Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Club Thursday: Giveaway: Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles

Welcome back to Book Club Thursday! Today we are doing a giveaway! Good luck! 


We are giving away a ebook copy of Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles. We wanted to kick start the holidays off with a good book! 


Briar Creek #1
Sleigh bells, snow, and second chances . . .
Briar Creek’s quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of—for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. But when her father’s death leaves his bookstore empty, Grace must return to face why she fled Vermont in the first place: Luke Hastings, who still heats her up like a shot of smoky whiskey on a cold winter’s night.
Grace is back, and Luke is worried. How much has she changed as a bestselling author in the big city? What memories will she stir up? And was the choice he made five years ago the biggest mistake of his life?
Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it’s time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.




We will be reviewing Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles on December 25th. We hope you join us in talking about it! 

Stop by my fellow Book Club Thursday Bloggers.

Make sure to stop back on November 27th when we will be reviewing Dark Witch by Nora Roberts.

Review & Giveaway: Tall, Dark & Royal by Vanessa Kelly

Tall, Dark & RoyalThe Renegade Royals # 2.5
By: Vanessa Kelly
Releasing November 25th, 2015
Zebra / Kensington


Blurb

He's the man behind the mission to track down the illegitimate children of England's Royal Princes and help them get their due. But his deepest desire is far more personal… Magnificent and stubborn.

Fourteen years apart had not changed Chloe Steele, or Dominic Hunter's love for her. He'd been a street urchin, a boy raised at court, and finally a magistrate, yet he'd never belonged anywhere--except by her side. Now Chloe devoted herself to girls threatened by scandal--like she had been. But she was in danger, and Dominic was determined to help--and hopefully make up for lost time…


Even in childhood, Dominic had made Chloe feel safe. Now she also felt thrillingly flustered by the powerful man he'd become, and by the longing he inspired. Because Dominic meant not only to protect her, but to untangle the lies that had separated them. Yet for Chloe, surrendering to temptation may be easier than risking a future that could ruin them both…


Buy Links

Excerpt
Dominic strode through but came to a sudden halt, his heart jolting at the sight of Chloe reclining on a chaise with a bandage wrapped around her head. Justine Steele, Dominic’s godchild, sat next to her holding a teacup. Lounging in a nearby armchair was Griffin Steele, Chloe’s son and Justine’s husband.
What the hell is going on here?” Dominic snapped. He glared at Griffin, who had a knack for finding or, indeed, creating trouble. “How did your mother get hurt?”
Griffin let out a dramatic sigh as he came to his feet. “You have a lamentable tendency to blame me for everything, Dominic. I had nothing to do with Mother’s, er, little accident.”
Chloe threw aside her lap robe and stood. “Dominic, I’m fine. There’s nothing for you to worry about.”
But when she wobbled, Justine had to make a grab for her. In an instant, Dominic was by Chloe’s side. “For God’s sake, sit down.” He gently lowered her back to the chaise.
Her tall, slender body felt fragile in his hands, as if the merest touch could break her. But appearances were deceptive. For all her pale, delicate beauty, Chloe had a strong will and character that had withstood years of tribulation.
You know the doctor told you to stay off your feet and rest,” Justine affectionately scolded.
I’m not sure how she’s supposed to rest with you lot fussing over her,” Griffin said. “Hill has been popping in and out like a character from a farce, not to mention all the girls sneaking in. It’s a bloody circus.”
Justine frowned at her husband. “They’re worried about Chloe.”
Dominic throttled back his impulse to snap. “I would be most grateful if someone—anyone—would answer my question. Wait,” he said to Justine. “First, tell me what the physician said.”
Perhaps you might try asking Chloe, Sir Dominic,” Chloe said with pointed courtesy. “As you can see, she is perfectly capable of speech.”
Dominic mentally winced. Chloe only used his title when annoyed with him. “I’m sorry, my dear. But it was a shock to come upon you looking like you’d been set upon by thieves.”
Thankfully, she flashed him a wry, forgiving smile. “Apology accepted.” She shifted her legs and patted the seat of the chaise. “Sit down and let Justine get you a cup of tea while I’ll tell you all about it. Not that I wanted you to drag you into this ridiculous and unfortunate episode, but my son insisted. Who knew Griffin could fuss and worry as much as any old maid?”
Her son—one of the most ruthless and powerful men in London—rolled his eyes but declined to defend himself.
What happened to your head?” Dominic eyed the bandage wrapped around her brow.
I bumped it, that’s all,” Chloe replied. “The doctor insisted I wear this silly thing and my son won’t let me take it off.”
Griffin narrowed his dark gaze on his mother. “You didn’t bump your head. It was bumped for you when that bloody bastard shoved you into the wall. And you will keep that bandage on for as long as is required.”
Dominic had been reaching to accept a cup from Justine, but his hand froze in mid-air. Slowly, he turned to Chloe. “Someone shoved you?”
Chloe’s shoulders unconsciously hiked up a notch. “Yes, but it wasn’t a very hard shove. Truly, I’m fine.”
Dominic could hear Griffin grinding his teeth from several feet away. He sympathized, but the situation was confusing enough without him losing his temper, at least not until he’d apprised himself of the facts.
But once he tracked down the man who had dared to touch Chloe, the bastard would rue the day he was born.



Author Info
Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.


Author Links


Review

I will admit that this is the first time I've ever read a book by Vanessa Kelly. I've often seen them, but really hadn't tried her. I'm glad I did! I really enjoyed Tall, Dark & Royal. I found it to be well-written, with characters I really liked. Even though its only a novella the story is full of suspense and romance, what else could you ask for in a story. If you haven't yet tried her this is the perfect book to do so. Happy reading! 



Book Blitz/Guest Post & Giveaway: Heating It Up by Various Authors~~ Visiting author, Tara Kingston

Love Across the Ages...Seven best-selling and award-winning authors bring readers historical romantic adventures set in Medieval Scotland, Regency England, Civil War America, the Wild West, and Gilded Age America. We’re Heating It Up one hero at a time with Scottish Highlanders, Regency Rakes, Civil War Spies, Mountain Men & Sexy Smugglers.

This LIMITED EDITION BOXED SET contains seven sensual, full-length novels.

NIGHT STORM by Tracey Devlyn
A promising young apothecary picks up the pieces of her life, only to collide with the ruthless thief-taker who once shattered her dreams and her heart.

RAFE'S REDEMPTION by Jennifer Jakes
He rode into town to buy supplies, not a woman…

SECRETS, SPIES & SWEET LITTLE LIES by Tara Kingston
A heart's destiny cannot be denied when a daring Union spy abducts a beautiful runaway bride he suspects of being a traitor.

THE HIGHLANDER'S TEMPTATION by Eliza Knight
A warrior on a mission is tempted by an alluring lass, and though she's been forbidden she'll break every rule for the pleasure of his
intoxicating kiss.

CAMERON by Lane McFarland
To heal a warrior’s heart takes patience. But to resist a warrior’s
heart takes fortitude.

THE CAPTAIN'S TEMPTRESS by Averil Reisman
Blackmailing her way onto a ship of gunrunners bound for the Caribbean, Samantha Etheridge proves to be more than a mere opportunistic reporter to Captain Sean Nolan--perhaps even a first mate.

A ROGUE'S DEADLY REDEMPTION by Jeannie Ruesch
Proving his worth to the woman he loves might cost them both their lives.

Purchase Links



Excerpt

SECRETS, SPIES & SWEET LITTLE LIES - Tara Kingston

In this scene from Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies, the heroine binds her captor’s wound—an injury he sustained during her abduction. Driven by compassion as well as the realization that the woods surrounding his forest hideaway present dangers she’s never encountered in the city, she tends Cole’s wound, only to experience an unexpected touch of tenderness at the hands of a man she regards as an enemy.

Now, please remove your shirt.”
I understand,” he said, the humor ebbing from his tone as he unfastened the closures on the four-button placket. He pulled the garment over his head, then draped it on the back of a chair.
Her mouth went dry.
From his powerful shoulders to the flat planes of his abdomen, her captor was all lean muscle and bronzed skin. Copper-tinged brown hair dusted his broad chest, tapering to a line that disappeared beneath his trousers. A scar the size of a dollar coin marked the flesh directly beneath his collarbone. A bullet wound, most likely. But he’d survived. He was a fighter.
Gingerly pressing her fingers to his skin, she examined the wound. He tensed beneath her touch. Invisible claws dug into her belly, piercing deeper as he sucked in a ragged breath.
Blood flowed from an uneven gash in his upper arm, staining his skin from shoulder to elbow. The bullet had not become embedded. The punishing claws eased their grip on her insides.
He seemed to read her expression. “I got lucky this time. I told you it was a flesh wound. I know what it feels like when a slug enters you.”
The image of a bullet tearing into his body startled her with sickening intensity. She pushed the thought far to the back of her mind and glanced around the cabin. “I need a knife.”
A glint of humor returned to Cole’s eyes. “Going to finish the job?”
I need to fashion a bandage. The cloth you used on your arm isn’t at all suitable.”
I’d planned to gag you with that rag if you started to scream.” His brows lifted. “Still intend to act as my nurse?”
The revelation doused any sympathy. Still, she couldn’t have his strength depleted. If a bear happened by, she might need Cole to defend her, at least until she could retrieve her gun.
Unfortunately, that changes nothing.” She extended her hand, palm up. “A knife, please. Surely you have one on your person.”
What self-respecting desperado would be caught without one?” He pulled a folding knife from his pocket.
Flashing a scowl, she took the knife in hand and got to work. Wasting no time on modesty, she hiked her outer skirt to expose her corded petticoat.
His hooded eyes watched with masculine interest. “This almost makes it worth getting shot.”
Ignoring him, she sliced the bottom of her petticoat into strips, then poured water into a basin and saturated a few pieces of fabric. “The wound needs to be cleaned. Where is your soap?”
He nodded toward a canvas bag he’d dropped at the entrance of the cabin. She rummaged in the bag until she found a cake of lye soap, then cleaned and dried the gash.
Emma tore another strip from her petticoat. “Extend your arm.” she said. With any luck, he wouldn’t notice her hands’ slight trembling.
He complied with her instruction, stretching his arm out and holding it steady while she wrapped the wound.
His skin was slightly rough beneath her fingertips while the densely packed muscle was warm and taut with restrained power. She’d never looked at a man before, not like this, and now she stood so close, touching him as her pulse thundered in her ears. Her behavior was scandalous, but she had no choice. His wound had to be tended, and necessity dictated she sacrifice at least a bit of her modesty.
Finished.”
Strangely quiet, he pulled on his shirt. Had her unladylike behavior taken him aback? Her aunt was right. Even a desperado would find her actions shocking.
But when he looked at her, he regarded her with a look of respect. For the briefest of moments, it was easy to forget he was a man she should fear.
You’re a surprising woman. I hadn’t expected such…resourcefulness.”
Steadying her hands, Emma smoothed her skirt back into place. Now that she’d finished the task, the intimacy of their contact flooded over her. His skin felt so warm, and he smelled clean and healthy and…male. Her thoughts wandered to the crisp dark curls on his chest. Would the texture match the slight coarseness of the hair sprinkled over his forearms?
He took her hand, silently examining her fingers. “It’s my turn,” he said after a long moment.
What do you mean?”
You’re bleeding. You must have cut yourself when you attacked your petticoat.”
Emma blinked. Crimson surrounded the tip of her index finger. She hadn’t even felt the knife slice into her.
He released her and went to the wash basin. After replacing its contents with fresh water from the pitcher, he moistened a few strips of fabric she’d cut from her petticoat and came back to where she stood.
His forehead furrowed as he cupped his hand around hers. Awareness of his touch rippled through her. No trace of brutality there. Only gentleness. She had no words to describe it. If he had been any other man, she would have thought his actions tender, but the notion was ridiculous. The man was her captor, not her lover.
She jerked away. He frowned. Did he think he’d hurt her? But then, he took her hand again. Brushing his thumb over her palm in a circular motion, he moved slowly, deliberately.
Relax, Miss Davenport. Let me take care of you.”

Romancing the Readers would like to thank Tara Kingston for stopping by! 

Author Extras

  1. What do you love about the era(s) in which you write?
I am drawn to the Victorian era, an exciting time of great social, technological and scientific progress. Women were tearing down boundaries and restrictions on their education and lifestyles, while advances in industry and professions enabled men to establish themselves in society despite their status at birth. The Victorian era was a time of great change and passion, and I love the possibilities for bringing together a powerful man and a strong woman who can stand toe-to-toe with him, discovering the love that will enrich their lives and make them both even stronger as individuals.

During the Victorian era, the Civil War years were a time of great upheaval and turmoil in America. I love writing books set against the backdrop of the Civil War because there was so much intrigue and passion during this conflict. Petticoat spies used seduction as a weapon, and espionage and technology innovations were crucial to both sides. The potential for conflict and passion between heroes and heroines is so rich in stories set during the Civil War, it’s one of my favorite eras for historical romance.

  1. What one thing can readers expect from your books?
My readers can count on a love story that takes the hero and heroine on a sensuous and romantic adventure of the heart—danger, intrigue, and a pinch of humor blend in a passionate romance.




Author Bio
Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern Navy brat transplanted to a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives her own love story with her real-life hero in a cozy Victorian. The mother of two sons, Tara’s a former librarian whose love of books is evident in her popping-at-the-seams bookcases and collection of unusual bookmarks. It goes without saying that Tara’s husband is thankful for the invention of digital books, thereby eliminating the need for yet another bookcase.
When she’s not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys cycling, hiking, and cheering on her favorite football team. Learn more about Tara at www.tarakingston.com.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: Little While Lies by R C Matthews

Little White Lies
By: R.C. Matthews
Releasing March 24th, 2014
Crimson Romance


Blurb
When attorney Madalyn Russell dumps her fiancé at the altar, she temporarily escapes the scrutiny of her friends and family on her honeymoon cruise. Too bad she forgot she is assigned to dine at the “newlywed” table on the fully booked cruise. Goodbye exquisite cuisine, hello standard buffet fare. Nothing will tempt her to enter that lion’s den. Or so she thinks.

When the board of directors orders devilishly handsome Royce Spencer to seek rest alone on a cruise, he sets his sights on Madalyn and offers a deliciously indecent proposal to her dining room dilemma. He’ll pose as her husband in exchange for companionship during the cruise. Royce is a gifted liar with a great sense of humor that has everyone at the newlywed table laughing and no one suspecting the truth.Is the opportunity to enjoy all the ship has to offer worth the little white lies they'll have to tell? What is it about Royce that makes Madalyn want to engage in a fling at the age of thirty for the first time in her life and toss her tightly held beliefs overboard?

The whirlwind love affair catches them both by surprise. Is it possible that in the midst of all the little white lies, they will each discover their soul mate? And when Royce is accused of white-collar crime with Madalyn as his key witness, will Madalyn finally learn that life is not always as black and white as it seems?



Buy Links


Romancing the Readers would like to welcome and thank R C Matthews from stopping by! 


Little White Lies: Letting Go of Inhibitions
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman on vacation, will at one time or another let go of her inhibitions. [Okay, forgive me, but I had to use that famous opening line from Jane Austen once in my lifetime.]
I’m a firm believer in that truth and have many of my own experiences to draw from. Come on…admit it…you’ve let go of your inhibitions on vacation, too. I know you have. It’s one of the greatest benefits of going on vacation.
This is exactly what the heroine of my debut contemporary novel, Little White Lies, does for an entire week while on her honeymoon cruise – sans fiancé, who she dumped at the altar. When the sexy man in the stateroom next to hers, Royce Spencer, offers to stand in as Madalyn Russell’s husband for the week-long cruise, so that Madalyn can enjoy the dining room experience at the Newlywed table, she accepts his offer…and all the benefits that go along with being married to an irresistible man.
Can you imagine one full week of enjoying yourself to the fullest, not once worrying about what others will think of you, and making decisions purely on instinct – without a single thought to consequences? Let me tell you, it’s one hell of a ride and so much fun to tag along.
I wanted both Madalyn and Royce to jump in with both feet and have a great time for the entire cruise – no looking back – no looking forward – just living for today.
Some people might say the situation is unrealistic or too far-fetched. Guess I’m not one of them, because if I was alone on a cruise and had the opportunity to spend it with a hunk, I would sign on the dotted line in a heartbeat. Why not enjoy myself to the fullest if I spent thousands of dollars to be on vacation? And even if you wouldn’t do it in real life, but you secretly want to do it – then go ahead and suspend your belief and join Madalyn and Royce on a wild roller-coaster ride.
What I love most about this story is the fact that these two are tangled in a web of Little White Lies they have to tell in order to keep up their charade, so it becomes almost impossible to tell what is real and what is not. Their attraction is sizzling. Their sex hot. And they genuinely have fun together. But is Royce developing real feelings for Madalyn? Or is he only making good on his promise on the first day to ‘rock her world’?
Little White Lies is told 100% from Madalyn’s perspective, so we don’t really know what’s going on in Royce’s head, which is exactly how I wanted it. Madalyn is on a journey of self-discovery. She is learning to let go of her black and white thinking, how to live a little, and just let go. The events which unfold after Madalyn and Royce return to their normal daily lives put her newfound sense of adventure, and willingness to see things through another lens, to the test.
If you’re looking to escape from life for a few hours and simply have a great time, then I hope you’ll join Royce and Madalyn in their whirlwind love affair in Little White Lies by R.C. Matthews.



Author Info

R.C. Matthews was raised along with four siblings in the Metro Detroit area by deaf parents. In her senior year of high school, she joined the Year Book class and wrote many of the feature stories. She graduated from a liberal arts college with a B.A. in Accounting and German and continues to work as a certified public accountant. She lived for four years in Germany and two years in Boston, MA. She is a mother to two sons and stepmother to one stepson. Her husband patiently indulges her in her writing obsession. She enjoys traveling with her family and has been on four cruises in her lifetime. She also loves to read, down-hill ski, and play board games with her family.


Author Links


Cover Reveal: Four Days by Dannika Dark

Four Days
(Seven Series, Book #4)
By Dannika Dark

Blurb:
Ivy believes every life must have balance, and during the past year, she’s found harmony living with the Weston pack. When an evil spirit from her past threatens her wolf, it sets off a chain reaction of events that alters the course of her destiny.

Lorenzo Church is a powerful, wealthy Packmaster who rules his pack through intimidation and order. He has vowed to never love a woman because love can destroy an empire. But chaos is fast approaching in the form of a Shifter named Ivy—a Native American, like him, who has invaded his dreams since the moment they met. She is spirited, wise, and unattainable.

In an unexpected turn of events, Ivy must choose whether or not to let go of the one person she has always loved. Lorenzo discovers the root of her courage but will never win her as his mate unless he learns to listen to his heart.



Release Date:
December 16, 2014


Excerpt


“Call me Enzo.”

I turned to look at him and his eyes fell to my lips. “It’s not respectful to address a Packmaster so informally.”

He pinched his chin thoughtfully. “Only business associates call me Church.”

“Then I’ll call you Lorenzo.”

Lorenzo reached over and gently tugged the end of my braid. “Is something wrong with Enzo?”

“Do you want to be compared to a flashy piece of machinery that’s fast, loud, and unattainable?”

He put his hands back on the wheel and throttled the engine. “I can be compared to anything with stamina.”

“Mechanical things require too much attention to keep going on their own. How much attention do you require?”

“Sweet Ivy, what a wicked tongue you have.”




The Seven Series



About the Author


This is the segment where you learn a little more about who I am, so here's what I can tell you:  I drink copious amounts of vitamin water placed precariously close to my laptop while writing. These are two healthy habits I have no intention of breaking. I'm a transplant living in the south, but I was born in the 70's to a military dad who moved us around the world.

When I'm not writing (which is all the time), I'm hunting down Indie music, watching movies, reading, eating Tex-Mex, discovering new ways to humiliate myself bowling, and burning up my laptop battery on the Internet. I have a relaxed, easy-going personality and don't like drama. I live with a cat who thinks she is a dog, or a goat (she eats plastic, so I'm not sure which).

Throughout my life, I've had insomnia. Counting sheep never worked and eventually I would imagine those sheep were the sole source of food after an apocalyptic battle where only thousands survived. I made up stories in a futile attempt to bore myself to sleep. The problem was, I got so wrapped up in my "head stories" that I would continue them through the following nights, changing it up each time to make it more exciting. Eventually, I started writing my ideas down - creating short stories, and then I discovered my love for poetry.

It's almost embarrassing how many spiral notebooks and stacks of paper I have of poetry and lyrics.

Another passion: digital art. I design all my book covers, marketing, and series art. I'm a very visual person and pursued photography as an avid hobby for many years.

I am not a YA author (I feel like I have to state this only because I've had a few people ask), but I think it's wonderful there are so many books available to teens in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal.

I am finally doing what I have always wanted to do: giving my characters a pulse through writing full time. I focus on adult urban fantasy romance, but I don't like labels and I enjoy blending genres to break out of the confines of predictability.

But it's what I love to do.

Danni

You can stalk, I mean find Dannika here: 

            





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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Release Day: The Laws of Seduction by Gwen Jones

The Laws of Seduction
by
Gwen Jones


Description
 When Rex Renaud, the COO of Mercier Shipping, is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, he knows he’ll need a miracle to clear his name…and feminist lawyer, Charlotte Andreko, is the perfect woman for the job.

Charlotte has built her career defending pro-bono clients against womanizers like Rex Renaud, and she’d much rather let him sweat it out in a jail cell then defend him in court. Yet Rex swears he’s been set up, and when he offers her a shocking sum of money in exchange for her legal counsel, the financial security is too tempting to resist. The court dubs Rex a serious flight risk-how many people have their own jet?-and he’s released on one condition: Charlotte’s his new jailer and he’s stuck with her until his arraignment.

But when a violent threat sends Rex and Charlotte on the run, neither is prepared for the explosive chemistry and red-hot passion that flares between them as they hunt for the truth about his arrest.


Chapter One
Alpha Nailed
Center City District Police Headquarters
Philadelphia
Monday, September 29
11:35 p.m.

In her fifteen years as an attorney Charlotte had never let anyone throw her off her game, and she wasn’t about to let it happen now.
So why was she shaking in her Louboutins?
“Put your briefcase and purse on the belt, keys in the tray, and step through,” the officer said, waving her into the metal detector.
She complied, cold washing through her as the gate behind her clanged shut. She glanced over her shoulder, thinking how much better she liked it when her interpretation of bar remained singular.
“Name . . . ?” asked the other cop at the desk.
“Charlotte Andreko.”
He ran down the list, checking her off, then held out his hand, waggling it. “Photo ID and attorney card.”
She grabbed her purse from the other side of the metal detector and dug into it, producing both. After the officer examined them he sat back with a smirk. “So you’re here for that Frenchie dude, huh? What’s he—some kinda big deal?”
She eyed him coolly, hefting her briefcase from the belt. “They’re all just clients to me.”
“That so.” He dropped his gaze, fingering her IDs. “How come he don’t have to sit in a cell? Why’d he get a private room?”
Why are you scoping my legs, you big douche? “It’s your jail. Why’d you give him one?”
He cocked a brow. “You’re pretty sassy, ain’t you?”
“And you’re wasting my time,” she said, swiping back her IDs. God, times like these I really hate men. “Are you going to let me through or what?”
He didn’t answer. He just leered at her with that simpering grin as he handed her a visitor’s badge, reaching back to open the next gate. “Thank you.” She clipped it on, following the other cop to one more door at the other side of a vestibule.
“It’s late,” the officer said, pressing a code into a keypad, “so we can’t give you much time.”
“I won’t need much.” After all, how long would it take to say, No fucking way.
“Then just ring the buzzer by the door when you’re ready to leave.” When he opened it and she stepped in, her breath immediately caught at the sight of the man behind it. She clutched her briefcase, so tightly she could feel the blood rushing from her fingers.
Bonsoir, Mademoiselle Andreko,” Rex Renaud said.
Even with his large body cramped behind a metal table, the Mercier Shipping COO never looked more imposing, and in spite of his circumstances, never more elegant. The last time they met it’d been in Boston, negotiating the separation terms of his company’s lone female captain, Dani Lloyd, who had recently become Marcel Mercier’s wife. But with his cashmere Kiton bespoke now replaced by Gucci black tie, he struck an odd contrast in that concrete room, yet still exuding a coiled and barely contained strength. He folded his arms across his chest as his black eyes fixed on hers, Charlotte getting the distinct impression he more or less regarded her as cornered prey.
All at once the door behind her slammed shut and her heart beat so violently she nearly called the officer back. Instead she planted her heels and forced herself to focus, staring the Frenchman down. “All right, I’m here,” she said en français. “Not that I know why.”
J’ai oublié que tu avez parlé ma langue,” he said. “But we’ll keep to English so there’s no mistaking my meaning.” His immaculate patent-leather shoe nudged the chair opposite. “Have a seat, s’il vous plaît.” He tsked. “I mean—please,” he added, smiling brilliantly.
If there was anything she remembered about Rex Renaud—which was nearly everything because he wasn’t easy to forget—it was how lethally he wielded his physicality. How he worked those inky eyes, jet-black hair, and Greek-statue handsomeness into a kind of immobilizing presence, leaving her weak in the knees every time his gaze locked on hers. Which meant she needed to work twice as hard to keep her wits sharp enough to match his, as no way would she allow him the upper hand. Yet even though he was in jail, even with him jammed behind that metal table, and herself looming over him, it was still a battle. Because with every advantage on her side he still dominated the room, the situation, the very airspace between them, so much so that Charlotte had to curl her hand around the back of the chair to steady herself.
Too much coffee today, she reasoned. That’s all it is. Even though she knew that didn’t even figure.
He nudged the chair again, his collar opened where his bow tie had been, his only concession to the situation. “Please sit. You heard the flic. We haven’t much time.”
“We haven’t any time at all.” She steeled herself. “It’s not like we have anything to discuss.”
Non?” His gaze offered her a challenge. “Then why did you come?”
She smiled, with delicious, malicious intent. She waited a long time to wound him—and all men like him who dismissed women so easily—and as swiftly and as deeply as she could. “Maybe for the pleasure of seeing you behind bars.”
“Really,” he said, his eyes darkening as he drew closer. “Though the idea of pleasuring you does hold a certain appeal.”
Heat streaked through her as she slammed her briefcase atop the table. “Then take a good look, because my watching you rot in here is about as close as you’ll ever be to getting me off.”
He sat back, amused. “The lady finds her bliss in the strangest places. Though if watching people in pain is your thing, I am acquainted with a few gentlemen who’d pay you a nice piece of change to put all that aggression to use.” He cast her a glance that near stripped the clothes from her body. “I believe all you’ll need is a good deal of leather and some rather kinky boots.”
Her jaw dropped. “Are you—you—”
She waved her hand in front of her.
“Me? Why non. I do like a bit of spark in my women, but I always prefer it on top.” His eyes hooded. “Metaphorically speaking, that is.”
“You bastard piece of shit,” she uttered, pressing her knuckles to the worn steel. “I had to be out of my mind to come here when it’s clear you’re guilty of everything you’re accused of.”
“And what’s that?” he said, rising. “I’d love to hear it out of your mouth.”
“Of sexual assault,” she spit out. “Of everything vile and sick and violent that men and their disgusting appetites are capable.”
“Oh, how right you are, mon amie. How truly loathsome we are. Repulsive animals.” He leaned in, so closely she could feel his breath on her cheek, his eyes malevolent and cold. “Men are indeed beasts, always stooping to the lowest common denominator. Using brutality to get what they want, pugnacious and vicious to the end. Unlike women, who’ve crawled out of the swamp and up the evolutionary ladder to become so much more ruthlessly efficient. Who needs fists when you have feminine wiles?” He leaned in even closer. “Why shed blood when you can suck out a man’s soul.”
“What do you want from me?” she said, backing away. “Why would you ask me to defend you, knowing what I think of men like you?”
“Because I believe you’ll want to,” he said, his eyes bleeding candor and reason and some indefinable quality she found, God help her, unable to resist. “After you hear what I have to say.”




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GWEN JONES, is an MFA, HEA addict, politics geek, and part-time native of the Jersey Shore. She lives with her husband, Frank, and the absolute cutest cats in the world, Gracie and Tommy, near Trenton, New Jersey.

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Excerpt & Giveaway: Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

Never Judge a Lady by Her CoverThe Rules of Scoundrels # 4
By: Sarah MacLean
Releasing November 25th, 2014
Avon Romance

Blurb
By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking-in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered...until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear...including her heart.



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Excerpt
Lady Georgiana Pearson—who barely claimed the honorific and barely deserved the descriptor—was thrilled with her ruination, and had been for years. It had, after all, made her rich and powerful, the owner of The Fallen Angel, London’s most scandalous and most popular gaming hell, and the most feared person in Britain … the mysterious “gentleman” known only as Chase.
It was of little consequence that she was, in fact, female.
So, yes, Georgiana believed that the heavens had smiled upon her that day a decade prior when her fate had been forged. Her exile from Society, for better or worse, meant a dearth of invitations to balls, teas, picnics, and assorted events, which, in turn, eliminated the necessity for battalions of chaperones, inane conversation over tepid lemonade, and pretending to show interest in the holy trinity of aristocratic female conversation—mindless gossip, modern fashion, and marriageable gentlemen.
She had little interest in gossip, as it was rarely the truth and never the whole truth. She preferred secrets, offered by powerful men who had scandal to trade.
Similarly, she had little interest in fashion. Skirts were too often taken as a mark of feminine weakness, relegating ladies to doing little but smooth them and less refined females to doing little but lift them. When on the floor of her gaming hell, she hid in plain sight inside the brightly colored silks that costumed London’s most skilled prostitutes, but in all other places, she preferred the freedom of trousers.
And she had no interest in gentlemen, caring not a bit if they were handsome, clever, or titled as long as they had money to lose. For years, she had laughed at the eligible gentlemen who had been marked for marriage by the women of London, their names listed in the betting book at The Fallen Angel—their future wives speculated upon, their wedding dates predicted, their progeny forecasted. She’d watched London’s bachelors from the owners’ suite at her casino—each more rich, handsome, and well-bred than the last—as they were felled, shackled, and married.
And she’d thanked her maker that she hadn’t been forced into the silly charade, forced to care, forced to marry.
No, Lady Georgiana Pearson, ruined at the tender age of sixteen—now a decade-old warning for all jewels of the ton who had followed her—had learned her lesson about men early, and blessedly escaped any expectation of the parson’s noose.
Until now.



Author Info
Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at
www.macleanspace.com


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