Saturday, October 24, 2015

Miranda's Dilemma by Natasha Blackthorne




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 Erotic Historical Romance ~ Courtesan/Non-virginal Heroine 

 Poised to become Mayfair’s most expensive and exclusive courtesan, Miss Miranda Jones finds her rise inexplicably blocked by a socially powerful nobleman. Scorned by her ducal father and determined to attain everything that life has denied her due to an accident of birth, she’s not about to let this arrogant earl stop her. 

 Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, saw his father destroyed by a heartless, predatory courtesan. He has no time or patience for such exotic, expensive ladybirds. He’s far too busy restoring his family’s wealth and reputation whilst doing what he can to protect his friends from the clutches of all the scheming courtesans of London. 

 Then a moment of compassion turns intense dislike to breathless passion, and these two strong-willed, fiercely proud people are compelled to indulge in a brief affair. Each is convinced that they can satisfy their craving for the other without emotional risk. 

 But neither realizes that a little dalliance can be a dangerous thing. 

  Reader Advisory: This is an erotic historical romance and it contains frank sexual language and period appropriate sexual slang, frequent sexual scenes and descriptions and general bedchamber naughtiness. The characters discuss abuse issues from their backstories during the course of their developing relationship. For Adults 18 & Over Only. 

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Natasha Blackthorne writes hot & sensual Erotic Historical Romance where deeply flawed characters find love & trust. Her stories are most frequently about the intimate journey of the characters as they learn to open their hearts to love. Natasha’s heroines are not perfect ladies. They are wildflowers and wallflowers who flirt with the forbidden. Whether they are bold or shy, these heroines’ strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot and drive their heroes to the point of no return. Natasha’s heroes are strong and dominant and live their lives with strength and purpose. They support their women in everything. 

 Natasha holds a B.A. in History, loves reading, cats and music. Readers are welcomed to Friend her on Facebook where she is most socially active online.

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She's Got It All by Jewel Quinlan


TITLE – She’s Got it All
AUTHOR – Jewel Quinlan
GENRE – Contemporary/New Adult Romance
COVER ARTIST – Darlene Dixon w/Wicked Smart Design


She’s living her dream, not knowing she’s stolen someone else’s…
For Kayla Cross, getting a job as a DJ at legendary club Grace in Ibiza is a dream come true. It’s what she has worked for her entire life. Even if she had to do it behind her parents’ back, like a dirty secret—then and now. She left everything behind in order to give it her all, and she finds it’s going to take far more than the level of confidence she has in order to pull it off.
Lex Granger thought the job was his. But it wasn’t. And not getting the DJ job means another season of bartending, and watching longingly as others play on stage. When his boss orders him to make Kayla feel at home, he almost rebels. But his need to pay bills wins over his emotions. He resents his competition but can’t help being affected by her sunny disposition, talent, and long, lean form. Walking the line between admiration and envy can be agony...




Kayla had seamlessly taken control of the sound system a few minutes ago and the stuff she had been playing was good, better than the typical pre-recorded shit. But what caught his attention now was the sound of her voice. She was singing into the mic on her headset. Not lyrics but a beautiful stream of notes that seemed to flutter from her gut up to her vocal cords in a lilting sound that was captivating.The notes she sang rose and fell, exotic and mysterious with the intriguing underlying beat. Her voice called, it drew…and soon women rose from their seats to the small dance area to move and sway with the music, and the men followed them. The same people who had been oblivious of the music a moment before as they’d smoked and talked were now giving their full attention to Kayla. It wasn’t just the music that mesmerized them; it was Kayla herself. She was a vision. Her blonde hair gleamed under the lights, and her shoulders and hips writhed in a sexy dance, and all the while she continued to turn knobs and flip switches to make the music she sang to. She was absorbed in it and having a great time. Sometimes her hair flicked when she gyrated, as if in punctuation to her movements. Combined with the sound of her voice, she was like a beacon—the song of an angel caressing and drawing everyone in. It was like nothing he’d ever heard before. “Hola!” said a man in an aggressive tone, waving a one hundred Euro bill. “Can we get ten shots of PatrĂ³n?” “Of course. Right away, friend.” Lex focused back in on his job. It was awhile before he could come back up for air. But when he did, he noticed that the space was packed with bodies dancing to the music Kayla played. And, although she was keeping it mellow as instructed, it was the biggest crowd he’d ever seen on the terrace during the day. Security continuously went through, trying to keep key paths clear. Hands holding cell phones were up in the air, outstretched toward her, as they took pictures and videos. Through it all, she wore the brightest smile he’d ever seen, occasionally lifting one hand to press the earphones closer. She changed the tempo to a faster beat and the crowd responded with cheers. She bounced up and down in joy, hand waving above her head with exhilaration, and the people lifted and pumped their fists in mimicry. She was every bit as good as any DJ they’d had before and more. She was the embodiment of everything he thought he would have experienced and felt had it been him on the stage. Somehow, she caught him watching, and gave him a cheery wave. Embarrassed, he waved awkwardly back, and then pulled his eyes back down to the bar. And, even though he could acknowledge that Rick had been right, that she was good, he couldn’t help feeling the tiny nugget of palpable distaste lodged deep in his chest.


Chelsea O'Neal lives in her fantasy world where people can fly, vampires could be real, money is never an issue and the romantic meeting of your true love is a normal happening. When not relaxing in Chelsea-ville, she enjoys talking with animals who talk back and taking long walks with her prince charming.
Actually Chelsea lives in the United States in Nebraska, where she was born and raised, with her black lab Daisey, who hasn't spoken actual words to her but she is pretty sure Daisey understands her. She is yet to meet her prince charming, though she is quite sure he is out there. Chelsea enjoys working as a youth librarian. She is an avid reader and writing has always been her passion. Chelsea has written 3 novels and a novella, she is working on her next book now.



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Triple Release ~ Men Of Mercy Series by Lindsay Cross

Triple Release of the MEN OF MERCY Series

AUTHOR: Lindsay Cross
OFFICIAL GENRE: Romantic Suspense (hot heat level)


Hunter James didn’t want or need redemption. 

Until one mission turns his world upside down. 

He left Mercy to fight for his country and escape a broken heart. Years later, he is hard. Cold. A man without mercy. Part of an elite Task Force, he tracks a brutal terrorist to his home town. And runs into the woman who betrayed him…

Evangeline Videl was destroyed when Hunter left. Determined to move on, she finds another man, but discovers too late the monster hidden beneath his smooth smile. Struggling to find the conviction to live, Evie finds her life spinning out of control. 

Then Hunter returns…

Forced to band together to find the terrorist before its too late, Hunter and Evie must learn to forgive or risk losing the promise of redemption and their lives…

"Hey." His Southern drawl put Matthew McConaughey to shame. Slow. Sexy. And familiar.

Her gaze traveled up the muscled torso to a pair of dark chocolate-brown eyes. 

Holy crap.

"Hunter James." His name breathed past her lips on a whisper. 

For the second time that night her heart stuttered and her stomach clenched tight. 

Hunter blocked her path, his towering six-foot-four frame packaged in a tight-fitting black T-shirt and jeans that showcased his muscles. His arms had to be twice the size they were the last time he’d been here. His gaze twice as intense. Her reaction twenty times that.

According to the town gossips, he’d been back in Mercy for a couple of weeks, but so far he’d avoided her. And she’d prayed daily he would stay away. Every time he came home on leave, he seemed to make it a point to show up here. At her bar. With another woman on his arm. Making sure she saw he’d moved on. And each time her heart broke a little more.

"Need some help?" he asked.

Her brain took a full minute to kick into gear, then another minute to reconnect to her mouth. "What?" 

"You look like you could use some help. Can I do anything?" His serious voice passed through lips that were way too tempting. 

She couldn't think. The man standing before her had gone AWOL with her heart over five years ago, like the tail end of a twister after a storm. Part of her had been happy he'd left. The other part had been devastated. Their love had been wild and crazy, but ultimately destructive. 

She noticed the knotted wood cane leaning against the table beside him. "What's with the cane?" 

Hunter grinned and shifted his weight to the side. "What's with the wet clothes?" He extinguished his cigarette and stepped away from the doorway leading to the upstairs apartment, his limp noticeable. 

Evie crossed her arms over her chest, the action squeezing more beer out of her bra. Her lips pressed into a tight line and she forced herself to answer, "Wet T-shirt contest. It's a new thing we’re trying."

Evie straightened her arms, clenching and unclenching her fists at her sides in time with the ticking in his jaw. A couple day’s stubble graced the hard planes of his face, only a little shorter than the black hair buzzed close to his scalp. He looked as if he’d been chiseled from steel.

Hunter leaned in close and Evie's stomach knotted. Lust built inside her, pushing against her dam of resistance. "I bet you won."

He wasn't staring at her chest, she had to give him that. No, his target appeared to be her mouth. His head lowered to hers and her mind went blank. If she had been thinking like a full-grown woman, she would have jerked back before his lips made contact. But tonight her brain had pointed and aimed but failed to fire.



Ranger James accepted his best friend’s death like a good soldier. With guilt. Regret. Vengeance. But a forbidden desire keeps pulling him from his mission…

Desire for his best friend’s widow.

Killed in Action. That’s why Rachel Carter’s husband wasn’t coming home. 

A war widow, alone and broke, Rachel struggles to revive her family’s crop dusting service to survive. Now she takes to the skies to find escape. Escape from the pain. From the guilt. From the earth-shattering desire for her husband’s best friend. 

Rachel and Ranger can’t fight the attraction between them any longer. But one fateful night cleaves their new found love in two...

Can they find the will to fight for true love? Or will an evil so shocking destroy their lives for good?

Rachel spun around, the yellow airplane a perfect backdrop to her beautiful face. “What are you doing here?”

Ranger let his gaze travel from her scruffy boots, torn jeans and gloriously figure hugging tank, to the top of her dark red head. Her pink cheeks flushed. 

“Like what you see?” 

Ranger approached, her green gaze turned wary. Good. She should be worried. She’d doused him in chemicals. His skin still itched. He reached forward, plucked an oil stick from her ponytail and sent her hair spilling to her shoulders. He caught the brief scent of flowers and oil. 

Rachel grabbed her hair, lips parted. Angry. Stubborn. Sexy.

He held up the stick right in front of her face. “Oil stick.” 

Rachel snatched it from his fingers and tossed it across the room. “I told you to stay away from me.”
Ranger shrugged, his brain still caught on the image of her jean-clad ass hanging out of that airplane. Forget Sports Illustrated. He had farm fucking fantastic right here. 

"Don't you think dropping that all-natural excuse for chemicals on me is a bit dramatic? If you want to get me naked all you had to do is ask." Ranger gestured to himself, sweeping his hand from his head down to his torso, Rachel's eyes followed. 

That definitely wasn't desperation or anger in her gaze.

The desire he’d been trying to hold in check for months reared up inside him.

"You think I want to see you naked?” Rachel snorted, lifted her chin. “Besides, I figured anything would be an improvement to your normal smell.” So much for her vulnerability.

The wind picked up, blew into the hangar. Ranger shifted, praying the wind wouldn’t open the fly on his boxers, and almost covered himself. Almost. Until he remembered she was the reason for his stench. Instead, he stood tall. “You’ve never had a problem with the way I smelled before.” 

“My manners were just too good to say anything.” She strode past him, punishing him with the sexy sway of her hips. 

Dammit, he was so hard up for her, even her walk had his mind blanking. He stood there, nearly naked, and drenched in herbicide, and she walked past him like a stranger on a sidewalk.
Running from him. Again. 

“Rachel Ann.” He didn’t yell, but she stopped mid-stride. Turned. Lips parted.

“You did that on purpose,” Ranger said. She’d been hard headed even in high-school, when he tried to break up with her, explaining that he needed a little space to see if life in Mercy was what he really wanted. Jumping on the marriage and kids bandwagon at eighteen years old had scared the shit out of him. But he’d obliterated any chance for reconnecting with Rachel when she’d seen him making out with Tonya at the football game senior year. 

He hadn’t thought that leaving her to sow the wild oats of his youth would be a self-fulfilling prophecy of regret. Or that his best friend would move in on Rachel so fast and fill the void that Ranger had left in her heart. 

“You bet your ass I did.”

“What the hell for?” He couldn’t get her smell, her taste, her touch out of his head. But she’d dumped shit on him for the last time.

Her eyes narrowed and her lips flattened. “I warned you.”

Yeah, she’d warned him to stay away from her. He’d stayed with her for weeks, helping her after the funeral. She’d healed physically, but remained an emotional tomb. 

“I promised Shane, if anything ever happened to him, I’d look out for you.” He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss that angry expression right off her face. He’d wanted her since high-school, but when she’d married Shane, he’d vowed to put those feelings away. Forever. But the attraction hadn’t disappeared. And he knew it never would. “I know the chemistry between us is weird. Scary. But dammit it’s real and it’s here and now. You’re just flying through the clouds because you don’t want to see what’s on the ground right in front of you.”

If he hadn’t been studying every minute expression on her face he would have missed the brief flash of vulnerability in her gaze. Then her anger slid back in place. “The only thing I feel is annoyance. Are you so desperate that you have to chase after what you can’t have? You dumped me first, remember?”

Him? Desperate? No. He’d never had a problem getting women. Until Rachel. 

If he hadn’t been so young and stupid he would have been the one she’d married. Not Shane.

Now all he could think, all he could see, was the small sprinkle of freckles across her pert nose. He could be on a mission in a third world country or down the road. It didn’t matter. She affected him. 
He had an all-consuming need for his best friend’s wife. He hadn’t counted on lust eating him alive. 

But he had honor. He had loyalty. Ranger had vowed over Shane’s grave to take care of Rachel.



They say you can’t go home again. Jared Crowe never wanted to. 

Home meant facing memories of abuse and neglect. Of dark closets and evil nightmares. Of his own relatives intent on killing him. But now his brother’s kidnapping forces him to face those demons. Only this time, Jared isn’t a scared little boy. He’s a full-grown Special Forces operative bent on revenge.

As a little girl, Sparrow Pickney risked her life to free two abused boys. As a grown woman Sparrow needs to earn a place in her adopted family’s business or be forced into a life of degradation. The chance to prove her family loyalty comes when she catches Jared spying on the compound and captures him.

When Jared sees his captor, he realizes she’s the girl of his dreams and vows to rescue her from a life of poverty. What Jared doesn’t know is Sparrow may not be the savior he remembers…but the one responsible for abducting and torturing his brother.

Jared is determined to find the truth. But that truth may be more than his heart can take.

It had been nearly twenty years since he’d seen her, but Jared could never forget those golden eyes. Eyes that had haunted his dreams ever since. Had she joined up with Kay? Or was she simply one of those poor souls struggling to survive? 

The thought of Sparrow slowly starving filled him with a sense of guilt. He should have made her leave with them. Even though they’d been children when she’d freed them, Jared had been big enough to drag her out, whether she’d wanted to go or not.

She leaned over him, reaching for his hands. Her floppy hat fell down, blinding her, and she ripped it off and tossed it across the room. Long caramel-colored hair, full of sun-kissed highlights, waterfalled down the sides of her face and tickled his nose. Her scent surrounded him now, flooding his senses. Honeysuckle and wildflowers. His cock swelled in an instant. Jared gnashed his teeth together, trying to quell his intense reaction to her nearness.

Sparrow leaned down further and her loose tank top gaped open, treating him to a glorious view of surprisingly plump breasts cupped in a plain sports bra. His gaze locked onto her beaded nipples through the cotton. Fuck he wanted to rip that bra down and reveal what was hidden beneath. The loose manly clothes she wore made her look stick thin, but womanly curves were concealed beneath them. 

Sparrow sighed and sat up straight, leaving rope dangling uselessly on his wrists. Jared gripped the metal headboard with his hands, waiting for her next move. She stood there for a moment and studied him, trying to decide what to do. Well, he wasn't going to help her out one little bit.

"Keep your hands right there, got it?" Her voice was stern.

"Yes ma'am.” He had no intention of acting up. Yet.

She placed a knee on the mattress, and in one swift movement straddled him, settling on his belly. Jared groaned and closed his eyes thankful she hadn’t sat down lower on his body; otherwise, she would have gotten her own surprise. She leaned over him spreading her knees wider up his chest. His eyes popped open, unable to resist another view of her bare skin. 

"You can stop with the theatrics right now, I know I’m not big enough to crush you."

If only that were his problem. Her shirt dipped down even more and he fixated on the pale mounds of her breasts straining against the material of her sports bra. It was a crime to lock those beauties up in serviceable cotton. 

She should wear nothing but pure silk and lace, perfect for him to rip off her body.

Her hair curtained around him again, and her soft lips parted in concentration as she worked. He was aware of every inch of exposed skin—from the graceful hollow of her neck to her supple forearms peeking out from the rolled up sleeves of her checkered work shirt. Even more aware of the intense heat radiating from her core, pressed so intimately to his chest.

"There. All done." She sat back, a satisfied smile on her lips.

Jared tugged on the rope. He’d completely zoned out on anything other than her straddling him. It didn't give an inch—the knot she’d tied was worthy of a professional. A small ounce of foreboding seeped into him. “Where did you learn to tie knots?" 

"Trapping. Working snares. Been doing it since I was a kid." Her words were so matter-of-fact, he had no doubt she spoke the truth. Holy shit. He yanked on the ropes, but they didn’t move. 

“Impressive.” Jared wriggled his fingers and wrists, testing for any weakness. He found none.

“Might as well stop struggling. Nobody’s ever been able to get out of one of my knots. And I used my new rope too, so it wouldn’t snap easy.” She made a snapping motion with her fingers, the emphasis driving in just how stupid his plan had been. He should have used that easy opening she’d given him with the gun.

His foreboding turned to real worry. He had to get out of here to rescue his brother. Hoyt’s life depended on him. If he couldn’t get free… “Nice, now what?”

“Now you tell me who you are and why you’re here.” Sparrow sat back on her heels, the curve of her ass grazing the tip of his cock. He clenched his muscles, fighting to free himself from the pull of lust.

Remember, you’re the soldier trained in interrogation techniques. Now he just had to stop thinking with his dick for long enough to find out where Hoyt was being held. "My name is Jake." 

She tapped her chin, staring down at him. Once again he was enthralled by the intense color of her eyes. They were golden, almost like a cat’s, with a darker brown ring around the edges. “Jake. You don't look like a Jake." 

He enjoyed hearing the name on her lips. Would enjoy hearing his real name even better. Her soft accent and long vowels stretched it out slow. Sensual. "And what do I look like?"

"I don't know. Killer? Tiger?"

"That's what people name their cats.” 

"True. Why are you here?"

"Why did you take me hostage?" he countered.

“You were spying on my family. Only our enemies do that.” She shifted, brushing against his tip again. Fuck he wanted to rip free of these bonds and throw her down beneath him. Where was his detached logic now? Something about her was making him lose control.

“I have no interest in you. I was looking for a family member who went missing, know anything about that?” He studied her reaction intently, watching for any flash of awareness, but she didn’t give away anything. 

“Haven’t seen anybody new around here in a long time, and I would know. Sorry, but you plopped down on the wrong piece of land.” 

“He told me he was coming here.” Not really, but Jared knew without the slightest shred of doubt that Hoyt had been taken by the Crowes. Miss Kay wanted to finish what she had started all those years ago, even if Jared didn’t know why. It was bad enough his parents had died when Jared was only nine, Hoyt six, but to have his aunt try to murder them.... 

Jared yanked on the bonds again, testing the bed frame. It screeched but held firm. Shit. 

“What does he look like?” Every time Sparrow moved or shifted he felt her. Desire was holding him hostage as much as the damn ropes. Got to get free. Got to find Hoyt.

“What do I get if I tell you?” 

“What do you get? You get to live.” Her brows shot down as if confused. 

“You won’t kill me.”

“Try me.” 

“How about we make a little trade—you give me something, I give you something.” 

"Give? What do you want?" She laid her palms on her thighs, kneeling over his body, the position incredibly erotic. 

Blushing aside, maybe she wasn’t so innocent after all. He had a plan and she was part of it. He knew he could get more information out of Sparrow than her giant ass brother. And he’d find it a hell of a lot more enjoyable too. "Kiss me." 

She stopped moving all together and her eyes narrowed in on his mouth. 

"Give me a kiss and I'll sing like a bird."

Lindsay Cross is the award-winning author of the Men of Mercy series. She is the fun loving mom of two beautiful daughters and one precocious Great Dane. Lindsay is happily married to the man of her dreams – a soldier and veteran. During one of her husband’s deployments from home, writing became her escape and motivation. 

An avid reader since childhood, reading and writing is in her blood. After years of reading, she discovered her true passion – writing. Her alpha military men are damaged, drop-dead gorgeous and determined to win the heart of the woman of their dreams.

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Mr. Blackwell by AB Novak


GENRE: Paranormal Romance
PUBLISHING DATE: October 15, 2015

In the deep, bice, swampy waters of Louisiana, novice journalist Vivienne Gray falls head over heels in love with a man she supposed to be interviewing, Jase Blackwell. When Vivienne saves Jase’s life they are pulled into an ancient curse that has plagued the Blackwell family for years. There is a reason behind superstition. It's because it's all true. Not believing does not make it go away.

Unsure whether I was making a mistake or not, I sat back down and, from the moment we restarted the interview, it went pretty well. Jeffery and Julius answered most of my questions, and Father Joe commented here and there. Jase was the only one who didn’t talk or seem interested in the conversation. Everyone else was cooperating, though, so I didn’t mind.

That was until Julius brought up Jase’s snakebite. I learned that in the springtime, just a few months ago, Jase was bitten by a diamondback rattlesnake and had survived on his own, for about a day, in the swamp. The snake bit him in his lower abdomen, and he almost died. When they found him, he was barely breathing and had to be flown to the hospital to receive twenty-two anti-venom shots.

My reporter's brain started spinning fast. Intrigued by his survival story and desperately wanting to know more about this man, I asked if he could show me how, what, where, when, and how he survived. He was hesitant, but in the end, the family made him do it, most likely just to make it up to me. That's why I ended up in a dark corner of the Blackwell hunting cabin, cradling my plate, and waiting for him to say something, anything.

He must have known I’d wanted to clean my plate because he got up, walked over to take it from me, and exited through the only door. I heard him scraping both plates and then running water. He came back with two clean plates.

Not wanting any more silence, I spoke up. “So is this where you were bitten?”

He put the plates away on the shelf above the fireplace then strode back to the table, and sat down in a bit of a huff. He ran his fingers through his auburn hair and rubbed the back of his neck a few times. 

I kicked an invisible piece of dirt on the ground, pretending I wasn’t watching his every move. Another shiver went down my spine. I reached up with one hand to untwist my necklace, thinking once more I shouldn’t have come out here. 

Again, I barely heard him speak. “No, it’s a two-mile hike from here. I’ll show you in the morning. We got a late start today. I’m not taking you out there at night. We’ll leave at first light and get you back in time for your flight.” 

My mouth felt dry. I liked his slow, southern way of speaking. Shaking my head a little and deciding to take a chance, I went to my bag and pulled out my pen and pad. I didn’t really need to take notes because I knew that nothing he said would be forgotten. I sat back down at the table, gave him a reassuring nod, and he began. 

He focused his piercing eyes on the fire across the cabin. “As I said, I hiked about two miles east from here. I was looking for some wood for a bow I was working on. The rattlesnake must have just shed its skin or the rattle was broken off because I didn’t hear or see it until I was right on top of it. Mating season makes the snakes more aggressive. He got me here.” 

Leaning back in the chair, he patted his lower, right abdomen. I was hoping he was going to lift up his shirt, but he didn’t. A girl can dream. Pushing those thoughts out of my head, I pretended to make a note. “You have to stay calm when you get bit like that. You don’t want to get your blood pumping too fast because the venom will spread faster. By the time I made it back here, I was feeling the effects... bad.” His deep voice was extremely attractive. 

He got up effortlessly from where he was sitting at the old wooden table, walked across to the fire, and poked at it with a stick of some sort. Feeling myself shiver, I slowly walked over to where he was by the fireplace and sat down cross-legged, needing the heat. He glanced sideways at me and put down the makeshift poker. He sat, too, resting his weight on his hands behind him and stretching out his long legs. The fire danced in his eyes. They were normally a deep royal blue, but when they mixed with the yellow firelight, they seemed emerald in color. Every hair on my body felt like it was standing on end, ready to ignite. 

“My head was throbbing, my right leg was numb, my back ached, and I was getting sick to my stomach.” He reached up and touched his forehead as if the pain was still there. It wasn’t me making him act this way; he was reliving the horrifying experience. He’d thought he was going to die out here. 

I opened my mouth to speak, to tell him to stop. He didn’t have to tell me any more. I couldn’t stand to hear the pain in his voice anymore. But before I could say anything, he continued. “I crawled to the boat. I don’t know how I was able to start the motor, but I did. I hoped I'd pointed it in the right direction down river. I don’t remember anymore. Dad found me a few hours later. The boat was grounded on the riverbank a few miles up from here.” His eyes became distant as his thoughts engulfed him. 

I never wanted him to feel that way again and changed the subject, quickly. “So since you’ve caught my gift of gab, Jase, why don’t you tell me more about your gift of silence?” I liked the way his name slipped easily off my tongue. I smiled at him, hoping he found the humor in my words. He closed his divine eyes for a moment then he was back from wherever he had gone. I got my first real smile from him, and it took my breath away. 

I watched as his sublime lips parted, and he began to speak. “I find that if you listen, you learn a lot more than when you talk.”

“Ouch,” I said. “You really don’t like me, do you?” I asked, tapping my pen on my notepad, trying not to sound hurt. But I was. 

“You don’t understand what I’m saying, Miss Gray,” he chuckled, sitting up and poking at the fire again. 

Feeling as if he’d just called me brainless, I lashed out. “I see and understand everything, Jase Blackwell. I can comprehend everything you’re saying. You think I’m some young, dumb, blonde girl who has no business being out here. Hate to break it to you, bud, but I think you’re more afraid out here right now than I am.” His eyes never left mine during my rant. I felt my body moving involuntarily closer to him as I watched his eyes light up with amusement. “What’s so funny?” I asked in the meanest tone I could muster. 

What’s with me? One minute I’m captivated by this man, and the next I want to slap him across his bearded face. I sat back with a huff then got up and walked back to my dark corner. I was ready to tell him to just forget it. 

He stared into the fire and spoke quietly. “I’ve learned that when you’re nervous, you don’t know what to do with your gentle hands. You often reach up to make sure your necklace is there. It must be of some importance to you. When you get mad, your eyes narrow, and I can almost see the fire burning inside you. I can tell you’re in good shape because most people don’t hold up well in temperatures like this unless they’re used to it. You don’t mind the dirt and grime that comes with spending a night in the swamp, so I’m guessing you’re not from the city like my dad thought. The big bugs freak you out... a lot. And when your yellow hair blows in the breeze, it reminds me of sunbeams, and when you’re embarrassed, your fair skin turns my favorite shade of red.” 

I stood there, not knowing what to say. If he could see my cheeks in the shadows, he’d probably be happy. Trying to shake off the chill and yearning for the heat of the fire, I emerged from the darkness. “Well, that was honestly the biggest flying monster I’ve ever seen. It was huge. It wouldn’t leave me alone. It kept coming back, and it stung me twice.” I snatched the poker out of his hand and poked at the fire with it, not wanting to talk about me. “It’s your perfume. It’s very sweet. I should’ve warned you before we left the house.” He grinned, sniffing the air with his absolutely perfect nose. 

I stopped fiddling with the fire and glanced at him out the corner of my eye. I wasn’t sure if my face was giving anything away, but I was certainly doing back flips on the inside. “I don’t wear perfume. I’m allergic.” 

His piercing eyes looked like he had just revealed a secret that he wasn’t supposed to, and his lips parted slightly as we once again locked eyes. My skin was on fire again, and the urge to reach for him was back. 

Shaking his head slightly, he stood up, went over to our gear, and started laying out our sleeping bags. I saw him pull out a large, silver knife and place it next to his sleeping bag. Next, he moved his bow and arrows closer to the fireplace. 

My eyes grew wide, and my heart beat rapidly. So consumed was I with trying to figure out Jase Blackwell that I’d forgotten I was miles away from civilization in the middle of a Louisiana swamp with a man I had only known for a few hours. He sensed my sudden edginess. 

He lay down and said, “Don’t worry—you’re safe with me. I’ll never let anything happen to you.” It was as if he was stating a fact he had known all his life. 

And I believed him. I did feel safe and warm when he was near. No man had ever made me feel this way. I should be afraid, but I wasn’t. I should want to be boarding that plane back to Baltimore, but I wasn’t. For some unknown reason, I knew I didn’t want to be anywhere but next to him. He laid a muscular arm over his face to block out the moonlight coming through the front window of the cabin. Or maybe it was just a sign for me to stop talking. 

“Good night, Miss Gray,” he whispered. 

“’Night, Jase,” I said. It was all I could manage. 

With that, I went to my bag and pulled out a hair tie. I braided my long, blonde hair back as I did every night, took my boots off, and slipped into my sleeping bag. For a while, I just lay there in the moonlight, watching Jase’s chest rise and fall and thinking about how satisfying it would be to touch him. I thought about what his beard would feel like if I ran my fingers through it and gave it a tug. I thought he’d like it. I didn’t care if he saw me watching him—I couldn’t help myself. I kept my hands pinned under my head just in case I got the urge to reach out for him. All the emotions that had been running through me simmered as I realized I was lovesick for Jase Blackwell.

A.B. Novak grew up in Northern Maryland. She graduated from college with a degree in Fashion Design. In 2009 she married her college sweetheart, moved to a farm and had two beautiful children. She is an avid horse rider, author and business owner with her husband.


Dark Screams Volime Five by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar

Title: Dark Screams: Volume Five
Editors: Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar
Writers: J. Kenner, Bentley Little, and Mick Garris
Genre: Horror / Paranormal Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James, and Bentley Little pry open a sarcophagus of horror and dread in Dark Screams: Volume Five, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the esteemed Cemetery Dance Publications.
by Mick Garris
It was supposed to be the night of his life: a celebration of his one hit slasher flick. But the price of admission is higher than this has-been filmmaker ever could have imagined.
by J. Kenner
When he was seven, Will Underwood’s nanny told him she had the Sight. Years later, a broken heart sends him to New Orleans . . . but it’s fate that leads him to Madame Darkling’s Voodoo Emporium.  
by Kealan Patrick Burke
Although she was mute long before the affair that nearly wrecked their marriage, her silence has tortured her husband ever since. Now he will seek out what he has lost—or be driven mad by remorse.
by Del James
Arnold loves his ’68 Camaro almost as much as he loves his wife, and he’s willing to do anything to
protect them both—especially after hearing strange noises coming from his garage.
by Bentley Little
A real-estate agent is drawn into a children’s playhouse behind an abandoned property she’s trying to sell—and finds herself strangely reluctant to leave.

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From “Mechanical Gratitude” by Del James


A true American classic if ever there was one; even the name had a catchy ring to it.


The Camaro was Chevrolet’s response to the most popular car of the era, the Ford Mustang. First generation Camaros (1967–69) offered plenty of performance, appearance, and comfort options. Produced in coupes and convertibles, they immediately became the must-have street machine among fast-car aficionados.

In order to own a 1968 Camaro SS with a 396 engine, some men would gladly sell their souls and come out feeling like they got the better end of the deal. Eternal damnation be damned, this rare breed of car embodied beauty as well as precision and plenty of rubber-burning power.

A big-block Super Sport 396 with 375 horsepower came stock with chrome hood inserts that imitated velocity stacks. The introduction of Astro Ventilation, a fresh-air-inlet system, made it so that the side vent windows were eliminated from future production. The 1968 models sported a more pointed front grille, and the front running lights were changed from circular to oval.

It took corners like a shark cruising on asphalt.

It embodied outlaw sexy without even trying.

Arnold Rinaldi loved his ’68 Camaro SS with a 396 engine almost as much as he loved his lovely wife, Beatrice. Both had been constant fixtures in his life for as long as he could remember. While a war masquerading as a “military action” was all the rage in Southeast Asia, Arn purchased the car brand-new from a Chevy dealer in Pasadena for a little over three thousand dollars.

What little money he had left over went toward buying an engagement ring for Betty.

Both proved to be exceptional investments as he managed to hold on to the perfect gal and the perfect car for more than forty years. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t catch a Frisbee.

Almost six feet tall and well built, the blue-eyed California native was neither a troublemaker nor a pushover. He understood his civic duty when he registered for the draft, but luckily his number never came. While many of his high school friends were running through the jungle, he spent a good portion of his time driving back and forth from university and courting Betty.

With a speedometer topping out at 120 miles per hour, Arn’s muscle car packed plenty of muscle and could probably do about 130 under the right conditions. Despite what his gearhead pals said about sticks over manuals, Arn preferred the two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission to a four-speed manual shift. With all of the stop-and-go traffic that Southern California was famous for, an automatic offered a lot less work with the same result.

Baby blue, with pearl-white striping: If Arn’s Camaro was a woman, it would surely be a heartbreaker . . . but no matter how much he loved driving that badass machine, the glorious ride was not what he felt most proud of. That accomplishment came after he convinced Betty to take his name and become his lawfully wedded wife.

Except for tragic events such as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the My Lai Massacre, 1968 proved to be a really good year.

Naturally flirty, Betty was one of those fair-skinned daughters who no one could ever accurately peg their ancestry. Green-eyed, with a slender nose and a curvy build, she might be of English descent with some German thrown in. Or maybe she was Irish with a touch of Dutch.

Arn had never seen a woman who could be so graceful without even trying, but her grace was not a result of years of charm school indoctrination; Betty just knew how to conduct herself. She spoke properly, but with wit and intelligence. Her leggy walk was captivating, and while many a man enjoyed the visual, only Arn got to enjoy the ride.

With one hand on the steering wheel, he always made sure to hold Betty’s hand with his right hand. Absolutely no one ever was allowed to ride shotgun when she was around. The queen seat was reserved for her and the entire universe understood this unwritten law. Hell, it even seemed like the car knew her place.

Whenever Arn drove somewhere without Betty, it felt like a part of the equation was missing. The engine didn’t purr as perfectly. The perfectly balanced chassis seemed to be slightly off. The radio played music, but rarely the songs he wanted to hear. These issues were never anything to wrench on, because they always seemed to work themselves out when Betty slipped into the passenger seat.

Or even better . . . into the backseat.

Reckless Fear by Micki Fredricks

Title: Reckless Fear
Series: The Black Viper Series #1
Author: Micki Fredricks
Genre: Dark NA Romance
Release: November 21, 2015

Tight Everly, Sergeant-at-Arms of The Black Vipers M.C.
In the world of The Black Vipers, sin runs free and I'm sin personified. 
Given permission by the cut I wear, I take whatever the emptiness inside me desires, by any means necessary. 
Unfortunately, the truth sin doesn’t want you to know–nothing is ever free. It takes payment in flesh and degradation.
A highly venomous predator, it slithers around inside of you, wreaking havoc and claiming your soul as its own.
Sasha was the savior to my sinful ways…only she didn’t want the job.
When sin rules your life, there are no boundaries. You take without regret.
She would be my salvation, even if I had to play the Devil to get her.

Sasha Campbell
Being near Tight was like standing on the edge of a raging fire. 
The heat dangerously intoxicating, offering protection from the darkness while promising the burn of betrayal if I got too close.
Yet here I stand, staring endlessly into the dancing flames, not noticing the building smoke or the ache of his all-consuming heat. 
Unfortunately, I know how this story ends. Burned beyond recognition and discarded, I’m turned to ash without a second thought.
Completely destroyed by him.
There had to be a way to avoid the damage he’d inflict. The problem was, I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
Because with Tight, this kind of burn feels amazing.

**WARNING** Dark Contemporary Romance/New Adult Novel. 
Contains sexual situations, violence, sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and mature topics. Recommended for age 18 years and up. 

If they’d known about ADHD when I was little, my Ritalin dosage would've been OFF THE CHARTS!! It goes without saying; I spent A LOT of time by myself after the teacher moved my desk out into the hallway. ** Silver lining** With all that alone time on my hands, I used my imagination to make the world a more interesting place.  When I was little, people said I had an "active imagination". In elementary school, teachers called me a "daydreamer". My high school counselor said I needed to “learn how to focus" and my college professors warned me to "buckle down". Before I knew it, it was time to “grow up”. So that's what I did. I grew up, got married and had five kids. I work as a full time nurse, I'm active in my church, part of the most amazing book-club, blog about books with my best friends and cart small humans to school, football, theater, dance ect. Oh yeah...and write a bit when I can and now people call me "talented".  Moral of my life story: Hug your kids, embrace their differences. Love them for who they are. Someday, the traits you think are struggles now… Might be exactly what they needed to turn their dreams into reality! Micki lives in small town Iowa with her husband, kids and a fat Cocker Spaniel named Joey. She is the author of Winds of Darkness and Chasing Jenna.