ruthless by the day … and discover a twisted web of lies, betrayal, and murder that neither saw coming.

Link to Follow Tour
Goodreads Link



Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N | iTunesKobo




Author Info:
A sucker for a happy ending, Shelly Bell writes sensual romance often with a bit of kink and action-filled erotic thrillers with high-emotional stakes for her alpha heroes and kick-ass heroines.

She began writing upon the insistence of her husband who dragged her to the store and bought her a laptop. When she’s not working her day job, taking care of her family, or writing, you’ll find her reading the latest smutty romance.
She currently writes for Avon Red Impulse, Loose Id, and Soul Mate Publishing.



Author Links:  Website | FacebookTwitterGoodreads




Excerpt #3 
Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
“I don’t understand,” Danielle whispered. “Why me?”
He spun her around and yanked her down the hall back to her bedroom. “The only thing you need to understand is Tasha will die if you fail. And don’t even think about calling the police.” He pushed her on the bed. “If you breathe a word of this to anyone, I’ll not only kill her, I’ll torture her first.”
Taking Tasha with them, his men strode down the hall and down the staircase.
Time to go before the police arrived.
“Your plane leaves in five hours. I suggest you make the best of the situation and enjoy yourself.”
Surprising him, she began laughing. “Enjoy myself? How the hell am I supposed to enjoy myself while my stepmother’s life is being threatened?”
His dick swelled at the thought of how Danielle would spend her days and nights. He couldn’t wait until he’d force her to bargain for her life by demonstrating her newly acquired skills on him.
He motioned to the papers in her hands. “Your application has been approved. Congratulations, you are Benediction’s newest sex slave trainee.”
Just as he’d expected, all humor disappeared from her face.
His watch beeped. “When the police arrive in one minute, you’ll tell them you triggered the alarm accidentally. Remember, we’ll be watching you. The clock is ticking, Danielle. You have a week to get me what I want.”
Thirty seconds later, he disappeared into the quiet night, praying Danielle would get the job done.
For all their sakes.

















Friday, March 20, 2015

Double the Romance and Join the Virtual Book Tour for Jennifer Ryan. Read the Excerpts and Enter the Fun Giveaway March 9th thru the 20th!



At Wolf Ranch & When It’s Right
Montana Men Series
Releasing Feb 24th and March 31st, 2015
By: Jennifer Ryan
Avon

 Rafflecopter Giveaway (A Welcome to Montana Gift Basket)

Blurb 

At Wolf Ranch: Montana Men # 1                                                 
Releases February 24th, 2015

After years on the rodeo circuit, Gabe Bowden wants nothing more than land of his own and a woman who will claim his heart for more than one night. When he has the chance to buy the enormous Wolf Ranch spread, he snaps up the incredible deal. Everything is set, until Gabe rescues a woman on the deserted, snowy road leading to the property, and the half-frozen beauty changes everything.

Ella Wolf rushes to her family’s abandoned Montana ranch after her twin sister is murdered. She knows she’s next…unless she can uncover a secret hidden somewhere at Wolf Ranch. The last thing Ella expects is to be rescued by a rugged rancher with his own agenda. A man who almost makes her forget how dangerous love can be…

As an unlikely partnership sparks into something so much more, and a killer closes in, can Ella and Gabe learn to trust one another before it’s too late?


My Review:


Having never read a book by Jennifer Ryan, I didn't know what to expect. I've been seeing the covers of her books and they always caught my eye and then one of my good friends recommended her to me. I'm glad she did. Ms. Ryan starts baiting the hook with exciting writing at the first chapter and the story stays strong throughout the whole book. Ella witnesses the murder of her twin and has to go on the run and to unearth family secrets so that she can get her sister justice. After another ordeal in Montana, she meets Gabe, an ex rodeo cowboy who has just purchased her family ranch. Their chemistry is great and both characters are strong and brave as well as a heartwarming love interest. The pace of the story was great and it kept my interest page after page. I will be adding titles from this authors backlist!

EXCERPT-Chapter One

Three long days without a word. No call. Not even a text. Ella stared at her phone, willing it to ring. She tapped her finger on the screen and stifled the urge to call Lela for the hundredth time that morning.
The coffee shop buzzed with activity. People headed off to work with their lattes and scones. She sipped at her caramel macchiato, reading over the newest projections for the cosmetics line debuting in March on her laptop. The numbers looked promising.
Ella jumped when her phone vibrated on the table. She snatched it up and read the caller ID.
“Finally.” She swiped the screen to accept the call. “Lela—”
“Where have you been?” Uncle Phillip’s demand surprised her.
Why did Uncle Phillip have Lela's phone?
Ella opened her mouth to answer her uncle's question, but he spoke first.
“I oversee the estate. You answer to me.”
“Twisting the truth again, Uncle. Ella and I sign off on everything,” Lela said, her tone unusually sharp. “You’re just a watchdog, there to ensure we adhere to the terms of the will. You have no real power, but you’ll do anything to steal it away, won’t you?”
What? Ella had never heard her sister talk to their uncle in such a disrespectful and spiteful way, or anyone for that matter. Why did her sister call and not say anything to her? Maybe she'd pocket dialed?
“Lela, it's me. What is going on?” Ella got no response. Uncle Phillip continued to speak over her.
“You have no idea what you’re talking about, my dear.” Uncle Phillip’s soft voice belied the steel in his words. “Don’t make me ask again. Be a good girl and tell me where you’ve been?”
This time, her sister answered, but didn’t explain a damn thing. “Uncovering your dirty secret. I know what you did,” her sister accused.
Secrets?
Butterflies in Ella's stomach fluttered like a flock of birds taking flight. The uneasy feeling she’d carried with her these last days intensified.
Ella gathered up her laptop and notebook, stuffing them into her oversized tote. She dumped the dregs of her coffee in the trash on her way out the door. The apartment was only a block up from her favorite cafĂ© she had breakfast at every Tuesday when the house staff had the day off. She kept the phone to her ear and headed home to find out what the hell was going on.
 “You won’t get away with this,” Lela’s voice raised in pitch. It took a lot to rile her sister. Whatever Uncle Phillip had done touched a nerve.
“Whatever you think you know doesn’t amount to anything without proof.” Her uncle used that chilling, yet utterly calm voice.
Ella picked up her pace, sensing the escalation of the situation into something more than just an argument about company business. She pulled her bag close to her side under her arm and ran for her building, knocking elbows and shoulders with other pedestrians. No time to apologize, she ignored their outraged remarks.
“Oh, I have the proof.”
Proof of what?
“You’re lying.” Uncle Phillip let out a nervous laugh.
“You wish.”
Ella past her building's doorman and ran for the elevator, pushing the button three times, frantic for the doors to open.
“Where is it? Show me.”
Come on. Come on. The elevator doors finally opened and she rushed inside and pressed the button for the penthouse. Ella prayed she didn't lose the cell signal and drop the call. She only ever got one bar in the elevators.
“You think I’d be fool enough to bring it here. To you? I’ll see you in jail before this day is over.”
“I’ll see you in a grave first.”
The ice in her uncle’s tone frosted Ella’s heart. The evil laced there erased all trace of the man she knew. He meant those ominous words. 
Lela gasped and let out a startled shriek. Ella didn't want to believe her uncle actually struck Lela, but that’s what it sounded like.
“What. Did. You. Find?”
“Everything,” Lela sputtered.
What? What are you talking about?
“If you’re lying to me—”
“Let me go. It’s over. There’s nothing you can do. I can prove you did it.”
Did what?
“Don’t look at him,” Uncle Phillip snapped.
Him? Who else is there?
“Please, do some—”
“He’s not here to help you, you stupid girl. He works for me. Everyone works for me. You should have left well enough alone.”
Lela shrieked again. Ella's heart dropped into her stomach.
“This is your final chance. Tell me where it is and I’ll make this quick. Refuse and I'll take my time. You'll know the meaning of the word pain when I'm done with you.”
Touch her and I will make you pay.
“Go to hell.”
“Where is it, you little bitch?”
“You will pay for what you’ve done. I’ll never cave.”
“Tell me what I want to know, and maybe, I’ll show you mercy.”
“You won’t...get...away...with this,” Lela stammered, something choking off her words. “The truth will...roll out. Come out.”
Something about the way she said it the first time struck Ella, but her mind couldn’t process anything right now. She slammed her palm against the elevator doors, wishing the damn thing would hurry up.
Please, Lela, get out of there.
“Last chance. Where did you hide it?”
The intensity in his voice sent a shiver up Ella's spine.
The elevator doors finally opened. She ran down the hall to her door, shoved it open, and nearly tripped over Lela's suitcase. Where had she been?
“If you won't help me, I'll find someone who will.”
Who is she talking to?
“Uncle Phillip, please. Put the gun down.”
“Where. Is. It?”
“I'll never tell you where I hid it.”
Ella ran across the living room. Her gaze locked on her uncle's outstretched arm, the gun in his hand level with her sister's chest. Her father's blood red ruby pinky ring winked in the morning light streaming through the windows.
“Tell me,” her uncle yelled.
“Never.”
“Then you're of no use to me anymore.”
The crack of the gunshot stopped Ella in her tracks. Her sister's eyes went wide when the bullet plowed into her chest. Blood blossomed over her cream colored sheath dress, like some gruesome poppy. Lela wilted in slow motion into a heap on the floor. Her legs kicked in a quick jerk, and she never moved again.
Ella stood frozen, rooted to the spot just outside the library doors, her gaze fastened on her sister's lifeless green eyes.
“Damnit, we needed her alive.” A man she couldn’t see said from inside the room. It took her a second to place the voice. Detective Robbins.
What is he doing here? Why didn't he help?
Self preservation kicked in and she scurried to the side of the door. Hands shaking, her stomach in knots, a whirlwind of thoughts circled her mind, but nothing explained why her uncle killed her beautiful sister. It couldn't be, she denied the stark reality. She leaned over and spied through the crack in the open door. 
Uncle Phillip kneeled next to Lela and touched his finger to her bloody neck. “If I’d had more time, I could have gotten her to talk.”
“You mean if you hadn't lost your temper.”
Ella’s heart broke into a billion sharp pieces that slashed her soul to shreds. Her other half — gone. The emptiness engulfed her. She covered her mouth with both hands to hold back the scream of pain rising up her aching throat. Her eyes filled with tears and Lela’s face, the same one Ella saw in the mirror each morning, swam in front of her.  
Uncle Phillip stood, tugged at one shirt cuff and then the other to straighten his crisp white shirt. Her father’s ruby cuff links sparked with a glint of light from the overhead chandelier. He ran a hand over his more gray than dark brown hair, smoothing it back. Composed again, he turned to the door. Her breath hitched and stopped. She thought he saw her. His next words startled her even more.
“The stupid girl doesn’t know when to quit.” He pulled a handkerchief from his gray slack’s pocket and wiped his sweaty face, devoid of wrinkles thanks to his many trips to the dermatologist for Botox injections.
“You’re lucky she called me.”
“Did she tell you what she found?”
“No. She asked me to meet her here. Her confidence in whatever she had on you convinced me to take her seriously. If she actually had something and shared it with anyone, you’ll go down for everything.”
“Don’t think you won’t fall with me,” her uncle threatened.
The detective moved forward, blocking her view of her uncle, and stared down at Lela. “What do you want to do with the body?”
Lela was a body. Bile rose in Ella's throat.
Her uncle clinked open a crystal decanter at the bar across the room, pouring himself a drink of the expensive bourbon he preferred. She prayed he choked on it.
“Give me a minute to think.” The ice in his voice melted and turned less definitive and more hesitant.
“We need to find that evidence. If it falls into the wrong hands—”
“Shut up.” Her uncle sounded as out of control as she felt. Her insides in chaos, not a single thought of what to do taking shape in her mind.
“We need to retrace her steps over the last few days. Find out where she went. Who she saw. We’d have the state attorney and FBI banging down the door if she gave the evidence to anyone. She hid it somewhere. We need to find out where and get it.”
“Easier said than done. She was smart.”
“Not smart enough to pull this off. She contacted you without ever considering your association with me. She was naive.” He toed Lela’s still body with his Italian leather shoe.
“Our business arrangement has been mutually beneficial, but if you think I’ll be your patsy, you’re wrong. So, think, damnit, where would she hide the evidence?”
“I don’t fucking know.” Her uncle slammed the empty glass down on the desk. “But Ella might.”
“Do you think Lela told her what she uncovered?” Detective Robbins asked.
“No. Ella asked me and the staff several times if Lela came home or called. I’m almost certain Lela worked this out on her own and left her recalcitrant sister out of it.”
“Almost certain isn’t good enough. Why the hell didn’t you cover your tracks better?”
“I did.”
“If you did, we wouldn’t be here right now.”
Ella needed to call the police and have them arrest these two for killing her sweet, gentle sister. But the police were standing right there, helping destroy her life.
The room was silent for a moment, and Ella was certain they’d hear her ragged breathing. She jumped when her uncle spoke again.
“Detective, let me tell you a story.” Uncle Phillip’s voice was eerily calm. “Our studious, prim, Lela earned her master’s degree and worked as an executive at the company to satisfy the terms of the will and earn her place at Wolf Enterprises. Sadly, her Princess Party Girl twin sister barely made an effort, working in the mailroom and every other odd job at the company. While it satisfies the general terms of the will, Lela's carried the weight and shouldered all the responsibility for the business.
“Lela finally had enough and confronted her sister right here in this room. Ella, party girl that she is, had been out all night and was high, not at all in her right mind. The fight escalated. Ella knows I keep a gun in my desk drawer. She grabbed it and shot Lela. She panicked, but somehow had the wherewithal to try to cover it up, making it look like a robbery gone wrong. With Lela gone, she will inherit the company and other Wolf assets.
“It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? Such a pity. Lela had such a promising future. I couldn’t be more heartbroken.
“Set the scene, Detective, and then find Ella. Take her to a hotel. Not a dump, but not extravagant either. She's hiding out. Make the place look like she's been on a bender, drinking, doing drugs. The pain and grief send Ella over the edge and she ODs. No one will question it. Use your contacts in the police department and morgue to prove what happened...make the evidence show Ella murdered Lela.
“This is more than I signed on for,” Detective Robbins said.
“Don’t think you’re so indispensable. There are plenty of others on my payroll in this town, higher up the food chain than you, that would do my bidding without blinking.”
“I’ll get it done. I’ll need to use some of those contacts to pull this shit off.”
“You know who to use to make this clean. I want all the evidence, reports, and public perception to corroborate the scenario I’ve outlined.”
Uncle Phillip kneeled by Lela and used his handkerchief to remove her diamond stud earrings. The ones their mother always wore. He unclasped Lela’s bloody necklace with the pendant of a heart made out of roses that matched hers. Ella reached up and wrapped her trembling fingers around the one against her chest and sighed. Lela’s ring came next. Ella gave her the emerald encircled with diamonds for their twenty-first birthday. The night they shared a quiet dinner in an exclusive uptown restaurant and planned their future and fulfilling their parents' wishes and dreams for them.
She took a step forward to snatch the ring and everything else her uncle took from them back. She wanted to claw his eyes out and see him in a grave. Not her sister. Not Lela.
“What are you going to do with that?” The detective indicated the handful of gold and gems.
“Don’t worry about it. Do your job. The one I pay you extremely well to do.”
Her uncle went to the bar, grabbed a towel, and wiped down the gun. He wrapped it in the towel and handed it to the detective. “The household staff knows I keep this gun in the top drawer of my desk. Unlocked. Easy enough for Ella to take it and use it on her sister. Plant it, along with the drugs and alcohol at the hotel room. Make sure the report shows Ella's prints are on the gun and it is a ballistic match to the bullet in her. Tomorrow morning the staff will arrive for work and discover the body. You've got until then to find Ella and kill her.”
Ella had wasted enough time. She needed to get away. Fast.
Her gaze fell on her dead sister. Her soul pleaded with Lela to wake up and make this all just a bad dream. But Lela remained motionless on the floor.
Ella backed away from the door, turned, rushed back to the foyer, and grabbed her sister’s suitcase, coat, purse, her own tote, and walked out the door, closing it with a quiet snick of the latch. Maybe she'd find a clue in her sister's things.
She took the elevator down and walked through the lobby and out the door in a daze. The doorman took the coat draped over her arm. “Let me help you with that, Miss Wolf.”
She mechanically stuffed her arms in the sleeves of Lela's favorite cobalt blue coat. Her sister's scent brought tears to her eyes. She blinked to keep them at bay. The doorman hailed her a cab and she tossed her stuff in the backseat and slid in.
“Where to?”
Ella couldn’t think past the fear and grief eating away at her insides. She didn’t know where to go or who to turn to that she could definitely say wasn’t in her uncle’s pocket. Detective Robbins would check with all her friends. She couldn’t risk going to one of them and putting them in danger.
Her gaze fell on her sister’s suitcase and the baggage tag still on the handle. She didn’t know the BZN airport code. The purse lay on her lap, her fingers clutching it in a death grip. She made herself relax and unzip the bag. She found the airline ticket voucher inside. Bozeman.
Why did you go to Montana?
They hadn’t been back to the family ranch since her father died in a plane crash when they were fourteen.
“Where are we off to?” The driver asked again, pulling her out of her dark thoughts. A plan started to form.
“Airport.” She barely choked out the word.
She’d retrace her sister’s steps, find out what she’d been doing the last three days, where she went and who she saw. She’d find the evidence Lela died for, and God help her uncle when she did.







Buy Links:  AmazonB & NiTunesKobo
         
Blurb

When It’s Right: Montana Men #2                                  
Releases March 31st, 2015

Gillian‘s turbulent life has never been easy, but nothing prepared her for the moment of violence that sends her and her little brother running from San Francisco to her grandfather’s ranch in Montana. A man she’s never met. She learned long ago not to trust anyone, but she’ll do anything to keep her brother safe and give him the happy childhood she never had. When she meets Blake Bowden, a strong, silent, gorgeous cowboy who teaches her about the ranch and rescued horses-animals who have been through hell and back, just as she has-Gillian begins to feel at ease for the first time in memory. In fact, she even starts to feel happy. But in her world happiness has always been fleeting, and she’s not sure she can believe in it or the man who has quickly found his way into her heart.

Blake has everything he’s ever wanted: a partnership on a ranch that allows him to spend his day in the saddle training racehorses. His life is good, steady, uncomplicated…until the most beautiful, haunted looking woman arrives at Three Peaks Ranch. If he wants to keep his ideal life, his partner’s granddaughter is entirely off limits, but Gillian awakens a protective instinct in Blake that he can’t ignore…and ignites a passion he shouldn’t feel. But as Gillian heals and finds her way back into the world, Blake knows that he’s found the one thing that he never knew he was missing. And when danger comes close, he will do anything he must to keep Gillian safe…even if it means risking his life’s dream.


My Review:

I actually read this story first and it grabbed me from the first chapter and never let go. Though she is young, Gillian has lived a harsh life while protecting her little brother. After suffering a severe injury, she gets to go live at her grandfather's ranch and live the normal life that she and her brother were cheated out of by the people who should have loved them the most. While there she also meets Blake, a partner of the ranch. You can feel the whoosh of Cupid's arrow as the sparks begin to fly hot and heavy between the couple. Ms Ryan is never heavy handed with some of the harshness of the life Gillian has endured in this emotional blend of romance and suspense. Readers will be rooting for Gillian's and Gabe's HEA. What a wonderful addition to this new series!

EXCERPT: Chapter One

 Chapter One
San Francisco, California

“Help me!”
Home late from her shift washing dishes at the Jade Palace, Gillian pounded up the two flights of stairs as fast as her legs allowed. She hit the landing and turned right, racing down the hallway past her apartment’s open door to Mrs. Wicks's unit at the end of the hall. She’d heard the screams from outside. Not the first time she’d answered that call, but so help her God, if her father touched one hair on Justin’s head, she’d kill him.
“I’m calling the police,” the babysitter, Mrs. Wicks, threatened loud enough for her voice to carry down the hall.
“Damnit, woman, he’s my blood,” her father bellowed.
Gillian rushed into the apartment, spotted Justin holding his arm, tears shimmering in his eyes, but otherwise appearing unharmed. She looked her father up and down assessing the situation in a glance and the odds on talking him down from whatever ludicrous idea had taken root in his shadowed mind. Dressed in the same clothes he’d left in four days ago, his hair an oily mass hanging lank to his shoulders, he reeked of whiskey, cigarette and pot smoke, and acrid body odor. The wild look in his bloodshot eyes told her he hadn’t slept in a good long while. Riding a meth high, he’d probably binged for days. Soon, he’d lose all sense of reality and need more of the drug that wouldn’t give him the high he needed, since he’d overloaded his system. He’d crash, his body shutting down and putting him into a deep sleep for a day, or two, or three before he woke up miserable, needing more of what put him in this psychotic state in the first place.
Frustrated and angry, but resigned to this same worn-out routine, she shored up her resolve to get through this night, like she’d done too many times in the past, trapped raising a child with little money and even fewer choices. None of them good.
Her father paced, his movements jerky. He scratched at his arm, his legs, the back of his neck with his grime filled nails. He slapped at his thigh, then bit at the tips of his fingers. A hint to how far he’d fallen down the rabbit hole. Not good.
“Dad, come on. Let’s go home. I’ll make you something to eat,” she coaxed, keeping her voice calm.
A powder keg of roiling rage, you never knew what would set him off.
Justin cowered in the corner of the couch, his eyes wide and watchful. He didn’t move, afraid of drawing her father’s attention. Even at six, he knew the rules of this twisted game.
Mrs. Wicks moved into the kitchen, leaving Jessie to handle getting her father out of there and back to their place. She’d done it before. Usually, he’d come looking for her. She’d been held up at work, and he’d found little Justin alone. She never left Justin with him if she could help it, especially over the last year when her father spent more time strung-out and paranoid on meth than comfortably numb with booze and pot, like he’d been every day of her life.
The last two weeks had been hell. Her patience had worn thin days ago. If she could hold on, get him out of Mrs. Wicks’s apartment and into theirs, she could take Justin and crash somewhere else for a few days until her father came down and leveled off.
Then, joy, they could start this whole thing over again.
I wish Justin and I were anywhere else.
Inside, the pressure built. How good it would feel to open her mouth and unleash a string of curses, insults, and blame for what her father put her and Justin through day in and day out. She hated him for spending his life drowning in a bottle and doing drugs, his life going up in smoke. Her life went up with it. Justin’s too. She wanted it to end. One way or another, just end.
Her father swatted at some imaginary bird, or butterfly, or dragon for all she knew. Only he saw the tormenting hallucinations. If he was this far gone, he was even more volatile and dangerous than usual.
“Dad, come on. I’ll make you a burger and get you a beer.”
“We have to go.” His words came out rushed. He swatted at the air again, this time spinning around to the right before he stopped and turned the other way again, tracking his imaginary flying devils, waving his arms over his head to swat them away.
She shook her head, frustrated and tired of dealing with him. This. Everything. She wanted to run away, but where would she go? It was all she could do now to keep a roof over Justin’s head and food in his belly with the diminishing help her father supplied. Out on the streets, or in a shelter, they’d be vulnerable to even more horrors. What kind of life would that be for Justin? Better than this one? Maybe. Maybe not. Still, she needed to find a way to give Justin better than she’d had growing up with a volatile drunk, who could barely keep a bartending job and supplemented his income selling drugs to support his own habits.
“We have to go. We have to go. We have to go,” her father chanted, getting agitated, hitting the side of his head with one hand and scratching at the imaginary bugs crawling under his skin on his leg with the other.
Fed up, she stepped toward him to grab his arm and lead him back to their place. He jumped out of her reach and laughed. The sound held no humor, but a touch of hysteria in the odd shriek. Her father pointed at her, shaking his head side to side. “No. No. No. No. No.” Again, his ominous giggle sent a chill up her spine.
Her father grabbed Justin’s arm and yanked him off the couch. She stood her ground in front of him. No way he left here with Justin.
“Let him go. He needs to finish his homework.” She made up the excuse, hoping he’d release Justin, and she could get him out of there.
“He’s mine. He’ll keep them away. He’s got the light that turns them away.”
Paranoid, delusional asshole.
She sighed, knowing just where this was going and not liking it one bit. Soon, her father would spiral into a psychotic delusion no one could talk him out of.
Please, just pass out already.
Not that lucky, she tensed and waited to see what came next. Her father pulled Justin in front of him, held him by both arms and turned him this way and that, a shield against an enemy only he could see.
“Ow!” Justin cried out when her father’s fingers dug into his thin arms.
“Keep them back.” Her father tugged on Justin again. Hurt and scared, Justin planted his feet and pulled away, trying to get free. Her father held tighter, spun him around to face him, and when her father hurt Justin and he fell to the floor, tears spilling from his eyes, Jessie's couldn't take the ache in her heart and her anger exploded.
“Keep them back.” Her father shook Justin again.
Jessie lost it. “I warned you, if you ever touched him...” She lunged for her father, striking him in the arm, breaking his hold on Justin. She shoved her father two steps back and Justin ran for Mrs. Wicks in the kitchen, who rattled off the building address to the police on the phone. Not the first time someone called the cops on her father, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. No way they got here in time to stop him. Whatever happened next, she’d sure as hell make sure he never got anywhere near Justin again.
Her father came after her in a drug-hazed rage that gave him strength and sent him into a mindless attack. All other thoughts disappeared behind the fury filling his mind. Her father only knew how to hurt. She’d been through this too many times to count and braced for the impact when his fist came at her straight into her eye. Pain exploded in her head. She shoved him in the chest, but he came back with a slap to her jaw that stung something fierce. She kicked him in the shin and shoved him again. He fell back two steps, his hand coming up from behind his back. Momentarily stunned, she didn’t move, but stared down the gun's black barrel in disbelief that he’d actually pulled a weapon on her. She didn’t know where he’d gotten it, only that this added a whole other level to what had seemed like just another rotten night in her life.
Her father held the gun steady, even when he swatted the imaginary devils pestering him. His eyes narrowed on her and in that moment she joined him in the madness she saw swirling in his gaze.
You or me?
One of them wasn't leaving that room alive.
Justin needs me.
You.
She rushed him, grabbed the gun, spun her back into his chest, the gun in both their hands pointed to the window. He tried to wrench it free, punching her in the ribs with his free hand. She jerked on the gun again and again and scratched his hand to get him to release it until he finally let go and the gun thumped onto the floor and skittered across the scarred hardwood. He shoved her from behind. She stumbled forward, scooped the gun off the floor, and turned to face him.
Never turn your back on a psycho.
He leaned forward and charged her like a wounded beast, murder in his eyes and a guttural yell that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.
She swung the gun up and fired. Once. Twice.
Mrs. Wicks screamed.
Blood bloomed on his chest. Still he kept coming. His hands fisted in her T-shirt. He lifted her off her feet and shoved her backward into the window. Her back and head hit the glass with a crack a split second before it shattered. Glass tore and bit into her skin, but she didn’t feel the pain past the one thought in her head. It’s done.
Justin screamed, “Gillian, no!”
I'm sorry.
She flew through the window.
Her father’s dark form stood in the opening, highlighted by the lights behind him. He literally dropped to the floor out of her sight.
Be safe, Justin. Be happy.
Her body slammed into the roof of a car with a sickening thud. Everything went black.





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Author Info
Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.

Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.



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