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Saturday, February 17, 2018

One Night in Havana by Kathleen Rowland πŸ’• Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Erotic Romantic Suspense)



A desperate competition and sizzling attraction leads to dangerous desire.

New York Marine biologist Veronica “Roni” Keane is attending the Havana Bay Conference in Cuba. Tomorrow only one grant will be awarded which will provide the winner with professional recognition, resources for a project, and living expenses for two years. She hopes to continue her deceased father’s work, but smooth operator, Carlos Montoya, has won many grants in the past.

Carlos, a freelancer for the Havana Port Authority, works to help protect Havana’s reputation as a bastion of safety. As international travelers flock to the island, attracted by its 1950’s time-warp and colonial architecture, the drug business is running rampant, particularly on Roni’s cruise ship. Something’s not right, and when her scuba tanks are tampered with, Carlos brings in the military police to investigate. For her safety, he keeps her close, but he craves her body.

Their attraction leads to a fun night with a bit of kink. But Roni finds herself in more trouble than she bargained for when the criminals blame her for alerting the military police and come looking for her. Can Roni trust Carlos to protect her? Will she stay in Havana if Carlos wins the coveted grant, or kiss her lover goodbye?


-- Chapter One
“Why, Veronica Keane.” A voice heavy with a Spanish accent drawled from behind her. “A dive bar?” A taunting tsk. “What do we have? A slumming New Yorker?”
She stiffened and closed her eyes. She knew that voice and its owner, Dr. Carlos Montoya, a finalist like her, competing for the same damn grant at the biggest Cephalopoda conference of the decade. Her heart pitter-pattered against her ribs. To turn toward him would intimate distress, or worse yet, weakness. She wouldn’t fail to win this grant, not when she was a final contender. “I like this funky little place.” Sia Macario CafΓ©, smack in the center of Havana, allowed her to observe locals and their daily lives.
“You need to eat with all the mojitos you’ve downed.” The big tease wasn’t counting. This was her first drink, but his rumbling, sexy timbre hinted at all kinds of dark, hot promises. She’d rubbed shoulders with the Cuban scientist all week. This splendid specimen of Latin male brought on a physical ache that punched low.
A flare-up stirred fear. For her own good, she needed to resist. “I ordered camarones enchiladas.” By now she knew the menu on the chalkboard by heart. She tipped her head back to whiff grilled shrimp soon to arrive in sofrito sauce with fried sweet plantains.
“The flan is good. Just like my abuela makes.”
“I bet. Your grandmother would be happy to hear that,” she said, knowing he brought out the best in most people. Two days ago he'd invited her and a handful of others scuba diving. The chance to ogle him had been one of the perks. He’d worn nothing but swim trunks, his bare chest on display. Every glistening muscle was finely etched. Not a drop of fat on him. Since he’d not given her the time of day, she’d checked him out without him noticing.
The hard-bodied host had led the way toward habitats of soft-bodied creatures. To find where invertebrates lived was never an easy task. Octopuses squeezed into narrow passages of coral for protection and gave females a place to keep their eggs. She’d discovered the remains of a few meals nearby.Octopuses scattered rocks and shells to help them hide.
This grant meant so much to her and no doubt to him as well. Veronica mindlessly toyed with the gold necklace around her neck, but anxiety crackled through her brain. Unlike this man of action, she lacked the flamboyant personality necessary to talk people into things. Carlos had that ability. He'd made friends with judges on board while she’d conversed with an older woman about a box of scones made with Cuban vanilla cream.
That day the wind had picked up to a gale force, and this woman named Bela with Lucille Ball red hair needed help walking to her home. The half mile down the seaside promenade, The MalecΓ³n, had provided her with time to practice her Spanish. Turned out Bela was Carlos’s grandmother. She’d worked as a maid when the Castro government came to power. When private homes were nationalized, titles were handed over to the dwelling occupants. Bela owned a crumbling home in the respected Verdado district and rented out rooms.
What Veronica detested about Carlos was his abnormal level of talent for schmoozing. Not that he wasn't charismatic; he drew her like a powerful magnet with emotions hard to untangle. Why was a self-assured woman who ran her own life thinking about a man who commanded everyone around him?
She inhaled a breath and turned around on the barstool, caught fast by a gut punch of Carlos Montoya in the flesh. She sighed and surrendered to the tendrils of want sliding up between her thighs.
Tall and muscular, his lush dark hair curled to his collar giving him a wild, roguish appearance. His face was lean and chiseled. His mouth full and tempting. His eyes the smoky-gray of a grass fire and fringed with black lashes as dense as paintbrushes. He smiled. A faint hint of mockery curved his mouth, a sensual mouth she imagined to be either inviting or cruel. Or both at the same time when he leaned over a woman with a diamond-hard gleam in his dark eyes while she drowned with pleasure. She fought a fierce desire to run her hand across his broad chest, tip her face upward, and…
His breath tickled her face.
Not going there. She blinked and forced her mind to focus. Carlos Montoya was not the kind of man you lost focus around. But that image of putting her mouth full on his and peeling away his shirt once introduced in her mind was impossible to expunge. Pointless even to try.
He was an intimidating blend of intellect and sexy danger. Both qualities had her leaning back against the bar’s edge. If it weren’t for him, she’d have a chance at winning the grant.
His lips twitched. “You’re staying on one of the cruise ships, am I right?” He rolled up the sleeves of his linen jacket to reveal a dusting of manly hair.
”Yes." Her cabin served as her hotel room while attending the January meetings with perfect high-seventies temperatures. His eyes locked with hers. She willed herself to move and yet she remained seated, clutching heat between her legs, a wetness so intense that her breath stalled in her chest while her heart hammered faster. Soon she’d return to freezing New York City.
“So, Bonita, give.” He slid onto the bar stool next to her. “What brings you down from a lofty ship to grace us lowly Cubans with your presence?”
Bonita. Pretty lady was not an endearment coming from the mouth curved in a taunting smile, but not a slight either. Not with his deep, melodic voice speaking words as if he knew secrets about her. What secrets did he know? Would he pry into her personal life? She doubted this bad-boy college professor acknowledged boundaries.
“Just drinks and dinner.” She scrambled for composure. “Aren’t we attending a world-class conference? I find the local population to be friendly and kind. That’s not slumming.”
The bartender set down a saoco. “Hope you like it, senorita.”
“Gracias,” she said. “Very nice, served in a coconut.”
“Ah, the saoco,” Carlos said. “Rum, lime juice, sugar, and ice. The saoco,” he repeated, disbelief heavy in his words. “Um. Wow. Once used as a tonic for prisoners of the revolution.”
“Medicinal?” She couldn’t help it. She chuckled and sounded as if a rusty spoon had scraped her throat raw, but it was genuine. The warm glow in its wake was welcome and needed. .
He leaned an elbow on the bar, his beer bottle with the green-and-red Cristal label dangling between his fingers. “Be careful with that one.” He dipped his head toward the front door as if he needed to go somewhere soon.
That fast, the glow snuffed out. She cleared her throat and gripped the fuzzy surface of the coconut container.
He placed a five-peso coin with a brass plug on the counter and whirled it. The spinning motion mirrored a dizzying attraction going on in low parts of her belly.
She cleared her wayward mind and nodded toward artwork on the opposite wall. “I plan to buy a painting tonight.”
“Don’t buy anything unless the seller gives you a certificate. You’ll need one to take art from Cuba. Artists deal in euros in case you don’t have pesos.”
She’d come prepared but said, “Thanks for the info.”
His coal-black eyes widened as he gazed from her head down to the tiny straps around her ankles as if she wore high heels and nothing else. “You give off a Barbie doll image,” he replied and stood up.
“Huh?”
“Where’s Ken, anyway? Kenneth Morton. He came with you to the talks in Antarctica. Five years ago.” He grinned, and the mortification in her belly gave way to a longing which she had no business feeling toward her competitor.
“Ken and I broke up.” She hesitated for a moment. “You have a gift for remembering names. Like a salesman.”
“A person’s name is, to that person, the most important and sweetest sound. Back then I introduced myself to Ken in the men’s room.”
“I remember now. Didn’t you give a talk on a specialized pigment in the octopus?”
“Ahh, si.” He splayed his fingers over his chest. “A pigment in their blood is—”
“—called hemocyanin. Turns their blood blue and helps them survive subfreezing temperatures. Were you awarded something?”
“The antifreeze protein grant? No. It went to a deep-diving photographer. He wasn’t chicken about getting lost or trapped under the ice.”
She slid from her stool and strutted around, jutting her chin in and out like a chicken. “Bock, bock, bock, bock, bock, begowwwwk.”
He chuckled. “Cute chicken dance. Very cute in that skimpy black dress.”
Her cheeks heated, and she clutched her necklace. He’d seen plenty of women in body-fitting attire. In Cuba, women wore dresses to meetings. If she'd harnessed sexier mojo, she’d have livened up presentations. Her presentations with an abundance of dull data went south. She slid back against her stool and clutched her purse to her stomach as if the small satin bag could calm the nerves playing deep down kickball. She belonged in her tidy New York office filled with computers, modems, and research manuals. Not in this softly lit cafΓ© where passion oozed from a man’s pores, and artists displayed their canvases. Here was where Havana’s trendsetters congregated, and Ernest Hemingway wrote about desire.
“Good luck with your purchases, Veronica Keane.”
Okay, so they weren’t going to pretend they were going head to head for the grant.
As if he had more to say, he grinned at her, his perfect white teeth flashing.. “Do you find us different, like apples and oranges?”
“What am I, an apple or an orange?”
“Hmm. You’re an apple.” He was doing that sexy voice thing which made her brain shut down. Heady.
It started with an unexpected spark, an instant attraction, the jolting jab of oh-I’m-feeling-something. Something like a flashfire in her belly, but now they were talking. “Am I the apple of desire? Want to take a bite out of me?” She pulled in a breath. Had she really said that?
“Bonita, do I ever.”

“Tomorrow is the final ceremony.” Would she watch him walk to the podium to accept the grant?


   


Friday, February 16, 2018

Capture: A Paranormal Romance Anthology πŸ’• Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Paranormal Romance)



~ Can a human capture a heart of a creature of the dark? ~

Presented by the award-winning anthology publisher, Enchanted Anthologies. Capture, book one, brings together five dark, paranormal romance stories just in time for Valentines Day.

Bloodlust by Casia Courtier
Owen Rush hates parasites. When he comes across a small town plagued by a vampire, he takes it upon himself to rid the world of one more monster. No problem for a seasoned hunter like himself. Until he meets her. Will Owen stick to his stakes or will Helena open his heart?

Cursed Roots by Mila Waters
An old family curse and a cabin hidden in the woods put Brea Jones on a collision course with the tall, handsome stranger who holds the key to all her family's long kept secrets.

Darkest Depths by Yolanda Allard
Mermaid Hunter Harper Hatchet, devotes her life solely to hunting down the evil mermaids who killed her parents until she meets Gelian Wake, funny and mundane, he’s being attacked by the very mermaid Harper has been hunting since the night her parents died. With the stakes higher than ever Harper finds herself falling for the quirky Gelian only to discover he’s none other than a creature from the darkest depths of her hatred, a merman who loves Harper too. Harper has to decide if love or hatred will win out, and why the mermaids hate Gelian as much as she hates mermaids before she decides which dark desire to give in to.

Caged Hearts by Erin Lee
She told herself, when they tossed her in the cage and demanded answers, that she was different. She promised herself that she'd stick to the code and never give them what they wanted, no matter what the cost. She refused to betray her kind and was willing to give up her very life for it. The one thing she didn't plan for, though, was The Gentle One.

The Game by Rena Marin
At night, a game has been taking place. A true game of cat and mouse, between the hunter and the prey. When they come face to face, will they destroy one another, or will they finally finish the game?

These stories are intended for readers aged 18+

     

~ Can a human capture a heart of a creature of the dark? ~

Presented by the award-winning anthology publisher, Enchanted Anthologies. Capture, book two, brings together five dark, paranormal romance stories just in time for Valentines Day.

Embracing Darkness by Zizi Cole
Crispin is the king of the shadows. After being alone years, he happens across a light that fascinates him. The catch she's human. Can the light embrace his darkness?

Unconditional Lust by Breanna Hayse
The massive, hideous merrow leader, Muruch, craves the taste of human flesh. Confined to the ocean, he feeds his horde with sailors from ships pulled into the maw of the Bermuda Triangle. When US Army Captain, Nurys Shaye, puts her life on the line to save him after being captured, his hunger for human flesh is shadowed by the desire for her body and her love. Will she be able to see past his appearance and trust him to break down her walls and teach her to feel?

Luck of the Irish by K. L Roth
Darcy O'Dell has inherited more than just her Irish heritage. A curse, a Leprechaun and hot as hell Irish man all wait for her in Ireland.

Song of the Siren by Amanda Leigh
She snuffs sailors out like they’re her personal playthings. Until she sees him. What happens when they come together?

Silverwolf Alpha by Jessi McPherson
Her green eyes taunted him as he slept. She was under his skin and he wanted nothing more than to be under hers.

These stories are intended for readers aged 18+

     


Dangerous Moves by Karen Rock πŸ’• Book Blitz & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Romantic Suspense)



Pounding music. Sculpted men. And a conspiracy that could cost far more than a few dollar bills . . .

HOT COP

Detective Blake Knight has been undercover before. But an assignment to bust a steroid ring running out of Dallas’s elite male strip club means his new cover will be nothing but his own taut muscles and oiled skin. It’s one thing for the tough, by-the-books agent to take down bad guys with his gun. Facing a rowdy crowd in only a G-string is another story . . . especially in front of his new boss, gorgeous, mysterious Reese Landon.

Her father’s club and shady business practices bring back terrible memories for Reese. But when he’s shot and goes into a coma, she vows to protect him the way he never did for her. That means keeping the police at a distance—especially sexy, driven Detective Knight. If she has to give him a cover job, it would be a crime not to put that glorious ass on stage. But no matter how good he looks in a Velcro uniform, she can’t trust him, or give into the undeniable heat between them. They’re both chasing the truth. And it might expose more than either wants to show . . .


“I’ve never fainted once in my entire life.” Reese struggled to unravel the suffocating cocoon of pillows and blankets enveloping her, melting her into a puddle of sweat in the stifling heat.
After an E.R. trip she barely remembered, Blake took her to bed as promised, but not nearly the way she wanted (not that she was in any condition to indulge said desires), then scavenged for every soft thing in the house to slide beneath her aching head and wrap around her sore body.
And where on earth had he found a Snuggie?! So much for Blake’s suspicion that her father was some badass criminal… Drug kingpins didn’t own blankets masquerading as outerwear—or shop on QVC—where she’d bought the same one a couple months ago.
And when she’d fantasized about Blake, alone in her bedroom, she hadn’t imagined herself swathed in a purple plaid muumuu. Not exactly her sexiest look. No wonder he kept his distance, wearing a hole in her area rug as he paced back and forth. “Did the doctor say I have a concussion?”
The tension in Blake’s face eased, and one side of his mouth kicked up. Those strangely attractive canines peeked between full lips. “Yes, and the radiology tech, the discharge nurse and a flower delivery aide who I think was just humoring you so you’d let her get on with her rounds. Oh. And that report.”
She followed his finger-point to the creased pink paper resting on the quilt. Had she been holding it? Yes. She remembered trying to read it earlier, but her eyes were acting funny along with her head. Whatever meds they’d given her dulled her pain and muddled her thoughts. “I asked you this before, didn’t I?”
Amused blue eyes met hers and C-shaped dimples dented his cheeks. “Only twelve times, but who’s counting?”
“You are, apparently.” His smile could stop traffic, she mused. She couldn’t tell if he was teasing her. “And why are you still here? I mean. Thanks for being here,” she amended hastily, not wanting to sound ungrateful, but she didn’t want him hovering. “For everything. But I’m good now.”
She replayed Blake’s body shoving her out of the way. It’d saved her from the Escalade’s path while putting his own life in danger. Once again, his fearlessness, his protective instincts, his disregard for his own safety, saved the day. She liked that about him, maybe too much, considering the tempting officer was all kinds of wrong for her. “Aren’t there police outside?”
“This is personal, not official.” Their gazes locked, and he looked at her the way a woman wanted a man to, intently, appreciatively, with a heady mix of heat and tenderness. “And I’m taking care of you, whether you want me to or not,” he insisted, in full-on caveman mode.
She stopped breathing for one suspended moment. “Oh.”
“The doctor said to watch you closely for the next twenty-four hours.” He laced his fingers overhead and stretched, the move lifting his T-shirt to reveal a tantalizing strip of washboard abs. “It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.”
She reached to throw a pillow at him, winced when pain stabbed between her eyes, then dropped back onto the bed.
“Stay still,” Blake commanded, banter gone, all firm, officer-in-charge authority. He pressed a bag of frozen peas against her cheek. “This never should have happened,” he muttered under his breath.
She nudged his hand away. “I told you I was leaving work early, but stayed late; it’s not your fault.”
He scrubbed a hand over his thick brush of hair. “I should have walked you to your car.”
“I don’t need a bodyguard.”
“You’ve got one now,” he vowed. His hands balled at his sides and his taut body crackled with pent-up energy. “Nothing bad is happening to you again. Ever. Whoever shot your father is after you, too.”

   


Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Penthouse Pact by Cathryn Fox πŸ’• Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’•(Contemporary Romance)



Billionaire software developer Parker Braxton knows everyone wants something from him. That's why he made a multi-million-dollar bachelor pact with his friends to never marry. But he never counted on running into, literally, the quiet but sensual Layla Fallon.

Layla isn't afraid of hard work. Still, there is no light at the end of her student-loan tunnel. When Stuck-Up Suit—Parker Braxton—accidentally runs her over, it's the last things she needs. She refuses his help, but he's persistent. He’s also handsome, kinder than she ever expected, and she’s doing her best to ignore her attraction. Which is harder than it sounds when she’s recuperating at his penthouse.

Sparks fly. Hearts flutter. But falling for Layla could cost Parker more than just several million dollars.


Sleeping beside a half naked Layla? A bolt of heat moved through him and he struggled to curb his desires, as his body grew tight. He shifted restlessly in the chair. “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

“It’s the only sensible thing.”

“No.” Pillow or no pillow, it wasn’t going to stop him from wanting her. A move of his hand, he’d be able to touch. A flick of his tongue, he’d be able to taste. Not going to happen.

Ever determined, she squared her tiny shoulders. “Then I’ll take the chair.”

So much for the fight going out of her. Here she was giving him a hard time again…a hard…everything. “You’re the one with the concussion. You need rest.”

“So do you. You work eighteen hour days.”

How the hell did she know that? “Layla—”

“Do you really want to keep doing this?” she asked, throwing his words back at him.
Damn rebellious woman.

“I’m not—” She pushed the blankets off and threw her legs over the side. He jumped up from his chair. “Get back in that bed.”

“Only if—”

“Fine,” he said stomping to the other side of the room and sliding in beside her.
“Just no touching,” she said.

“I’ll draw up a fucking contact contract.”

“And I’ll sign it.” She snuggled in next to him. “Please add: no scooping me up, lifting me to put me on the counter, or carrying me in or out of a car with stupid door handles.”

“My car is not stupid, and I did those things to help you.”

“I don’t need any help.” She shoved a pillow in between them, and gave a triumphant sigh.

“You’ve been touching me too, you know.”

“Fine, what do you want to add to the contract?”

“Nothing,” he groaned out.

She turned to him. “Nothing. You have to add something if—”

“I never said I didn’t like you touching me.”

    


Baby on the Bad Boy’s Doorstep by Victoria James πŸ’• Book Blitz & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Contemporary Romance)



Connor O’Leary knows nothing about babies, families, or good women, yet he’s up to his ears in all three. Coming to Shadow Creek, Montana was meant to be a new start for this former oil rigger, but he had no idea that fresh beginning would include a baby on his doorstep and a hot nanny he can’t stop thinking about. Diapers, feedings, and late nights soothing his little bundle of surprise were definitely not on his itinerary.

The last thing Haley Thomson expected to see is the reclusive Connor with a baby in his arms. Before she knows it, she’s volunteered as nanny—temporarily. Helping out with baby Rosie is a dream come true and fills a space in her heart she believed will never be filled. But falling for Rosie’s hot and sexy bachelor daddy is not on her to-do list…but boy would she ever like it to be…



“You know that nothing can ever happen between us,”
he said, pulling back slightly. Her arm fell and humiliation
swept through her, harsh and fierce.
“Of course,” she whispered, waving a hand, praying that
she’d be able to look and sound convincing. “That would be
so stupid. I’m leaving. You’re starting a life here. There’s no
way we could work, this would be all wrong. Right?”
He stood up abruptly and ran a hand through his hair
as he walked across the room. She tried not to let the sting
of his rejection show. She’d put herself out there, not even
intentionally, but he’d shot her down instantly. “Haley…”
“No, never mind. I don’t know what’s wrong with me
tonight. Must be the wine and loneliness. I haven’t had wine
in ages.” Lies. She’d had wine last week with her friends.
Well, not all lies because she had never been able to handle
a second glass of wine well. She was into her second, and it
usually managed to lift the cloak of self-discipline. “And all
I do is talk to a baby who can’t speak back yet. I was really
blabbing nonsensically.”
His wince was even more painful. He knew she was
trying to save face. But again, he did nothing to indicate
he had feelings for her. So it was one-sided; that was fine.
She wasn’t even ready for a relationship. “I’m not ready for
a relationship, anyway,” she continued babbling because
he just stood there looking gorgeous and untouchable.
“Another man is the last thing this girl needs,” she said,
clearing the pizza boxes and plates. “I need another man in
my life like I need a bad case of shingles.”
She thought she heard a choked laugh, but since she
wasn’t looking at him, she continued speaking and crossed
the room to the kitchen. “Really, stinky socks, food demands,
criticism, having to look perfect all the time, someone
telling you you’re not good enough, always pointing out
your faults, yelling, slamming doors. I mean, who needs
that?” She probably shouldn’t have had that second glass
of wine, judging by the look on his face. She thought he was
going to walk out of the room, but he just stood there with a
look of sympathy. She didn’t know what she preferred.
“Haley,” he said roughly.
She swallowed hard when he started crossing the room
toward her. Uh-oh. She slung back the rest of her wine
and placed it on the counter, belatedly realizing chugging
alcohol might not be the best look for her. He didn’t stop
walking until he was about an inch or so from her. He had
amazing light-blue flecks in his eyes, and up close she could
see he had a tiny scar above his lips. She really shouldn’t
stare at his mouth, but while she was, she had to admit it was
a very sensual-looking mouth. She stood there, not moving,
maybe not really breathing either. Again, that blood sugar
line was really coming in handy.
“Haley,” he said again in that voice that made her toes
curl. She lifted her eyes from his mouth to meet his gaze.
“Um, yes?”
“You’re good enough.”
She didn’t say anything. She couldn’t, because her
emotions were swirling around inside her, tying up her
words, until she didn’t know what to say. For a second it
looked as though he was going to touch her, or move forward,
but instead he backed up a step. His face was tight, his eyes
stormy. “You are more than good enough, and if anyone
ever made you think otherwise, or told you otherwise, they
never deserved you.”