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Once in a Blue Moon

by Sharon Sala

Publication Date: 8/25/2020

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala brings you back to Blessings, Georgia

How often do you find a love like this?

Cathy Terry is tired of running. Full of fear and hope, she backpacked across the country to Blessings, Georgia, not knowing if or when her abusive ex-husband would catch up to her. In Blessings she glimpses a safe haven and the closest feeling to home she’s had in a long time—even more so when she meets Duke Talbot. The sweet, strong, and handsome rancher provides a shoulder to lean on. The stakes get higher as the community embraces her and her relationship with Duke deepens—but can Cathy claim a new home and family before her past claims her?

SHARON SALA has over one hundred books in print and has published in five different genres. She is an eight-time RITA finalist, five-time Career Achievement winner from RT Book Reviews, and five-time winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate. She lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

Author Website: https://www.facebook.com/sharonkaysala/

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Excerpt: 

Duke loved this time of year. The leaves on the trees were as varied and colorful as the old patchwork quilts they’d slept under as children. And the sky today was a clear, cloudless blue—the same color as Cathy’s eyes.

The cows saw him driving across the pasture and looked up, hoping to see he was slowing down, which meant they would get fed. But when he kept driving, some moved beneath a small stand of shade trees, while others moved to the feeders with the big, round bales.

Duke had put up the cameras within a couple of hundred yards’ radius and facing the direction where the rustlers had come in before.

He walked a few yards into the trees to pick up the first cam and took it down. Out of curiosity, he stopped and rewound it to watch some of the footage and grinned at the view he’d caught of the backside of a boar raccoon waddling through the woods. He fast-forwarded through the minutes with nothing, then watched the footage of two black squirrels foraging on the ground.

There was more to be seen, but he could watch it at home if he wanted, so he packed it up, then started walking through the trees to the next location, where he retrieved the cam and put it in his backpack before moving on to the last.

As Duke approached the tree where he’d mounted it, he noticed a lot of paw prints in the area. They were from either dogs or coyotes, and if there was a pack of dogs running in the area, he wanted to play the tape back to see.

He was all the way on yesterday’s footage before he saw the coyote, and then it turned to face the camera. Duke gasped, watching as the coyote started staggering toward the camera, its head down, swinging slightly from side to side and foaming at the mouth. At that point he groaned, then stopped the camera.

The hair stood up on the back of his neck as he looked around at where he was standing. He’d only seen an animal with rabies maybe twice in his life, but the coyote he caught on the trail cam exhibited all of the symptoms.

They had to find it and put it down before it spread the disease to other animals. Something like that could easily become an epidemic. He needed to get home and call the county wildlife department and then notify the neighbors.

Duke drove home as fast as he could, then ran into the house carrying the cameras. He dumped them on the kitchen table and headed for the office. He had a friend who used to work for the county wildlife department and would know what to do and who to call.

He sat down without bothering to take off his jacket, found the number on an old business card, and made the call, then waited for someone to answer. This was the last number he’d had for Will, and he hoped it was still good.

And then the call was answered.

“Wildlife Animal Control, this is Carol.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’m trying to locate a ranger by the name of Will Polson. Does he still work there?”

“Yes, who’s calling please?”

“Tell him it’s Duke Talbot.”

Duke was put on hold, giving him time to put his cell phone on speaker. And then he heard a familiar voice and smiled.

“Well, hello, Duke Talbot! How the heck are you? Are you still out on the family farm?”

“Hi, Will. We’re doing good here, and yes, I’m still here. Listen, we have a problem out here. We had some trouble with cattle rustlers on the farm, so I put up some trail cams in the area, hoping if they came back I’d catch them. But they recently got themselves arrested. Today I went to take down the cameras and had quite a shock when I saw what was on the last one. It was a very obviously rabid coyote, and the last thing we need to have happen is to let this disease spread. There are a lot of farms around here, and people with kids and pets who roam the hills and creeks, not to mention the other wildlife that could get infected.”

“Oh man, this isn’t good. We haven’t had to deal with a rabies case in months,” Will said. “What were the date and time when you caught it on film?”

“Yesterday about this time of day,” Duke said.

“There’s no telling where it is by now, but I’ll get a crew together and head your way. You might notify as many neighbors as you can about the problem. Tell them to keep their dogs up until we find it. You said you’re still on the family farm?”

“Yes. Do you need an address?”

“Nope. I still remember how to get there. Can we drive up to the area?” he asked.

“Yes. To a point, and then the trees will be too dense. It will all be on foot from there.”

***

Excerpted from Once in a Blue Moon by Sharon Sala. © 2020 by Sharon Sala. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

by Lucy Gilmore

Publication Date: 6/30/2020

These adorable service puppies are matchmakers in the making…

Dawn Vasquez never takes life too seriously. But when she rescues a golden retriever named Gigi, Dawn begins to imagine what it’d be like to settle down and let someone rely on her for a change. Unfortunately, Adam Dearborn—a handsome, hopelessly buttoned-up cattle rancher in need of a guide dog—has also fallen in love with the little ball of fluff and stubbornly insists that no other animal will do.

Adam isn’t sure what drives him to fight to keep Gigi for himself, but he suspects it has something to do with his growing—and unfortunate—attachment to Dawn. Her whirlwind spirit and sunny disposition might make her a delight to be around, but they also make her unsuited for the difficult life of a rancher. He should be able to put her out of his head. But what’s a love-struck cowboy to do when what he wants and what he needs have never seemed so far apart? And can he allow himself to take a chance on everything Dawn has to offer: puppy kisses, puppy love…and her.

Lucy Gilmore is a contemporary romance author with a love of puppies, rainbows, and happily ever afters. She began her reading (and writing) career as an English literature major and ended as a die-hard fan of romance in all forms. When she’s not rolling around with her two Akitas, she can be found hiking, biking, or with her nose buried in a book. Visit her online at http://lucygilmore.com. She lives in the Spokane, WA area.

Author Website: http://lucygilmore.com.

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Excerpt: 

Mentioning her lips had to have been some kind of tactic. Just the word—lips—had him remembering their shape and size, the way the bottom one was so much plumper than the top, how good they felt when pressed against his bare skin. She always warned him to scrub hard before he met up with any other women, since she left a trail of lipstick all over his body.

He wasn’t seeing any other women, but there was no way he was telling her that. She already had him under her spell. He didn’t need to be under her power as well.

“Thank you for the offer,” he said tightly. “But I already like—”

“—the one you can’t have,” Dawn finished for him. She was definitely closer now, the unmistakable nonscent of her mixing with the hay and dirt to whirl his senses. “That seems to be a sort of thing with you, doesn’t it?”

He ran his hands through his hair, since it seemed suddenly important that he do something with them. It was also important to do something with this situation. If he let her continue like this, unchecked and uninhibited, there was good chance neither one of them was getting any work done today.

“As I recall, I’ve had you plenty of times already,” he said, a challenge in his voice. “In fact, I bet I could have you right here and now.”

Adam didn’t know if he was the one who’d drawn closer to her or if she’d stepped up to him, but there was no longer anything between them. Not a puppy, not air, definitely not common sense. The jut of her breasts pressed softly against his chest, the toes of her shoes touching the tips of his work boots.

His hands suddenly decided they had minds of their own. Moving forward to clasp her around the waist, they touched silky fabric and heat and a patch of skin where her shirt didn’t quite reach her waistband. That alone should have been enough to stop him—what kind of a person wore a tiny, silken shirt to a working ranch?—but of course he didn’t. That touch of skin set off something inexplicable inside him.

It always did. That was the problem. Words could be ignored and the sound of her laughter pressed deep down inside him, but one graze of his fingertips on her body and he was lost.

“I’ve always wanted to have sex on a pile of hay,” Dawn said, calling his bluff. She arched into his touch, allowing his hand to slide up her back. He encountered nothing but soft skin and the gentle curve of her spine, both of which promised more of the same, should he give in and really cop a feel. Which was tempting for a lot of reasons, including the fact that Dawn was stacked in ways that seemed wholly against nature. “Surely there must be one or two of those in the barn we could try?”

“There are.” He brought his lips close to her ear, though he was careful not to press against the gently pounding pulse below it. The moment the kissing started, all other bets were off—including the one that had a Great Dane puppy at their feet and a golden retriever puppy napping under Phoebe’s desk. That was the one thing he knew for sure. Dawn had come out here with the sole intention of luring him into lowering his defenses, in using her incredible body and the promise of what it could do to get her own way. She wanted Methuselah, and she’d stop at nothing to get her.

Well, two could play that way. In fact, he was becoming something of an expert at this particular game.

“We could slip in there right now, and no one would know where we are,” he murmured. Dawn arched her neck to give him better access, but he didn’t kiss, didn’t touch. Only teased. “I could throw you into the biggest stack of hay and rip this tiny scrap of a shirt from your body.”

A slight, guttural sound indicated how much she liked the direction this conversation was going. Typical. With Dawn, the anticipation, the clandestine nature of their meetings, was half the fun.

Who was he kidding? Where that woman was concerned, it was probably all the fun.

“No one will think to look for us for hours,” he added, still in that low, crooning voice. “It’ll just be me and you, our bodies slick with sweat.”

Dawn’s hips pressed against his, her arms coiling around his neck so that her entire body could melt against him. This was how she always struck, coiled and soft and yielding.

So he struck back.

“Well, that and the snakes.”

Instead of pulling back, Dawn only laughed and clasped her hands tighter around his neck. “Good thing I happen to like snakes,” she said. Her mouth brushed lightly against his, fluttering like a pair of butterfly wings. “Like the alligators, they make such nice shoes. Purses too.”

Even though Adam’s body thrummed with anticipation, burning hot in all the places it touched hers, he kept his tone level. “We also get the occasional badger, even though they’re pretty rare in these parts. Rats are almost a certainty.”

“Why, Adam Dearborn, are you trying to sweet-talk me?”

No, dammit. He was trying to do the exact opposite. Why did this woman refuse to act like a normal human being? She should run at the mention of rats, not press her hips against his until he ached.

“I’m just making sure you know what you’re getting into, that’s all,” he said. His voice sounded strained to his own ears. “Things can get pretty nasty out here in the wilderness.”

“That’s funny,” she purred. “So can I.”

***

Excerpted from Puppy Kisses by Lucy Gilmore. © 2020 by Lucy Gilmore. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

All I can say about Delores Fossen is that she’s got the “Finger On The Trigger” of her readers as she characterizes one amazing cowboy story after another! Fast and furious, intense and passionate, dangerous and deadly, her stories always have an element of mystery adding flavor to the story.

fingeronthetrigger-deloresfossen-sept2018

“Finger On The Trigger” is no different as Ranger Griff Morris and Rachel McCall battle the attraction between them as they wage a war against the threat shadowing a pregnant Rachel. Griff sure has his hands full with not only protecting Rachel, but also the baby she’s carrying.

Another fast paced story sure to keep you captivated!

Received an ARC from Harlequin Romance via NetGalley for an honest review.

I always enjoy reading Lori Foster! There’s something so very charming and captivating about her heroes and heroines, interesting plots and the crossover/spin off series are always my favorite.

CloseContact-BodyArmor#4-LoriFoster-Nov2017

As much as I love her books, her latest release “Close Contact”, somehow lacked her special trademark of chemistry and vibes. MMA fighter Miles Dartman’s path crosses that of Maxi Nevar and after one passionate night between the sheets go their own ways. Now fate brings them together, as Maxi’s life is in danger from an unknown threat and he’s tasked with the job of protecting her.

Staying under one roof at the ranch that Maxi had inherited, old feelings are renewed, sparks are fanned to passion and love becomes the very air that they breathe. It’s a good plot, but lacked conviction and interest and somehow I did not see that chemistry between Miles and Maxi. I was more interested in Sahara Silver and Brand Berry!

Then again this is Lori Foster, and I am a bit biased and one read is given for “Close Contact”.

Received an ARC from Harlequin via NetGalley for an honest review.

Brenda Novak has introduced us to the New Horizons Boys Ranch in her latest Silver Springs Series, a ranch to give troubled teenagers a second chance to turnaround and a chance for a new lease of life.

UntilYouLovedMe-SilverSprings#3-July2017

“Until You Loved Me” is an emotional journey of an abandoned baby boy Hudson King, now an NFL superstar and rich to the core. And he owes Aiyana and The Horizons Boys Ranch for his giving him a purpose and direction to his life. Yet his past haunts him with unanswered questions. A chance encounter with a scientist though gives him some reprieve, and surprise, surprise, a chance at becoming a father.

Ellie Fisher the scientist wants one night to ride the wild side, to forget a nasty breakup with her fiancée and she sure lives up to it with Hudson King. And that one night of being wild and naughty makes her pregnant and a chance of motherhood.

Pro-sportsman, public figure, handsome Hudson King meets the quite, nerdy, workaholic, no-idea-about-sports Ellie Fisher. Sparks fly, attraction flares and now a child bonds them together under the same roof, giving them a chance at love and forever. Practical and analytical Ellie supports Hudson through the drama and the trauma of his past, and the ever kind and generous Hudson makes sure Ellie is being treated with love, care and respect.

A beautifully narrated story of support and care, love and understanding, redemption and fulfillment, “Until You Loved Me” is a perfect blend of emotions and romance that gives Hudson and Ellie their happily ever after. Brenda Novak is an amazing writer that I admire and enjoy her stories when she blends real life experiences to the story, adding that twist of charisma and genuinity.

Received an ARC from Harlequin via NetGalley for an honest review.

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