Tag Archive: Sourcebooks Casablanca


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.

Highland Gladiator

by Kathryn Le Veque

Publication Date: 8/25/2020

Gladiator meets Fight Club in the Scottish Highlands in a new romance from USA Today bestselling author Kathryn Le Veque

“The epic Medieval Romance is back—thanks to Kathryn Le Veque!” —Claire Delacroix, New York Times Bestselling author

When Lor Careston’s quiet Highland village was attacked and burned, he felt helpless against the raiders who destroyed his home. Seeking revenge, but lacking the fighting skills needed to execute his mission, he sets out to find the Ludus Caledonia—a mysterious fight guild that turns men into warriors.

Lor trains hard, proves himself in the ring, and earns a place within the very clan that decimated his home. He knows he can set his plan for revenge in motion from the inside. But his plan didn’t include Isabail Keith, a beautiful warrior lass who prefers broadswords to embroidery. Lor thought the Keiths were his enemies, but when Isabail is threatened, he’ll have to decide what he’s willing to risk for the woman who has captured his heart and the clan that has become his home.

Truth. Justice. Revenge. Behind these stands the Scotsman’s sword.

With over one hundred published novels, Kathryn Le Veque is a critically acclaimed USA Today bestselling author, a charter Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance. She lives in California.

Author Website: https://kathrynleveque.com/

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Excerpt: 

The village of Brechin, Scottish Highlands

Year of Our Lord 1484

He’d seen her before.

Lor knew that the moment he looked up from the business he was conducting with his grandfather’s friend. In the midst of a busy marketplace on a glorious spring day, he caught sight of a woman he recognized, which wasn’t unusual in itself, but with this woman, it was.

Lor and the old man with the missing eye had been going over the purchase Lor was making of slag material for his grandfather’s blacksmith stall when he glanced up and saw her. In truth, he saw her only from the back; it was the hair that had his attention. In the sunlight, the red curls glistened like molten fire.

Everything about her caught his eye. She was dressed in a long tunic and braies from what he could see, unusual for a lass, but she’d marched down the road with her basket of skins in her arms in a cadence that seemed much more like a man’s than a woman’s.

Purposeful.

Confident.

He’d seen that walk once before.

“Lor?”

The old man next to him was trying to get his attention, but Lor couldn’t take his eyes from the woman as she walked down the dusty avenue. She was weaving in and out among the villagers on this busy market day, and Lor didn’t want to lose sight of her.

He put up a hand to the old man.

“Wait a moment,” he said. “I’ll return.”

He didn’t wait for a reply. Quickly, he headed out into the street while the old blacksmith watched him with some frustration.

“Where are ye going, lad?” he called after him. “If ye dunna come back, I’ll rob ye blind. I’ll tell yer grandfather that it’s yer fault he was cheated out of a good price for his iron!”

The old man meant it as a jest, hoping Lor would return, but the young blacksmith simply waved him off as if he didn’t believe him, which he didn’t. His grandfather, Nikolaus, and old Albe had been doing business since before Lor was born. He didn’t much believe anything the old liars said.

At the moment, he was on the hunt.

The red curls were up ahead, and he followed them like a cat tracking a mouse. There was something about the woman that he remembered from long ago, and as he politely stepped aside to let a woman and her children pass by, it began to occur to him just where he’d seen that hair.

Gleann Deamhain.

The Vale of Demons.

It was difficult to say why an incident from eight years ago suddenly stood out for him. It had been a fleeting moment as far as moments in time went. But it had stayed with him: the young lass who had practically saved him from a band of bloodthirsty cutthroats. Never mind that they were only children; Lor remembered being as afraid of them as if they’d been the mightiest army of men.

Gòrach, they’d called him.

He’d been stupid once, but he wasn’t going to be stupid again.

This time, he was going to be careful.

Lor continued to follow the lass. She finally came to a stop at a merchant who dealt in hides. As he hid back in the crowd, watching, Lor could see the lass holding up the fine pelts she’d brought, negotiating a price with an old man who seemed to be smiling at her too much. At one point, he reached out and pinched her cheek.

She slapped him.

Lor laughed softly.

***

Excerpted from Highland Gladiator by Kathryn Le Veque. © 2020 by Kathryn Le Veque. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

by Jennie Marts

Publication Date: 6/30/2020

The town of Creedence, Colorado, gets involved in horse rescue in bestseller Jennie Marts’ brilliant new series

Zane Taylor has a gift for communicating with animals, particularly horses, but he’s at a loss when it comes to women. He’s a scarred and battered loner who has sworn off love—except he can’t seem to stay away from Bryn Callahan.

Bryn Callahan has a heart for strays, as evidenced by the assembly of abandoned animals that have found their way to her doorstep. But she is through trying to save damaged men. She vows to date only nice guys, which is a category that does not include Zane Taylor. Too bad he’s the one who sets her pulse racing every time she’s around him.

A chance encounter with a horse headed for slaughter brings Zane and Bryn together. Although starting a horse rescue ranch wasn’t in the plan, now Zane and Bryn have a chance to save not just the animals, but maybe each other…

Jennie Marts is the USA Today bestselling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. She is living her own happily ever after with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies, in the mountains of Colorado.

Author Website: https://jenniemarts.com/

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Excerpt:

The still-nameless dog jumped into the cab as Zane Taylor opened the door of his pickup, and he absently patted its head and rubbed behind its ears. The dog leaned into him and got that blissed-out look on its face, and Zane’s tension eased a little as it always did when he interacted with an animal. The late spring sun warmed Zane’s back, and as soon as he turned his attention away from the dog, he felt the weight of the decision he bore on his shoulders. His former boss, Maggie, had been nagging him to come back to his old job on her Montana ranch. She’d taken in a herd of wild stallions, and she needed him. He’d gotten by so far with vague replies, but it was time to give her an answer. Time to get back on the road and out of Creedence. Except the reason he was so fired up to leave was also the reason he wasn’t ready to walk away.

He shrugged the soreness from his shoulders. He’d had a good morning with Rebel, the headstrong black stallion he’d been working with for weeks now. Maybe the horse could feel the warmth in the air as well. Although it was Colorado, so they could still get a snowstorm or two before spring reluctantly slid into summer.

“Nice job today, horse whisperer,” Logan Rivers, his current boss, and friend, hollered from the corral where he was putting another horse through the paces.

Zane waved a hand in his direction, ignoring the comment, as he turned the engine over and pulled the door shut. He wasn’t fond of the nickname, even though Logan had been using it since they were in high school and working summers at Logan’s family’s ranch.

Zane could admit grudgingly that he did have a gift with horses, especially the dangerous or wild ones, somehow connecting with the animals better than he ever did with people.

The black-and-white border collie mix rested her head on Zane’s leg, and he stroked her neck as he drove toward Creedence, where no one was a stranger and everyone knew not just your business, but your cousin’s as well.

He lowered the windows and turned on the radio, contemplating the errands he needed to run after he grabbed a plate of biscuits and gravy at the diner. The thought made his mouth water. So did the thought of hopefully seeing a certain blond waitress who had been taking up way too many of his thoughts these last few months.

He slowed, his brow furrowing, as he recognized that same waitress’s car sitting empty on the side of the road. The car was an old nondescript blue sedan, but there was no mistaking the colorful bumper stickers stuck to the trunk. A bright blue one read “What if the hokey-pokey really is what it’s all about?” and the hot-pink one above the back taillight read “It was me. I let the dogs out.”

His heart rate quickened as his gaze went from the empty vehicle to a hundred yards up the road, where a woman walked along the side of the highway, her ponytail bouncing with each step and a light-colored dog keeping pace at her heels. Which was pretty impressive, in and of itself, since the dog had only three legs.

But then, everything about Bryn Callahan was kind of bouncy, and she was just as impressive as her dog. The woman was always upbeat and positive. Even now, with her car sitting busted on the side of the road, her steps still seemed to spring, and the bright sunlight glinted off her blond hair.

He drove past the abandoned car and onto the dirt shoulder as he slowed to a stop beside her. “Need a ride?”

She turned, her expression wary, then her face broke into a grin, and it was like the sun shining through the clouds after a rainstorm.

“Hey, Zane,” she said, the smile reaching all the way into her voice as she grasped the door handle. She looked steadily into his eyes, her gaze never wavering, never sliding sideways to stare at the three-inch, jagged scar starting at the corner of his eye and slicing down his cheek. Most people couldn’t keep their eyes off it, but Bryn acted as if it wasn’t there at all. “I sure do. I was supposed to start my shift at the diner ten minutes ago.”

She opened the door, and the dog bounded in, hitting the floorboards, then springing onto the seat to wiggle and sniff noses with the border collie. They could have powered a wind farm, the way their tails were wagging and their little butts were shaking.

“Hey, Lucky.” He leaned in as the dog leapt over the collie’s back and into Zane’s lap, where it proceeded to drench his face in fevered licks and puppy kisses. Lucky was like a hyper three-legged Tigger as he bounced from Zane’s lap back to the collie, over to Bryn, and back to Zane.

“Lucky, get off him,” Bryn scolded. She tried to push her way into the truck as she got her own slobbery reception from the collie.

Zane chuckled and grabbed her hand to help her into the cab. But his laugh stuck in his throat as heat shot down his spine and his mouth went dry. He swallowed and tried to focus on assisting her, instead of staring at the area of bare skin he glimpsed as the top of her dress buckled and gaped from her movement. It was just the side of her neck, but it was the exact spot he’d spent too much time thinking about kissing.

Silly mutts.” She laughed as she tossed her backpack on the floor and plopped into the seat. Her hand was soft, but her grip was solid, and for a moment, he wondered what would happen if he didn’t let go. “Wow, what a greeting,” she said, as she released his hand to buckle herself in.

Zane’s eyes were drawn to her legs like bees to honey. The woman had great legs, already tan, and muscular and shapely from her work at the diner. Her white cross-trainers were scuffed with the red dirt from the road, and she had a smudge of dust across one ankle that Zane was severely tempted to reach down and brush away so he could let his fingers linger on her skin.

Bryn wore a pink waitress dress, the kind that zips up the front, with a white collar and a little breast pocket, and the fabric hugged her curvy figure in all the right spots. For just a moment, Zane imagined pulling down that zipper—with his teeth. His back started to sweat just thinking about it.

Simmer down, man. He took a deep breath, utilizing the stress-reducing exercise he’d learned in the military, and tried to think of something witty to say. He didn’t usually let himself get carried away with those kinds of fantasies. But he didn’t usually have Bryn in his truck, filling his cab with the sound of her easy laughter and the scent of her skin—traces of honeysuckle and vanilla and the smell of fresh sheets off the line on a warm summer day.

“That dog is serious about kissing. I haven’t had that much action in months.” He winked, then laughed with her, pulling his hand back to ruffle Lucky’s ears as the dog settled into the seat next to the collie. He tried to play it off like a joke, to settle his pounding heart, when what he really wanted to do was pull her into his lap and kiss her face and throat the way Lucky had done to him. Well, not exactly the same way.

Bryn snorted and scratched the ears of the collie, who was softly whining as she pressed into Bryn’s shoulder. “He’s just happy to see you. It’s been a while, ya know?”

“Yeah, I know.” It had, in fact, been months since he’d seen her.

“Well, Lucky has noticed you haven’t been around much.” She dropped her gaze and her voice as she focused on petting the dog. “We both have.”

Both?

“Are you saying you missed me?”

“I didn’t say missed. I said noticed.”

She playfully nudged his elbow, and he felt the heat of her skin against his arm.

His shoulders slumped. Of course she hadn’t missed him.

“Of course I missed you. You all but disappeared after the great Christmas pie bake-off in December.”

He chuckled as he shook his head. “I still can’t believe we made fifteen pies in four hours.”

“I still can’t believe you wore a frilly apron with a glittery cupcake on the front.”

He raised an eyebrow. “What other kind of cupcake is there? And I liked that glittery color. I’m thinking of having it added to the paint job on my truck.”

A laugh burst from her. “I dare you to.”

He let his voice drop and offered her what he hoped was a flirtatious grin. “I do enjoy a good dare.”

She chuckled, then lowered her gaze to the dog’s shoulder, where she scratched its fur. “So, why didn’t I hear from you? Was it something I said or did?”

Yeah, it was everything you did—everything that made me want and hope and wish for something more. “Nah. I was going to call you, but we got real busy at the ranch. Then I heard you started dating some rough-stock cowboy, and I didn’t want to overstep.”

“Is it overstepping to be my friend?”

He cocked his head, eyeing her. “Is that what you want me to be? Your friend?”

“Of course. I didn’t give you my number for you to not call me.”

Wrong question, dumbass. Should have asked her if all she wanted was to be his friend. He offered her a shrug. “I’m not much of a talker.”

“That’s perfect. Because I can talk up a blue streak, and I’m always on the lookout for a good listener.”

He chuckled. “I can do that. I can probably even throw in an occasional grunt of agreement just so you know I’m paying attention.”

She giggled softly, and the sound swirled in his chest, melting into him like molasses on a warm pancake. “That sounds great.”

*******

Excerpted from Cowboy State of Mind by Jennie Marts. © 2020 by Jennie Marts. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

Sweet Wild of Mine

By: Laurel Kerr

Publication Date: 5/28/2019

SweetWildOfMine_FB

Love runs wild at the Sagebrush Flats Zoo…

In a bid to revitalize his career, bestselling author Magnus Gray has come to Sagebrush Flats to write about the local zoo’s latest rescue—an orphaned baby polar bear. But Magnus dreads the drama of small towns and is bullishly determined to keep to himself.

June Winters is a people person, and delights in welcoming Magnus to Sagebrush Flats, though it seems unlikely she can get the handsome stranger to crack a smile. Then a mishap with an open gate forces Magnus and June to deal with a stampeding flock of fainting goats, an adorable but clingy polar bear cub, a cranky pregnant camel, and two star-crossed honey badgers. Never mind small town drama—the lively animals may just convince these two that opposites really do attract…

Where the Wild Hearts Are Series:

Wild On My Mind (Book 1)

Sweet Wild of Mine (Book 2)

Praise for Wild on My Mind:

“Hilarious…a truly touching contemporary romance about the power of love and family.”—Night Owl Reviews Top Pick

“Clever, fun, and poignant…with wit and heart.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Outstanding…sure to delight.”—Publishers Weekly Starred Review

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RQHsBi

B&N: http://bit.ly/2DyNzVU

Apple: https://apple.co/2SLs11G

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/2I7elKv

BAM: http://bit.ly/2Sv6URV

AUTHOR WEBSITE:

https://laurelkerr.com/

GIVEAWAY

5 Copies of Wild on My Mind

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/54ca7af7762/?

EXCERPT:

A flicker of softness flashed in Magnus’s blue eyes before they froze over again. “I don’t talk about that isle, lass.”

All of June’s carefully constructed arguments blew from her mind as frustrated anger swept through her. The man was as bullheaded as a groundhog after a fresh tomato. “You wrote an entire book about it.”

“It was a purge.”

“A purge?”

“An enema.”

“Did you just call your bestseller an enema?”

“Aye.”

“You are a complicated man, Magnus Gray.”

“Nay. Just a simple bloke who likes peace, quiet, and a good tattie scone.”

Although June fully believed the man liked solitude and Scottish cooking, she didn’t buy his first claim. The reclusive author had depths greater than Loch Ness that hid mysteries even bigger than a fabled sea monster. Although June excelled at charting a person’s personality within minutes of meeting them, she still couldn’t fathom this man.

“Good day.” With that parting salvo, Magnus Gray started to turn and walk away from June for a fourth time in a row. Before he could take one step, however, everything broke loose in the form of cloven-footed critters.

Honey’s nose twitched as she watched the Giant One and the Blond One. She respected the devious spark lurking in the woman’s green eyes. And she’d been monitoring the hulking newcomer since his arrival. Unlike the careless Fluffy, Honey knew how to conceal her presence. The Giant One had no idea she’d stalked him for days.

He intrigued her. He was not like most weak-willed humans who craved the company of their own kind. The Giant One preferred solitude, just like honey badgers.

Since her arrival at the zoo, Honey had been watching for suitable adversaries. Although the young female cougars had the speed and agility to keep her reflexes limber, they lacked foresight and cunning. The grizzly was elderly and slow. And the rest of the animals did not interest her. Unfortunately, the human keepers did not provide the same amusement as her old biped. They were too pleasant.

But these two were different. They reminded Honey of bees, full of energy as they buzzed at each other. Yes, these two could sting if properly motivated.

Honey smiled as she scurried up a pole of the goat pen. With one swift nudge of her nose, she lifted the latch. Hanging on to the gate, she used her body weight to swing it open. The silly goats immediately bolted for the exit.

Honey shimmied back to the ground. The Giant One was busy tripping over the horned creatures, but the Blond One stood upright. As Honey scampered away, she made sure the female spied her. It was time to make her presence known. After all, what was the point of starting a game if her opponent didn’t know she was a player?

Magnus was not sure what had happened. One moment he was arguing with the barmy lass, and the next, he was surrounded by a blasted herd of bleating, screaming goats. He’d just started to pivot away from June when two kids darted between his legs. The blighted things must have mistaken him for some sort of shelter as they twined about his ankles. Caught off-balance, he felt his massive frame sway. He couldn’t right himself without stepping on one of the cloven beasties. And, as much as goats annoyed him, he didn’t wish to crush them under his weight.

Twisting his body, he managed to avoid them, but he ended up crashing to the gravel path with a painful thump. Since Magnus couldn’t use his arms to brace his fall, his back collided with the ground, knocking the wind out of him. As he lay gasping like a landed sea trout, one of the wee devils climbed on his chest while the other started eating his hair. Magnus could only lie there as he tried sucking air back into his lungs.

Suddenly, June appeared in his vision, her blond hair hanging around her face like a golden curtain. For once, mirth didn’t sparkle in her bonny green eyes. To his surprise, real concern shone there instead. If he hadn’t met her already, he’d say she looked like an angel hovering over him.

“Are you okay?” she asked. “You hit the ground pretty hard.”

He would have reassured her, but that would have required oxygen. Her mouth twisted, and she reached down and lifted a bleating goat off his body. That helped, marginally. Using his eyes, he gestured to the one chewing his hair. She removed that one too. “You just breathe easy now, you hear?”

He had no choice but to listen. As he sprawled spread-eagle on the ground, the lass stood guard, a squirming kid under each arm. A couple adult goats tried to clamber on his body, but June shooed them away. It was odd, he thought, having someone watch over him. His da would have called him a muckle nyaff and left him in disgust for tripping over his own feet.

Finally, Magnus could breathe again. He slowly raised himself on his elbows and then almost plopped right back down. The manky goats were all over the path. How had they escaped?

“A honey badger let them out,” June explained.

Magnus swung his gaze toward her in disbelief. A honey badger had caused all this? What would possess the wee beastie to open the pen?

“By its size, I think it was the female, Honey. I saw her darting away just after you fell.”

“Baws.” Magnus finally managed.

“If you’re okay, I’ll go put these two critters back in their home before we get the rest,” June said, lifting the kids in her arms. They bleated loudly in protest. Magnus nodded. As he heaved himself to his feet, June dropped the two bairns back in the paddock.

Sighing heavily, Magnus took after two of the goats. They screamed like banshees and darted away. Magnus swore. He hated chasing the slippery wee devils. Give him a cow or even a pig.

“I don’t think we need to run them down,” June said.

He swung toward her, irritated. He doubted she’d done much farming. “How do you propose we get them back in the pen then, lass?”

She smirked, that gleam back in her green eyes. “Strategy.”

Then, she reached down and grabbed a metal feed bucket hanging from the corner of the pen. She smashed it against the steel gate, the sound ringing sharply through the air. The fainting goats toppled and hopped everywhere, and Magnus had to admit it made corralling them easier.

She grabbed the wee ones, while he hoisted the adults. They had to bang the gate a few more times, but they managed to quickly clear the path of goats. When the last bleating goat was dumped back in its home, Magnus turned to regard his unexpected helper. The cold and the exertion had brought color to June’s cheeks, making her bonnier than ever. She was as fair and delicate as the fae folk in the German tales, and just as devious. And something about her made Magnus wonder what the price of kissing a fairy would be.

Too steep. Much too steep.

***

Excerpted from Sweet Wild of Mine by Laurel Kerr. © 2019 by Erin Laurel O’Brien. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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