Category: Books In The Wind ‘N Air, Sneak Peaks and More


ABOUT ONE TOUGH COWBOY:

One Tough Cowboy_cover

First in a brand-new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh and Veronica Chadwick about one man’s pursuit of justice—and unbridled desire. 

LAW AND ORDER. For as long as Samantha can remember, Hunter—a man as strong as steel, with a heart of gold—has been her hero. It came as no surprise to Samantha when she found out that the ranch-hardened cowboy who always protected her from bullies went on to become the town’s sheriff. What does surprise her is how incredibly hot he still is. And how much she still wants him…

PRIDE AND PASSION 

And, lo and behold, Hunter still has feelings for Samantha. The long-smoldering heat of their innocent flirtation has grown into a full-raging fire. But when tragedy strikes, and their small-town community is shattered, Hunter vows to do everything he can to keep his childhood sweetheart safe. But can Samantha trust that Hunter has her best interests at heart…and that, after all these years, his love is true? 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Lora Leigh

 

#1 New York Times bestseller Lora Leigh is the author of the Navy SEALS, the Breeds, the Elite Ops, the Callahans, the Bound Hearts, and the Nauti series.

Veronica Chadwick started storytelling when she was a little girl. She was first published in 2004. She lives in Tennessee with three cats, a very spoiled Shih Tzu and two grand dogs. When she’s not writing, she’s hanging out with friends, reading or badly playing video games.

 

Buy this book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250309488

Veronica Chadwick_author photo

Author website: https://loraleigh.com/

 

Author Twitter: @LoraLeigh_1

 

                                @RoniChadwick

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loraleighauthor/

SMP Romance Twitter: @SMPRomance or @heroesnhearts

SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/

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EXCERPT:

He hadn’t changed much. He seemed bigger, his shoulders broader. His signature thick, black hair was cut in a shorter style. As he got closer, Samantha noticed his face had changed quite a bit. Any boyish softness he’d once had was all gone and had been replaced with hard planes and angles, except for his full, well-defined lips. There were fine laugh lines fanning out from the corners of his steel gray eyes. Those eyes were more intense, hard. The easy laughter that lit them when he was younger seemed to be gone.

“Ms. Bell.” He nodded in greeting to the diminutive lady.

“Good of you to come by, Sheriff. Little Samantha is handlin’ all this by herself.” She winked and patted his arm. “She could use a little help, Im thinkin.

Samantha wanted to walk away. She also wanted to throw her arms around Hunter and hold on for dear life. Not just because he still made her heart pound, but because he was a part of her life she thought she’d lost. She wanted to hold on to a stable, warm part of her past where she was happy and safe. Seeing him again brought those memories and emotions all rushing back. “Hey, Sam.” The smooth, deep bass of his voice was

quiet and soothing.

“Hey, Hunter.” His name left her lips with more composure than she felt.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to the funeral, but I wanted to come by to extend my condolences, and to see how you’re doin’.” He stepped closer and rubbed her bare

one tough cowboy 19

upper arm. “You holdin’ up okay?” His hand, a bit rough and callused from real work, was warm, reassuring.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m okay, Hunter, thank you.” She cleared her throat. “Everyone brought food. The dining room table is overflowing. Help yourself.”

He followed her through the living room to the din- ing room. She turned and almost jumped back. He was standing inches away, looking down at her. His brows furrowed, his gaze sharply assessing her. He smelled in- credible, and he stood so close she could feel the heat from his body.

She opened her mouth to say something but forgot what she wanted to say. She must look completely ignorant gaping up at him like that.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” Sympathy and con- cern shadowed his expression, softening the harsher lines of his face.

“It’s been a long day. I’m fine, really.” She was a bas- ket case, and not just because of her aunt’s death.

Hunter gave her a gentle smile and pulled out a chair. “No doubt. Sit and talk to me for a while. I haven’t seen you in what? Ten years?”

Samantha welcomed the chance to get off her feet and get away from the crowd for a bit. “Yeah, about ten years, I think.”

He pulled out the chair beside her, turned it toward her, and sat, staring at her solemnly. “I’m real sorry about Dottie.”

“Me too.” She looked into his eyes, assessing whether she could or should continue. “I really didn’t get enough time with her. I’ll always regret that.”

20 Lora Leigh and Veronica Chadwick

Hunter shook his head. “Sam, you know Dottie thought the world of you. She knew you loved her and she loved you.”

Had she? Samantha couldn’t help but question the observation. School, her career, and far too many emotions had seemed to always get in the way of returning to Deerhaven.

“Yes, I know, but I look around at these people and think of how some of them probably knew her even better than I did, her own niece.” Samantha frowned and gestured toward a blue-haired woman sitting on the couch sobbing, clutching another woman’s hand. “Mrs. Holt is devastated.”

She obviously had not talked to her aunt on the phone enough either, because Dottie had never mentioned the other woman.

A small smile touched Hunter’s far-too-sensual lips as he lowered his head and leaned closer. “Sam, Irene Holt never even met Dottie. She attends any and all fu- nerals and wails and carries on like that at every one of ’em.” Amusement touching his gaze.

Samantha looked at him incredulously until he raised his hand and said, “Hand to God. Every one of ’em.”

“Wow.” No wonder her aunt Dottie had never mentioned the other woman.

“Yep.” Hunter’s smile broadened. “As for the rest of them, they’re just being neighborly or nosy. Most of ’em still remember your family and you. You were pretty hard to forget . . . Pixie Pest.” His brows lifted playfully. Teasingly.

Samantha narrowed her eyes. “Ugh. That nickname.

I don’t know which is worse, that or Sami Jo.”

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She protested it. Just as she always had. That flare of warmth she felt whenever it passed his lips was still there, though.

“You earned it.”

“Psh, whatever.” She’d actually worked at it at the time.

Hunter chuckled and she nearly sighed. Lord, she’d missed his laugh, his smile, even the way he’d tease her. She’d missed him.

“Aw, you know I was always fond of you, Pixie. You were a great kid, even if you were a pest that was constantly following me around and giving my girlfriends hell.”

She had been such a tomboy with wild, young girl fantasies of being swept off her feet by the cutest boy in Deerhaven, or the whole wide world, for that matter. He’d called her his Pixie Pest whenever he’d seen her and tugged at her long, tangled hair.

“I’m not a kid anymore.” She held his gaze and couldn’t imagine how she’d gotten so bold.

Hunter’s gaze traveled over her body, a single black brow arching slowly in acknowledgment. “I’ve noticed. I’m trying really hard to remember what a pain in the ass you used to be.”

Samantha lifted a brow. “I can still be a pain in the ass.”

“I bet you can.” The look in his eyes was making her feel way too hot, way too needy.

She didn’t want to go there. Not now. After Tom Novak, the very last thing she needed was another relation- ship. Besides all that, she was here to get answers, not to get laid.

Clearing her throat again, she changed the subject to the one on which she had to keep her focus. “Hunter, what really happened to Aunt Dottie?”

                                                                          ********************

Vets on the Go!

They didn’t plan to become heroes…

When former Marine Reid Griffith started his moving company, hiring only veterans, he just wanted to help his brother Cash adjust to civilian life. But when Cash is caught taking down a thief mid-robbery, the video goes viral. Suddenly Vets on the Go! are local heroes…and Reid’s phone explodes. He needs help handling the deluge of interest—fast.

When PR expert Naomi Starr sees the news spot of a muscular vet expertly apprehending a bad guy with duct tape, she knows Vets on the Go! is just the thing to revive her career. There’s just one problem. Naomi has vowed to never mix business with pleasure. Ever. Again. And tall, dark and brawny Reid Griffith is a whole package of temptation.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2CMJvku

iBooks: https://apple.co/2CGgozc

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IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2CICwJ4

Please note we’re running a special contest for this title:

wholepackage contest 3

THE WHOLE PACKAGE SWEEPSTAKES

If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that moving SUCKS. It seems like everyone’s got a moving gone wrong story—did your car break down halfway across the country? Or all of your dishes broke in transit? Or you get there and the place is infested with bugs? No matter what happened to you, we want to hear it!

We’re celebrating the release of the first book in Marie Harte’s new Movin On series, The Whole Package, with a sweepstakes! Learn how to participate below, and you’ll be entered to win an awesome gift package!

You can find more information here and graphics to promote it are attached.

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EXCERPT:

“Just get in.” When she didn’t, he glowered. “I can wait all night.”

She stared back at him, a little alarmed when he closed the distance between them.

Then he shocked her by pressing her up against the car, full-body contact. The heat of him singed her. Suddenly, instead of feeling annoyed or scared, she wanted him in the worst way. Whoa, momma.

Reid ran a finger down her cheek. “I’m not letting you drive home.”

His implacable resolve surprised her. “Seriously, Reid. I’m a big girl. I know how to get home without getting mugged.”

He didn’t move, and she didn’t want to think about him pressed so firmly against her.

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She didn’t see herself winning this battle, and though it was ridiculous to think she needed rescuing from herself, she had to admit it felt nice to have someone looking out for her. “If you really need to drive me home, go for it. But you’re going to feel stupid tomorrow when all that testosterone in your system wears off.” She added in a lower voice, “Won’t let me go. Please.”

“I’d rather feel stupid than regret not helping you out.” He moved back to unlock the car and opened the door for her, then waited for her to settle in. After joining her, he followed her directions home.

Naomi could have been angry about it, but his need to protect softened something inside her. Something she’d need to firm up before dealing with the man again. Reid sat far too close. She could smell alcohol and the faint scent of cologne on him, and it went straight to her head. Hell, maybe she was a little loopy. She really needed to get something to eat.

They arrived at her home in Greenwood, a cute little bungalow she’d refused to sell, even after losing her job with PP&R. She’d worked so hard for her home and had finally gotten the house exactly as she’d wanted it

“You okay?” Reid asked as he parked.

“Yes, fine. You’ve done your duty. Go home.”

“Keys.”

Her purse was in his hands before she could grab it back.

“Damn it!”

He had her keys out and had already left the vehicle when she’d thrown open her door, only to have him help her out and up the sidewalk. A domineering yet polite gentleman.

He nodded at the house. “Nice place.”

“Thanks,” she said, grudgingly, loving the homey two-bedroom Craftsman. Dark purple with white trim and a tidy little porch, the house had plenty of room for her and Rex, should he deign to come home. Probably out catting around like half the men in this town, she thought…cattily.

She snorted. “I suppose you want to come in.”

“Just to make sure you’re okay.”

She rolled her eyes at him, but he ignored her. She heard his car beep, locked up tight, and she glared at him. If he had any intention of staying, she’d disabuse him of that notion right away. She watched him unlock the front door then step back to hold it open for her.

Since Rex didn’t greet her right away, she figured he was probably touring the neighborhood. With a little huff, she took the keys from Reid and walked inside. He closed the door behind them while she flicked on a light.

“It’s you,” he said. “Same blue in here as your office walls.”9781492670445-300rgb_1

Huh. He’d noticed. What did that mean? That he had good recall or actually possessed an interest in her? And why did she care?

She nearly tripped again and swore, then kicked off her stupid heels.

“You want some water? I know I’m parched. It’s been a long day.” Reid stepped past her into her open living room that led by a dining area into her kitchen. She refused to follow him inside and instead massaged her aching toes.

He returned with a glass for her.

“Make yourself at home, why don’t you?”

He didn’t say anything and handed her the glass. She took a sip and handed it back. “There. Now go home, please. Because of you, I’ll have to get someone to take me to my car in the morning.” Though if she was feeling industrious, she could walk the short distance to get it herself.

“I’ll swing by and pick you up.”

His bossy attitude that had somewhat charmed her before now annoyed her. “No, thanks.” She watched him drink her water and grew even more steamed. “I’m not some silly little woman needing your help Reid. I’m not drunk or impaired in any way. I’m tired and my feet hurt.”

He gave a small smile.

“You find that amusing?”

He set the glass down on a coaster on her side table, and she hated that she couldn’t nag him about that either. “You’re cute when you’re mad.”

“And helpless, right?” She felt a little lightheaded, which  had nothing to do with exhaustion and everything to do with Reid. Around him, she felt more. Angry, annoyed, aroused. The three As of danger drawing nearer as he smiled at her distress. The bastard.

“Want me to help you, you poor, fragile thing?”

She could do without the smirk. “Yes, please,” she said, her voice sugary-sweet, then dragged him closer by the shirtfront, shocking him. “Isn’t this what you want? To take advantage of a helpless woman?”

“Hell, no.” Finally, a bit of his anger. He glared at her. “I’m trying to help you out, here, Naomi. Oh, forget it.”

“Oh, so now, because I’m a little aggressive, I’m not good enough for you.” She started to lose track of what she was saying, so close to Reid, to that firm chin with a hint of stubble, to that sexy smell of man and cologne, to the sheer breadth of him that seemed much bigger up close. Reid stood inches above her own height, their disparity even greater without her heels.

He tried to pry her hands free but stalled when he looked down into her eyes. “Y-you’re mad?” He sounded hoarse, his gaze moving slowly over her face and stilling on her mouth. “Hell,” he muttered.

“Yeah, I’m mad. You’re a menace, you know that?” Out of control and stirred to an angry passion by the man who refused to know she had her own mind, she yanked him down for an angrier kiss. The touch of his mouth under hers brought everything to a halt. An instant connection turned their burning chemistry into an all-out inferno.

                                                                   ************

If you are an avid reader following Kendra Elliot, you don’t want to miss her latest release; the relationship between Truman and Mercy fascinates me and Kendra’ prowess at developing their relationship through the series is a piece of mastery!

amercifulfate

About the Book

Title: A Merciful Fate

Author: Kendra Elliot

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

Raised by preppers, survivalist and FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick has a deep-rooted need for a safe place. Her getaway in the Cascade Foothills is her secret. But when skeletal remains are unearthed—those of a murdered man linked to a notorious heist—Mercy realizes she isn’t the only one with something to hide.

Thirty years ago, an armored-car robbery turned deadly. The mastermind was captured. Four conspirators vanished with a fortune. One of them, it appears, never made it out of the woods alive. For Mercy and her fiancé, Police Chief Truman Daly, their investigation opens old wounds in Eagle’s Nest that cut deeper than they imagined. Especially when a reckless tabloid reporter draws fresh blood. It’s clear to Mercy that somebody in this close-knit community is not who they seem to be.

Some are still shattered by the heist. Some still have reason to be afraid. But which one will kill again and again to hide three decades of secrets? To land this case, it’s up to Mercy to unmask a familiar stranger before someone else dies.

Author Biography

Kendra Elliot

Kendra Elliot has landed on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list multiple times and is the award-winning author of the Bone Secrets and Callahan & McLane series, as well as the Mercy Kilpatrick novels: A Merciful Death, A Merciful Truth, and A Merciful Secret. Kendra is a three-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award, an International Thriller Writers finalist, and an RT Award finalist. She has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on classic female heroines such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Laura Ingalls. She was born, raised, and still lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband and three daughters, but she looks forward to the day she can live in flip-flops. Visit her at www.kendraelliot.com.

Social Media Links

Website: https://www.kendraelliot.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KendraElliot

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6150778.Kendra_Elliot

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Excerpt

“Sit.”

Mercy sat on a stool that was too high for the makeshift table. She didn’t care. They could sit on the ground and she’d be happy with Truman. Currently the home had plywood subfloors and open framing, but part of Mercy loved the empty, bare look; it promised that something fabulous was coming.

Fabulous and practical.

Truman leaned over and poured red wine in the plastic cup by her paper plate. She sighed and buried her nose in her cup. The fragrance was deep and bold, with hints of plum and smoke.

“Italy,” she mumbled into the wine.

“What?” asked Truman.

“I want to visit Italy. How does a honeymoon in Italy sound?”

A grin filled his face, and the sensation of butterflies fluttered up her spine.

Or maybe it’s the wine.

She took a sip of her wine as she studied his face. So familiar and dear to her.

A smile to stop traffic. Eyes that crinkled in happiness. Several scars that testified to his love of law enforcement. Her attraction to him was more than skin deep. She was in love with the person he was. He was a natural leader and easily commanded respect. His people turned to him, followed him, admired him. His natural sense of honor was a magnet for her.

No. It’s not the wine.

He gets me.

He understood how her mind worked, and they fit together like a couple of complicated puzzle pieces. She’d been painfully aware of her missing puzzle piece when he’d been taken away, chained by men planning to kill him, and then rescued thanks to Ollie. The two weeks when no one knew his fate had been the worst of her life. When he’d been returned to her, she’d known she couldn’t waste any more time.

He’d been of the same mind-set and had proposed.

“I’ll try Italy.” He dished spaghetti carbonara onto their plates.

“And what’s on your agenda for tomorrow?” he asked over the rim of his plastic cup. She perked up. “The bank confirmed the money bags are from the Gamble-Helmet Heist. And I have the go-ahead to visit Shane Gamble at the Two Rivers prison tomorrow.”

“What are your thoughts on the remains?” Truman asked. “Did the medical examiner get to them yet?”

“Yes. They spent the afternoon removing the remains, and Dr. Lockhart was going to start an examination tonight. The woman never takes time off.”

“Same could be said for you.”

“Only when I’m deep in a case.”

“I guess this means your weekends are booked for a while?”

Mercy sighed. “I know. The two of us are supposed to be working on the interior of this place … We’ll get it done at some point. It’ll have to wait awhile.”

A grin filled his face.

“What?” she asked.

“You’re not the same person I met last fall. Back then, if the cabin had been in the half-completed state it is now, you’d be climbing the walls with anxiety because your safety net wasn’t perfect.”

“You’re right,” she agreed. “I had a similar thought earlier, but nearly all my supplies are still intact, so it’d be rough living but doable. I can temporarily live with that for now. Especially with this case to distract me.”

His lips twisted.

“Jealous?” she asked with a grin. “It’s an amazing case, isn’t it?”

“It is. Considering there have been no leads for decades, and the robbery is practically modern folklore. It’s like a buried treasure hunt, and Ollie found the first clue.”

“Is Ollie okay after his morning?” she asked with a small wince. She’d nearly forgotten the teen had made the grisly discovery.

“He’s okay. I spent some time with him and he was very quiet, but I could tell he was processing it. He’s dealt with death before.”

“He’s been through a lot,” sympathized Mercy.

They silently ate for a few moments until he glanced up and caught her staring at him. Longing shone in his eyes, an appetite and craving that had nothing to do with food, and she struggled to find her breath.

How does he do that to me?

“You know,” he said, his voice low and tempting, “this place hasn’t been christened yet.”

Mercy blinked. “People do that to homes?”

Patience filled his features. “That’s not what I meant.” His brown gaze held hers.

“Ohhh,” she breathed as heat flashed through her.

“Dessert.” His smile was sinful, and energy pulsed between them.

She melted. “Yes. Dessert.”

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Interview with Ronan Cross from “Defending Chloe”

1) Greetings Ronan, or can I just call you Ro?

Ro is fine.

Defending Chloe
2) I understand that you are part of Mountain Mercenaries, a secret group of ex-military men who save women and children from dangerous situations. Can you comment on this group?

No. As you said, it’s a secret group.

3) What about your handler Rex? He is particularly secretive.

Rex is amazing. I’ve never met him, but I don’t have to have met him to know he’s one scary bad ass dude. He knows people from all levels of law enforcement, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the President’s phone number programmed into his phone as well. But, like anyone in this line of business, he’s got some demons. Me and my fellow Mercenaries just hope they don’t come back and bite us in the ass one day.

4) There have been some major changes within the Mercenaries lately — especially with the introduction of Allye your teammate Gray Rogers’ significant other. How has having a civilian woman in the mix changed things? Does it make you think of anything that you may want in your future?

Allye is great. Love her. None of us had ever thought much about women…or at least having anything permanent with any specific woman, but seeing Gray with Allye makes me realize that one day I’d love to have a relationship like theirs. I want a woman who can stand up to me when I’m being a wanker but who isn’t adverse to letting me be a guy. And before you ask, what I mean is that I know myself, I’m gonna want to open her door and pay for shit. I’ll have no problem telling my woman that I love her, but I don’t want someone who will lose their shit if I track a little bit of mud in the house. Does that make sense?

5) Definitely. So what do you do for fun? You know, when you aren’t saving damsels in distress!

I’m a mechanic. I tinker with cars for fun. There’s nothing like taking in a car that won’t run, and turning it inside out to figure out what the problem is. The best feeling ever is when that beauty is driven off after I’ve given her new life.

6) And finally, tell us a bit about women in your life. Do you have a special someone?

Not yet. Although I have to tell you, I met the most intriguing woman the other day. There was just something about her that I can’t forget. Of course, there’s the little matter of figuring out who gave her the bruise she was sporting on her back and making sure she’s safe, but otherwise….

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About the Book

Title: Defending Chloe

Author: Susan Stoker

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

Gorgeous women don’t just stumble onto Ronan Cross’s remote property. But this one—vulnerable, victimized, and needing the kind of help only Ronan can offer—tells a story that makes his blood boil almost as hot as his need to protect her.

Since her father’s death, Chloe Harris has become a prisoner. Her own brother, a flesh peddler and low-level player in the Denver Mafia, is forcing her to sell her body for an endgame Chloe never saw coming: control over a vast fortune. Her only way out is to run—straight into the arms of the one hard-bodied man she can trust.

Defending Chloe could rain punishment down on the Mountain Mercenaries. Her brother has Mob connections and the local police in his pocket. But Ronan still has an edge—the unshakable loyalty of his deadly teammates. As well as an unquenchable thirst for retribution…and Chloe.

Author Biography

Susan Stoker

Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Ace Security, Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Unsung Heroes: Delta Force, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado to Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, www.stokeraces.com, or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorsusanstoker.

 

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.stokeraces.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Susan_Stoker

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8247140.Susan_Stoker

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Excerpt:

Chloe stared at all the clothes on the bed. Allye had arrived with a dozen bags in hand and told her she’d picked up a “few things” to tide her over.

“A few things?” Chloe asked in disbelief.

Allye laughed. “Ro said money was no object, and he wanted you to have enough things so you could have a choice of what to wear and not have to do laundry every night. I had to guess at your sizes, but I got some stuff with elastic waists just in case I was wrong in my assumptions.” Then the other woman began dumping the bags and showing off what she’d bought.

A shy smile formed as Allye’s words sank in. The thought that Ro wasn’t thinking about money, only her comfort, made Chloe feel good. Really good.

Allye smiled back as she said, “Ro doesn’t have to let you stay here, Chloe.”

“What do you mean?”

“Rex has a ton of contacts. And I mean a ton. This is what the Mountain Mercenaries do. They help get women out of bad situations. Ro could’ve asked Rex to set you up with one of the underground resources he has. You know, a safe house? You’d be just as safe there as you are here. But for some reason, Ro refused to even consider it. I know for a fact Gray suggested it. But you’re still here. He gave me his own money to get you stuff to wear. And he insisted that I find this for you.” Allye pulled out a bottle from a small bag she’d been holding.

Chloe recognized the brand of lotion she used.

“I’m going to say this only once, then I’ll never bring it up again . . . but I feel like I kind of have to.”

Chloe tensed.

“Don’t hurt him,” Allye said. “These guys . . . they’re total badasses. Professional soldiers. They can kick ass like you’d never believe. They go into situations no one else would dare. They take chances, and they’ll do whatever it takes to rescue women. I don’t know the other guys all that well yet, but I know Gray, and I have a feeling that deep down, they’re all scarred in one way or another. They’re all committed to saving women and children from the evils in the world, and there must be a deeper reason behind that than just wanting to do the right thing. And if Ro is anything like Gray, once he’s committed, he’s committed. He’ll move heaven and earth to make sure you’re happy, content, and safe. That’s how Gray is with me. I know without a doubt that Gray will never cheat on me, and he goes to great lengths to make sure I’m satisfied . . . in every way, if you know what I mean.”

Chloe stared at Allye with wide eyes as she continued.

“Ro strikes me as the same kind of man. I’m still getting to know the guys on the team, but I feel they wouldn’t be as close as they are if they didn’t have the same values and beliefs. Ro acts like the standoffish Brit more often than not, but he feels as deeply as anyone I’ve ever met. He likes you, Chloe. I was surprised when he actually left you here alone. He thought you’d bolt. Hell, I thought you’d leave. But you didn’t. And that means something to Ro.

“All I’m saying is that if you’re using his help to get away from your brother, good, I don’t blame you . . . but don’t lead him on. Ask if you can go into witness protection. Or into the underground program the Mountain Mercenaries have set up. Don’t stay here and make him think there’s something between you if you don’t feel that way.”

It was a long speech from the other woman, and Chloe felt the butterflies in her stomach again. She hadn’t thought much about how Ro was feeling because she was so uncertain herself and felt so out of control. But the idea of Ro keeping her around for a personal reason was appealing. More than appealing. She thought about how he’d washed her hair, how his hands had felt on her scalp. A man who was simply rescuing yet another woman from a bad situation wouldn’t do that, would he?

Allye cleared her throat, and Chloe realized she was waiting for her to say something. “I won’t lead him on,” Chloe said quickly. She hadn’t thought she’d want a boyfriend for a very long time after living under her brother’s controlling thumb, but Ro was nothing like Leon. He was bossy and tended to do things without asking her, but Chloe somehow knew if she objected or pushed back, Ro would listen to her and be flexible.

“Cool,” Allye said with a relieved sigh. “Now, shall we figure out which of this stuff you like and want to keep?”

Chloe smiled tentatively at the other woman. “Yeah. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. I have a feeling we’re going to be good friends,” Allye said, handing the bottle of lotion to Chloe and turning back to the bed.

Watching her dig through the clothes and start to put them in some sort of order, Chloe gripped the plastic bottle tightly. Allye would never know how much her words meant. It had been a long time since Chloe’d had a friend. A true friend.

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ChasingShadowsGraphic

Title: Chasing Shadows

Author: Catherine Bybee

Release Date: November 13, 2018

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary:

Avery Grant doesn’t date. Her first marriage was a mutually beneficial contract that gave her the financial freedom she needed to step away from her controlling parents. Wealthy and single, the last thing she’s looking for is love sneaking in to mess up her life plans. And after a brutal attack, she’s determined to never be vulnerable again, even if the new man in her life helps her feel safe.

Mesmerized from the moment he sets his eyes on Avery, Liam is driven to learn everything about this tough, sexy, challenging woman. Breaking down her defenses won’t be easy, but Liam refuses to be pushed away. All he needs is a tiny crack in Avery’s armor to wiggle his way into her heart.

But when a terrifying lie about her attacker’s fate comes to light, Avery’s past returns to haunt her. Now she’s willing to put herself in danger to get the answers she needs. That means jeopardizing the best thing that’s ever happened to her: Liam.

About the Author:

Copyright Julianne Gentry Photography

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than five million copies and have been translated into more than eighteen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite Series, the Weekday Brides Series, the Most Likely To Series, and the First Wives Series.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.catherinebybee.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/catherinebybee

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2905789.Catherine_Bybee

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Direct Link

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/07c2363f206

*************************************************************************************

EXCERPT:

Avery’s head shot up at the sound of a female voice calling her name.

“Lori?”

Oh, damn…

When Lori was at their table, Avery detached from Liam’s side and stood for a hug. “What are you doing here? Where’s Reed?”

Lori eyed Liam while she answered the questions. “Reed’s on his way down. We’re going out to dinner. Wanted a drink first.”

What were the chances of Lori excusing herself before Avery was forced to make an introduction?

Lori reached out a hand toward Liam. “I’m Lori.”

Liam stood; a broad smile matched his broad chest. “Liam Holt.” Once he released Lori’s hand, he pulled out a bar stool. “Sit, we just ordered drinks.”

Avery wanted to elbow his ribs.

Instead, she smiled.

Liam signaled for Nikki.

“Liam, huh? Avery hasn’t mentioned you.”

He pulled Avery’s chair closer to his and waited for her to sit. “We haven’t known each other long.”

Lori sent a questioning look to Avery. Instead of adding to Liam’s explanation.

“I’ve known Lori for a few years. We live in the same building.”

“What do you do, Liam?”

Small talk … is that what this was going to be?

Lori signaled Reed when he walked in the door. “This is my husband.”

Avery laughed. “You love saying that, don’t you?”

Lori nodded.

“They’re newlyweds,” Avery explained.

Once again Liam stood when Reed approached the table.

“Look who I found,” Lori said.

Reed kissed Avery’s cheek. “I haven’t seen you here in a while.”

“That’s because you two never come up for air,” Avery teased.

“This is Liam … Avery’s friend.” Yeah, Lori wanted more details.

The men shook hands.

“Have I ever met one of your friends?” he asked.

Avery glared. “Smooth, Reed … really smooth.”

Lori nudged her husband’s arm. “Stop teasing.” She turned her focus on Liam. “Avery keeps her private life private.”

Avery tried not to flinch when Liam placed a hand over hers. “I’ve figured that out recently.”

“How did you two meet?” Reed asked.

Avery said “the gym” at the same time Liam said “a bar.”

Lori’s lawyer radar spiked. Avery saw it in her eyes. “Those two things are worlds apart.”

She caught Liam’s hand and squeezed.

“The first time I saw you was at Pug’s Bar. I approached you at the gym.”

“I knew it. That was you at Pug’s. How did you figure out where I worked out?” She’d been asking herself that question for over a week.

“That wasn’t hard. Leslie had a gym bag.”

“Who’s Leslie?” Lori asked.

Avery didn’t look away from Liam. “A friend. So your job at the gym wasn’t on accident?”

“I might have approached Brenda about a side job so I could meet you.”

Avery’s jaw dropped.

“Who’s Brenda?” Reed asked.

“The owner of the gym,” Avery and Liam said at the same time. “How did you know I was there on Tuesday and Friday nights?” She wasn’t sure if his actions were exciting or scary.

“Appointment book. Brenda’s office is always open.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” Lori placed a hand between the two of theirs. “You see Avery in a bar. You search out a location of her gym, follow her to it, get a job there, and now you’re both here having drinks?”

Liam offered a brief, unapologetic nod.

Lori grabbed Avery’s hand. “How well do you know this guy?”

Avery liked the gleam in Liam’s eyes. “He’s safe.”

“What he just described is a little too close to stalking for my taste.”

Reed placed a hand on Lori’s shoulder. “Simmer down, Counselor. If Liam had an ulterior motive, he wouldn’t have told us all that.”

“I wanted to meet you,” Liam said. “

Yeah, well, you’ve met her.” Lori wasn’t happy.

Nikki showed up with Avery’s and Liam’s drinks.

“My usual, Nikki,” Lori told her.

“Hon, our reservations are in thirty minutes. Maybe we should go.”

Lori looked at Reed like he was crazy. “We aren’t leaving him with her. He could be a sociopath.”

Liam smiled, his eyes crinkling with amusement. “I’m not.”

“That’s what they all say.”

Avery put a free hand in the air. “Chill, Lori.”

Avery realized that her other hand had somehow ended up back in Liam’s. His thumb stroked the underside of her wrist in a strangely calming way.

“Do you want a drink, Reed?” Nikki was still standing there, watching the four of them.

“No, thank you. We’re leaving.”

Lori pushed back her chair. “We’re going to talk about this later,” she warned Avery. “And you … just so you know, I’m an attorney, and my big, burly husband here is in private security. He has even bigger friends.”

Liam reached into his back pocket and removed his wallet. From it, he pulled out what looked like a business card. “I have nothing to hide.”

Lori glanced at it briefly before Reed snatched it from her fingertips. “C’mon. Let’s leave them to their date.”

Liam stood again and shook Reed’s hand before he ushered Lori out of the bar.

“That was intense.”

“My friends are protective.”

“Understatement.”

“You really went through all that just to meet me?”

Liam picked up his cocktail for the first time. “Worked, didn’t it?”

Avery let loose his hand and lifted her glass to his. “Yes, it did.”

************************************************

 

 

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