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About the Book
 
Title: Save Your Breath
Author: Melinda Leigh
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Publisher: Montlake
SaveYourBreathGraphic.jpg
 
Summary
 

When true-crime writer Olivia Cruz disappears with no signs of foul play, her new boyfriend, Lincoln Sharp, suspects the worst. He knows she didn’t leave willingly and turns to attorney Morgan Dane and PI Lance Kruger to find her before it’s too late.

As they dig through Olivia’s life, they are shocked to discover a connection between her current book research on two cold murder cases and the suicide of one of Morgan’s prospective clients.

As Morgan and Lance investigate, the number of suspects grows, but time is running out to find Olivia alive. When danger comes knocking at their door, Morgan and Lance realize that they may be the killer’s next targets.

 
Author Biography
MelindaLeigh
 
#1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A lifelong lover of books, she started writing as a way to preserve her sanity when her youngest child entered first grade. During the next few years, she joined Romance Writers of America, learned a few things about writing a novel, and decided the process was way more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, She Can Run, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. She’s also garnered Golden Leaf and Silver Falchion Awards, along with two nominations for a RITA and three Daphne du Maurier Awards. She holds a second-degree black belt in Kenpo karate; teaches women’s self-defense; and lives in a messy house with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs, and two rescue cats.
 
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Author Interview: Melinda Leigh
 

1) Your newest release features two of your most popular characters, attorney Morgan Dane and P.I. Lance Kruger. While this couple has a habit of getting involved in difficult (and dangerous) criminal cases, the mystery in this book is much more personal for them. 

In Save Your Breath, Morgan and Lance aren’t working for a client. They’re looking for Sharp’s girlfriend, Olivia Cruz, who vanished from her home in the middle of the night. After Olivia goes missing, Sharp realizes his feelings for her run much deeper than he’d thought. As the investigation continues, with no trace of Olivia, the usually calm and centered PI begins to unravel. Morgan and Lance had always depended on Sharp for his insight and stability. Save Your Breath reverses these established roles.   

2) How does the personal nature of the crime affect the other characters? 

Morgan and Lance are also thrust into unaccustomed roles. In the previous five books, Sharp has been the source of stability. He is their rock. Now Morgan and Lance have to step up and help him hold it together. The book deliberately challenges the cohesiveness of the team.

3) The story starts with a terrifying scene where Olivia is kidnapped. It is raw and visceral and plays on everyone’s worst fear—being unsafe in our own home. How do you get into the mindset for crafting this kind of scene?

I close my eyes and envision the scene in my mind from beginning to end. Everyone has been woken by a strange noise in the middle of the night. We’ve all stared at the ceiling, listening for the sounds of a stranger moving through the house. Being attacked in our sleep is a basic, primal fear. That’s the vulnerable feeling I wanted to generate in the reader, so I imagined it happening to me. Basically, I’m channeling the overactive imagination that got me into so much trouble as a child. 

4) Morgan and Lance are planning a wedding and solidifying Lance’s place as a step-dad to the Dane girls, all the while dealing with terrible crimes around them. How do they disconnect from the violence around them in order to create a space just for themselves and their family?

The family demands their full attention, and in their world of chaos and crime, their home is what keeps them sane. Both Morgan and Lance operate best when they have the support and love of their family to return to at the end of the day.  

5) Can you give readers any hints of what’s next for Morgan Dane and her crew?

I wrote Save Your Breath as the final book in the Morgan Dane series, but my next project is a spin-off. The Bree Taggert Series will take place in Grey’s Hollow. Morgan and the crew will likely make appearances. 

***

 
Excerpt: 
 

Her weekly dinner with her family had distracted her earlier in the evening. Her mother had served frijoles negros, Olivia’s favorite traditional Cuban dish. Olivia had overindulged, and the minute she’d left her parents’ house in Albany to make the hour drive back to Scarlet Falls, her true crime research had flashed right back into her mind and unsettled her stomach. 

Chewing an antacid, she mulled over her stunning discovery. The implications of what she’d learned further stirred the black beans and rice in her belly. As a journalist, her job was to seek the truth, not play judge or jury. But should she choose to pursue and publish this truth, other people could pay the price for her revelation—possibly with their lives. 

SaveYourBreath

Her new book proposal was overdue, but Olivia’s predicament felt like a no-win situation. Ignoring the truth went against all her principles. Then again, so did putting other people in danger. 

But how much risk was involved? Could she live with being responsible for even a single innocent person’s death? 

Obsessing about her book research had translated into three consecutive nights of insomnia. Enough was enough. Olivia didn’t need to make this decision alone. What she needed was outside perspective. She brought the antacids with her into the bedroom, picked up her phone from the nightstand, and checked the time. Eleven o’clock. She sent a CALL ME IF UR UP text message to Lincoln Sharp, her . . .

The word boyfriend seemed silly at their ages. She was forty-eight. Lincoln was fifty-three. They’d been dating for several months, and they spent the night together once or twice a week. She assumed their relationship was exclusive, although they hadn’t specifically discussed it. 

Labels weren’t important to either of them, but when she saw him or he called unexpectedly, the stirrings of excitement and joy in her blood made her feel like a teenager. Beyond her attraction to him, she respected him both personally and professionally. 

So why had she been stewing over her decision instead of asking for his opinion? 

Lincoln owned and operated a private investigation firm. As a retired police detective, his practical experience with the legal system—and his knowledge of criminal behavior—exceeded hers. She valued his insight and trusted him to keep her research confidential. If she decided to pursue the story, she would hire his firm to help with the investigative legwork anyway. She may as well bring him on board now. 

She burped. Her indigestion began to burn its way up her esophagus. She chewed a second antacid, the chalky taste coating her mouth. She reached for the glass of water on her nightstand and sipped. 

A few seconds later, her phone rang, and she pressed “Answer.” 

“Is everything OK?” Lincoln asked in a worried tone. Her late-night text was unusual. 

“Yes,” Olivia assured him. 

“I’m sorry I missed dinner with your parents again,” he said. “I wrapped up my case tonight. I should be able to make dinner next week.” 

He didn’t talk much about work, which was fine. She understood his professionalism and appreciated his need to maintain client confidentiality. But he had mentioned the case had involved a great deal of evening surveillance. 

“They understand,” she said. “I called because I’m stuck in my research, and I’d like your opinion. Are you free sometime tomorrow afternoon? I can come to your office.” 

“Sure.” Interest brightened his voice. “How much time do you want me to block out?” 

“An hour should do.” She considered his associates. Lincoln’s business partner, PI Lance Kruger, and Lance’s fiancée, defense attorney Morgan Dane, could also provide useful insight on Olivia’s dilemma. Morgan’s legal advice might be particularly helpful. “I’d like Morgan’s and Lance’s thoughts as well. Could you see if they’re available?” 

“Hold on. Let me check their digital calendars.” The line went quiet for a few breaths. “Lance should be here in the afternoon. Morgan has a client meeting at nine a.m. Her calendar is clear the rest of the day. How about I put you in the one p.m. spot?”

“Perfect.” Olivia lowered the phone and made a note in the calendar app. “I’ll see you tomorrow then.” 

“You know, when you texted”—Sharp’s voice deepened—“I had hoped this was a booty call.” 

A little thrill rushed through her, followed by another burp. Olivia rubbed the fire behind her breastbone. “Tonight isn’t a good night. I ate way too much of my mother’s food.” 

He snorted. “That happens. She’s an incredible cook. Get some rest and feel better.” 

“Good night.” Olivia lowered the phone. 

Satisfied he would help her make her decision, she slid into bed and picked up a book. At midnight, she still wasn’t sleepy. She set down the book and redirected her mind. Lincoln was teaching her to meditate. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on her breaths. She conjured a mental image of the beach in her mind and synced her breathing to the ebb and flow of the imaginary waves. At first she had trouble concentrating, but eventually her body felt heavy. 

Olivia jolted, her heartbeat quickening, sweat dampening her T-shirt. 

What was that? 

A glance at the clock on her nightstand told her hours had passed. It felt as if she’d just closed her eyes, but she must have fallen asleep. She scanned the darkness of her bedroom. Her gaze passed over her dresser and chair. Had she heard something real, or had it been a dream? 

She concentrated, listening hard to the sounds of her house, but she heard nothing unusual. A thunk and hum signaled the heater switching on. Hot air blew out of the floor vent and moved the sheers that hung over her windows. 

The alarm hadn’t sounded. She reached for her cell phone. It was far too early to rise for the day. She double-checked the security system app on her phone. The house was secure. She needed to go back to sleep. 

She shifted her legs under the covers, closed her eyes, and tried to get comfortable. 

Something whooshed. Her eyes snapped open. A large shape rushed toward her. A heavy body landed on top of her, pinning her to the mattress. The weight and size of her attacker felt male. She flailed and tried to push him off, but her arms and legs were trapped as he straddled her. She was cocooned in her comforter like a swaddled baby. Her throat constricted. She couldn’t scream. 

Panic sprinted through her bloodstream as she stared up at the dark assailant looming over her. His face seemed distorted, his features brighter and flatter than normal. He was wearing a mask. 

With a bolt of gut-twisting horror, she recognized the character as Michael Myers from the movie Halloween. 

A flash of terror shot up her spine. She inhaled, preparing to force a scream out of her tight throat. 

He slapped her across the face. Pain, bright and sharp, sang through her cheekbone but faded in seconds as her adrenaline surged. The scream died in her chest.


***
 
 

The new “Vengeance Series” by Kaylea Cross made an exceptional start with the first “Stealing Vengeance”. And what a brilliant storyline!

StealingVengeance-VengeanceSeries#1-KayleaCross

Megan and Tyler, two strong individuals, two amazingly courageous people and with a past that has so many questions, and a present with more betrayal and unanswered questions, both have the deadly task of weeding out the evil among them. And no review would do justice to this story, as each line, situation and action is a reading pleasure and thrill!

A definite read and Kaylea Cross outshines herself with this new series!

Received an ARC from the author via NetGalley for an honest review.

Opposites Attract: When Cole Claims Sarah 

In Claiming Sarah, Cole Johnson is co-owner of one of his town’s most popular gyms. He’s extremely busy since his partner, Felicity, is out of town. He makes an appointment to meet with Sarah Butler, to arrange for some self defense training for her, but he almost loses his chance when she overhears him telling his secretary he’s too busy and to give her an excuse as to why he can’t meet her. The couple (obviously) works out that awkward first meeting and Sarah begins learning how to defend herself from a creepy man who keeps giving her inappropriate presents. Of course the more time Cole spends with Sarah, the more he likes her and they end up dating. When she disappears it’s up to Cole, and Ace Security, to put together the clues to find her before it’s too late.

Cole Johnson is a man who’s used to plowing through his day and when he needs or wants something, he simply gets it. Sarah Butler is more reserved. As a kid who didn’t feel wanted until she was finally adopted she was used to being in the background. Cole and Sarah compliment each other perfectly. Cole is able to ferret out what Sarah wants and needs and he delivers. And in return Sarah keeps Cole grounded. She smooths out his jagged edges.

I think that’s how good relationships work, at least in my books. The Hero is there to protect and shield his woman from anyone or anything that might want to hurt her, and she’s there to keep him grounded and to support him. It seems to just work.

About the Book

ClaimingSarahGraphic

Title: Claiming Sarah

Author: Susan Stoker

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Publisher: Montlake

Summary

Sarah Butler isn’t flattered. She’s angry and unnerved. She’s been getting intimate gifts from a man she barely knows. Nothing threatening yet, but there’s just a weird vibe she can’t ignore. Her recourse is Ace Security. Their solution: self-defense lessons at Rock Hard Gym with a personal, hands-on instructor. One look at the bearded, tattooed, green-eyed alpha is enough to take Sarah’s breath away.

Cole Johnson is definitely the man for the job. He’s eager to train her. Eager to get closer. And when it comes to Sarah’s instincts, Cole knows she’s not imagining things. He’s also not imagining the intense attraction between them—and his desire to protect her is growing. But so are Sarah’s fears, the worst of which come true when she disappears.

Enlisting the help of Ace Security, Cole will stop at nothing to find the love of his life . . . before she vanishes forever.

Author Biography

Susan Stoker

Susan Stoker is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Claiming Felicity, Claiming Bailey, Claiming Grace, and Claiming Alexis in the Ace Security series. A lover of alpha heroes, Susan is also the author of the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes series. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. She is a true believer in happily ever after and enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her at www.stokeraces.com.

Buy Linkhttps://amzn.to/2NPoUTv

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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Direct Link

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***

Excerpt: 

“Do you ask out every woman you train at your gym? It just seems . . . fast.”

Cole stared at her for a long moment, and when he frowned, Sarah felt as if she’d somehow disappointed him.

“No, I don’t ask out every woman I train. Not even close. It’s been a long time since I’ve asked anyone out. And believe me, Sarah, I’m looking at you—and I like what I see. A lot. You’ve got an air of innocence about you that I find fascinating. You’ve had a tough life, but haven’t let it harden you. I respect you, and I . . . I’d like to get to know you better.”

She bit her lip and took a deep breath, but didn’t immediately protest, so he went on. “I have a feeling simply being around you will make me a better person.”

Sarah shook her head. “Don’t do that. Don’t put me on a pedestal. I’m not some paragon walking around sprinkling glitter throughout the world.”

Cole laughed. Threw his head back and laughed as if she’d said the funniest thing he’d ever heard.

Sarah tugged on her hand again, somewhat offended, but he still refused to let go.

When he got himself under control, he said, “I know you’re not perfect. You’re too trusting. You see the good in everyone, even when there isn’t any there. You probably neglect your own health in order to do something good for someone else.”

“You make me sound like an idiot,” Sarah grumbled, despite being secretly kind of flattered.

“You’re not an idiot. You’re refreshing. And I’m not. I’ve got more than my share of flaws that I’m sure you’ll discover sooner rather than later. But as I said, if you let me get to know you, go out on a few dates with me, I’m hoping you’ll find that you like me back . . . just a little.”

Sarah frowned. “I already like you, Cole, but I don’t understand you. You don’t know anything about me. I could totally be lying to you right now, and you just bought my lies hook, line, and sinker.”

He smiled again. “You’re not lying.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I’m an expert at reading body language. I’ve been around some bad people in my life, angel. You are who you say you are. What you see is what you get.”

Sarah licked her lips nervously, and his gaze immediately followed the movement.

Cole persisted. “Say you’ll go out with me, Sarah.”

“I thought I was here to figure out how to defend myself.”

“You are. And we’ll get to that. Agreeing to go out with me in no way affects whether or not I’ll teach you some basic moves that will allow you to get away from someone and get to safety.”

“But if I say no, things could get weird.”

“Then say yes,” Cole cajoled. “I swear you’ve got nothing to fear from me. I’ll even get references if that will make you feel safer.”

“It’s not that. I think I feel safer with you than anyone I’ve ever been around . . .” She

hesitated.

“But?”

“I’m afraid once you get to know me, you’ll decide I’m annoying. Too much work or something. I work odd hours, weird shifts. And I looked you up online. I know about your friend and what happened to her. And about the Andersons. The last thing I want is my stalker getting upset when he sees us together—because he will—and taking out any anger on you and your friends.”

“Breathe, angel. Take a breath. Nothing is going to happen to them.”

“You can’t control people, Cole,” Sarah pressed. “They’re unpredictable.”

“Fine. Then we’ll meet with Logan, Blake, Nathan, and Ryder, and make sure they know everything about this Owen guy. We’ll let them investigate and figure out what will make him back off. In the meantime, we’ll hang out at my place. Or here. Or your house. We won’t shove our relationship down Owen’s throat. We’ll be discreet. How’s that sound?”

Sarah could only gape at him. “How’d we go from me wanting some tips on protecting myself to having Ace Security investigating Owen and you and me hanging out at each other’s houses?”

He smiled at her again, but didn’t answer her question.

She took a deep breath and gave him the only answer she could. “Okay.”

He beamed. “Okay,” he said quietly. Then he finally let go of her hand and stood, before immediately reaching the same hand down to her again. “Time for your first lesson.”

Automatically, she reached up and let him help her off the floor. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting. A kiss to seal the deal. A hug. A discussion about when and where their first date would be. But so far, Cole hadn’t done anything the way she expected him to.

“First lesson for today will be how to get a guy to let go of your hand if he’s been holding on too long and you’re uncomfortable.”

Sarah knew he was referring to her feeble attempts to pull her hand out of his, and blushed. But he was right, this was something she should know. It would come in handy at the hospital too, just in case one of the patients or family members got a little too familiar, as they’d done in the past.

Concentrating on his instruction, she did her best to put her nerves about dating Cole behind her.

***

Buy-book link:

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250243270 

How to Love a Duke in Ten days_MM

Synopsis:

These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…

Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.

Author Bio:

Kerrigan Byrne

Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, USA Today bestseller Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. She lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, but dreams of settling on the Pacific Coast. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.

Q&A With The Author:

Q: What inspired you to write How to Love a Duke in Ten Days?

A:  I’ve always been one of those women who have enjoyed fierce female friendships. I think that soulmates, even for heterosexual women, can be just as necessary with other women as with men, and a real hero must not just love and respect you, but also your tribe. I wanted to write a series where historical heroines could truly have it all, education, dreams, businesses, wealth, genius, revenge, hot sex, AND true love. Where the sacrifices were made on their behalf instead by them, and where their heroes learn to lift them up in all ways, heal their pains, calm their fears, become their best friends, and protect them with what I hope is a great balance between alpha hotness and progressive sensitivity. 

Q: Is there one thing you would like readers to take away from this story?

A: That’s tough because I packed a lot in there! I would say the one thing from this book, specifically, is that happiness is attainable against the odds, even when overcoming the worst that people can do to one another. Even though I’m a grown up and a cynic, I still like to write books that remind me that true love conquers all, because that love can come from so many people. 

Q: Can you describe your typical day writing this book?

A: This book was especially difficult for me to write, so I spent a great deal of time in my bathrobe. I would get up, my fantastic husband would make me coffee, I’d call my critique partner and we’d do a bit of brainstorming, and I’d write and rewrite for hours, stress, cry, throw things, walk the dog, eat, snack, eat some more, facebook way too much, and then finish under word count, binge a tv show or a book until I stared at the ceiling into the wee hours. Oh, and there was drinking in there at regular intervals.

Glamorous, I know!

Q: Describe the hero and heroine of How to Love a Duke in Ten Days in three words each.

A: The Duke of Redmayne: Wary. Wounded. Wicked.

Lady Alexandra Lane: Brave. Brilliant. Beautiful.

Q: What is the one thing that the heroine, Alexandra, can’t live without?

A: She cannot live without her two dearest friends in the entire world, Miss Cecelia Teague, and Lady Francesca Cavendish. They literally buried a body for her, and would defend her to the death.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write in How to Love a Duke in Ten Days? Your favorite?

A: As with many (most) of my novels, the prologues are the hardest to write, and read, I suspect. Usually I take the characters to the very edge of their breaking point, often times pushing them over so they have what seems like insurmountable conflicts to overcome both internally and externally. So, for this book, Alexandra’s assault was the most difficult thing to get through, and boy did I enjoy being able to help Piers put her back together, because he was just the perfect hero for her. Tender, empathetic, a good sense of humor, and a large dose of protective alphaness.

Q: Why do you write historical romance? 

A:  I’ve always romanticized the past. I can’t help it. I love the pace and the aesthetic, the gowns and the suits and the manners and the manors. I love to do historical research and it’s so fun to see how much we are influenced by the past and how, even though so much has changed through the centuries, people really haven’t. Also, it’s fun to play with language, mystery, and sex in a time when a scandal was still possible. *wink.

Q: Is there another particular author that inspires you or that you enjoy reading? 

A: There is a LIST! I would say in historical romance, though, it’s always always Lisa Kleypas. She has a grasp on the characterization of historical folks that I can never hope to attain. I’m just in awe of her every word.

Q: Where do you go or what resources do you use to make sure your novels are historically correct? 

A: I love to find books about a time period at B&N or my local bookshops. I go to Harper’s Bazaar for fashion, and a slew of Victorian references for the time period. I do read blogs and sometimes consult with historians and experts.

Q: Did you learn anything surprising while researching for this novel?

A: Many things! I learned how truly difficult it was to attain an education as a woman as little as a hundred years ago. It’s really incredible how far we’ve come in a century. 

Q: What do you do when faced with writer’s block, if you ever are? 

A: Oh man. I often am. I usually try to shake it loose with a brainstorming conversation with a few friends I have who always seem to be able to unstick me. I rely heavily on the creativity of others as well as my own.

Q: How did you feel the first time you realized one of your books was a big success? 

A: I didn’t believe it. It seems surreal every time I truly realize that a story I wrote entertained another human. Let alone more than one. I’m like… they paid to read it? WHAT? 

Q: What’s next for the Devil You Know series? 

A: I’m especially excited for the next book ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED because it’s about Alexandra’s best friend the curvy vicar’s daughter, Cecelia Teague. She inherits London’s most infamous and successful brothel, and one imposing, surly Scottish enemy along with it. She and Lord Ramsay, the Lord Chief Justice with an axe to grind against her establishment, can’t be in a room together without the sparks flying. I can’t think about this book without smiling.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: I hope you enjoy this trio of roguish redheads as much as I enjoyed writing them!

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

And A Peek At Chapter One:

Maynemouth, Devonshire, 1890 Ten years later

Alexander,

Accept the invitation to Castle Redmayne. I’m in danger. I need you.

—Frank

Alexandra Lane had spent the entire train ride from Lon- don to Devonshire meticulously pondering those fourteen words for two separate reasons.

The first, she had been unable to stop fretting for Fran- cesca, who tended to give more than the appropriate amount of context. The terse, vague note Alexandra now held was more of a warning than the message contained therein.

The second, she could no longer afford a first-class, pri- vate railcar, and had, for the last several tense hours, been forced to share her vestibule face-to-face with a rough- featured, stocky man with shoulders made for labor.

Alone.

He’d attempted polite conversation at first, which she’d rebuffed with equal civility by feigning interest in her cor- respondence. By now, however, they were both painfully aware she needn’t take four stops to read two letters.

It was terribly rude, she knew. Her carpetbag remained clutched in her fist the entire time, except when her hand would wander into its depths to palm the tiny pistol she always carried. The sounds of the other passengers in ad- joining vestibules didn’t make her feel safer, per se.

But she knew they would hear her scream, and that pro- vided some relief.

For a woman who’d spent a great deal of the last ten years in the company of men, she’d thought these painful moments would have relented by now.

Alas, she’d become a mistress of manipulating a situa- tion so, even if she had to endure the company of men without a female companion, there would be more than one man. In the circles she tended to frequent, people be- haved when in company.

It had worked thus far.

Alexandra braced herself against the slowing of the train, breathing a silent prayer of relief that they’d finally arrived. She’d been terrified that if she’d glanced up once, she’d be forced into conversation with her unwanted com- panion.

Rain wept against the coach window, and the shadows of the tears painted macabre little serpents on the conflict- ing documents in her hands. One, a wedding invitation. The other, Francesca’s alarming note.

A month past, she’d have wagered her entire inheritance against Francesca Cavendish’s being the first of the Red Rogues to capitulate to the bonds of matrimony.

A month past, she’d assumed she’d had an inheritance to wager.

Their little society had seemed destined to live up to the promise they’d once made as young, disenchanted girls to never marry.

Until the invitation to an engagement masquerade— given by the Duke of Redmayne—had arrived the same day of her friend’s cryptic and startling note.

The invitation had been equally as ambiguous, stating that the future duchess of Redmayne would be unveiled, as it were, at the ball. Included in Alexandra’s particular envelope was a request for her to attend as a bridesmaid.

The subsequent plea for help from Francesca—Frank— had arrived in a tiny envelope with the Red Rogue seal they’d commissioned some years prior.

Alexandra hadn’t even known Francesca had returned from her romps about the Continent. Last she’d heard, the countess had been in Morocco, doing reconnaissance of some sort. Nothing in her letters had mentioned a suitor. Not a serious one, in any case. Certainly not a duke.

Francesca had a talent for mischief and a tendency to interpret danger as mere adventure.

So, what could possibly frighten her fearless friend?

Marriage, obviously, Alexandra thought with a smirk.

A risky venture, to be sure.

From How to Love a Duke in Ten Days. Copyright © 2019 by Kerrigan Byrne and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

HandleWithCare_CoverHandle with Care 

by Marie Harte

Publication date: August 27, 2019

Summary:

Evan Griffith has had a hell of a day…

And that was before he met the stunning, sexy woman having a meltdown.

Evan Griffith has had many careers in his life. But who knew working for his family’s moving company would hold just as much action as his stint in the Marine Corps? On an unforgettable job, Evan finds himself taken by a teenage conman and confronted by a woman wielding a knife—and promptly falls head over heels for her.

Kenzie Sykes is doing her best to raise her little brother and keep him out of jail—all while dealing with her own broken heart that just hasn’t healed. She doesn’t have time for romance. He’s not asking… Until he is, and she finds herself saying yes.

Veteran Movers series:

The Whole Package (Book 1)

Smooth Moves (Book 2)

Handle with Care (Book 3)

HandleWithCare_Graphic

Praise for Marie Harte:

“With a protective alpha hero that stole my heart instantly, The Whole Package was sexy, sweet, and thoroughly satisfying.”—LAUREN LAYNE, New York Times bestselling author, for The Whole Package

“Marie Harte at her best! The Whole Package delivered everything I love—hot alpha, a strong woman, and amazing writing!”—DONNA GRANT, New York Times bestselling author, for The Whole Package

“Terrific. I absolutely loved this story.”—Night Owl Reviews, TOP PICK for The Only Thing

“Another exceptionally red-hot romance by Marie Harte with a strong yet sweet hero!”—Fresh Fiction for Just the Thing

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marie Harte is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether biking around town, hiking, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit marieharte.com and fall in love. She resides in Oregon.

Author Website: marieharte.com 

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EXCERPT:

Funny, he’d said. Evan had been set up. Again. Daniel Sykes needed some discipline, something the Corps, or a foot up his butt, might just provide. Then again, should Evan be upset at another opportunity to see Kenzie up close?

Damn, but even angry she turned him on. Yeah, that was it. He wanted her. Physical desire. That he understood. And if he ignored the quickening of his heart and the need to sigh just looking at her, he’d believe his own bullshit. Because falling for a woman he didn’t even know made no sense. And Evan was nothing if not rational.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, biting out each word.

“I’m supposed to meet your brother to discuss financial matters. He had a legitimate question about tax penalties, and since I was already in the area, I told him I’d meet him.”

Kenzie clenched her jaw.

“So he was lying?”

“No. I am having some issues with my books, but I’m not sure why Rachel’s moving guy is qualified to help us.”

Evan smiled. “I’m an accountant. I was, I mean. Well, I still am. I’m just working for myself now.”

“Why?”

“So much suspicion.” He grinned, not telling her how adorable she looked in her pique. Women didn’t like hearing that they were cute when trying to appear serious. “I wasn’t fired for any wrongdoing. I left the firm because I couldn’t handle the hours. But I’m still consulting for them, and I have a few clients staying with me who left Peterman & Campbell Accounting when I did.”

She blinked. “I know that firm. One of my clients uses them. They’re big money.”

“Yep.” Evan wanted to stroke her cheek, to see if she felt as soft as she looked. So he tucked his hands in his pockets.

“What was with lying to Rob about your clients using me? Or me being overbooked?”

He shrugged. “I know Rob. He’s competitive. The thought of him not getting to use your services because you don’t have time for him would annoy the crap out of him. Plus it never hurts to make people think you’re more than you are. Perception is everything, and before you know it, you will be overbooked.”

“Oh.” She gave him a tentative smile. “Thanks.”

“Mind if I grab a coffee and wait with you for your brother? It’s getting crowded in here.”

She nodded, her gaze thoughtful.

Evan picked up a coffee and a few pastries and returned to Kenzie. “How about some sweets as a peace offering? I had no idea I was interrupting a meeting.”

She accepted an apricot Danish. “Thanks. It’s not your fault I couldn’t snare Rob Talon on my own.”

He didn’t know about that. Rob had seemed pretty smitten when Evan had seen the pair sitting together.

“How do you know him anyway?” Kenzie asked.

“I knew his sister from a long time ago. She and I dated briefly in college. Rob is a good guy, and he and I became friends after Kayla and I broke up.”

“Really? Kayla is amazing.”

“She is. But I was the problem.” I was too boring for Kayla. And I really hate that word. “She wanted to see the world, and I had responsibilities.” He sipped his coffee, remembering the past and wondering where the time had gone. “Well, actually she wanted to go to India for some technology conference, and I wanted to go to Miami for a wild spring break. We parted ways after I joined the Marine Corps and she moved to Bangalore.”

“You were a Marine?”

“Am a Marine.” He smiled with pride. “You’re never an ex. You become a ‘prior’ or ‘former’ Marine. It’s always with you.” Even though he hadn’t enjoyed many of the aspects of the military, he missed the camaraderie, which explained why he loved working with the gang at Vets on the Go! It felt like a mini-Corps of likeminded individuals.

“So if you don’t mind me asking, why are you moving furniture for a living? Because you burned out doing accounting?” She sounded disbelieving.

He couldn’t blame her. “Actually, I’m a partner in our moving business. My cousins and I own Vets on the Go!, and one of our guys is out due to a broken arm. So I’m helping out until he’s back. But to be honest, it’s been enjoyable using my muscles more than my brains for a while. I got tired working eighty-hour weeks for Peterman & Campbell.”

Her eyes softened. “That makes sense. I love my job, but I get tired too. I worked all weekend in between cleaning my house and running errands.” She sighed. “And today was a bust.”

“Sorry to hear that. I’ll make sure Rob calls you back since I interrupted you.”

“No, please don’t. I can handle my business myself.”

He sensed a little bit of tension there, but he understood the need for independence. “No problem. At least finish the Danish.”

She shoved half the pastry in her mouth and grinned at him. “Happy now?” she asked, her mouth full, and he laughed.

“You know, I can see where your brother gets that attitude.”

She managed to swallow the ball of dough and groaned. “Now I should be apologizing to you. I can’t believe he tricked you into coming here.”

“So you’re not having a problem with your taxes?”

“Yes, but—” The buzz of her phone interrupted her. She read a text and blinked. “Daniel just told me he’s on his way here to meet with you and not to be freaked out if I see you because you’re not stalking me, you’re doing him a favor.”

“Wow. He texted all that?”

“Mostly in abbreviations and emojis, but I understand teen-speak.”

Evan laughed. “Better you than me. I couldn’t even figure out how to change my name back.”

“What did he change your name to?”

“Well, my ringtone became ‘Dancing Queen.’ And my name became Sexy Moving Man with a Fine Ass.”

She couldn’t stifle her mirth, and he saw it.

***

Excerpted from Handle With Care by Marie Harte. © 2019 by Marie Harte. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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