Friday, January 20, 2017

Promo Tour for The Order of the Crimson Lotus series by Suzanne Quill

Enjoy these excerpts from The Order of the Crimson Lotus series by Suzanne Quill.  
If Love Were Enough

Priscilla Brunell, Marchioness of Rutherford, is in desperate need of a son and heir. Her seventy-year-old husband of ten years has died leaving her a virgin and the protectress of his estates. If she can’t produce a son in the next nine months, the current heir, Damon, will succeed in ruining the family fortunes in a matter of a few years due to his gaming and womanizing. Dare she ignore her morals and pass another man’s child off as her husband’s? Can she do so without losing her heart?

Soon to be the Viscount Brookfield, Brandon Bradley arrives at a house party at the insistence of his dying father. In all rights, he should be home marrying Estella and begetting his heir. Estella is certainly pleasant and attractive, but in all their years of friendship he has never felt anything but a cold distance from her. Then he meets Lady Rutherford. Not only can she help him through his grief, he is immediately attracted to her. Can he let down his father and Estella merely for his own benefit? Can he break the pattern of society and marry for love?

Priscilla thought of her last moments with Robert, how he held her hand so weakly, his hand frail and dry clasping hers. He had looked into her eyes, but the twinkle had dulled in his. Still, his earnestness, his caring, had been apparent.

He counseled her to find another and to marry once again. But he begged her not to be dictated to by Society. She would have money from his estate. She should look for a man to love her not her fortune. Look for someone who could gratify her in all the ways his old, arthritic and impotent body failed to do. She should find someone who would teach her the full meaning of marriage and the conjugal relations that could be shared within its bounds. She should seek gratification that could be given by another.

Tears ran down her cheeks again, and she dabbed at them as she tried to regain her composure. She turned her face away again using the brim of her bonnet to hide the image of her grief.

She was afraid and intimidated by such thoughts. Of course, she knew what should happen in bed between a man and a woman. But that never happened with Robert because of his maladies. After waiting so long, she feared she would not be able to release herself to someone else’s care and tenderness, no less return the same intimacy with him.

Robert asked too much of her, considering he could never demonstrate what she should expect to give or have returned.

But she had smiled and reassured him amidst her tears. She agreed she would try. If it never occurred, it would not be her fault, nor would it be a promise broken since it was predicated on deep feelings that would never exist.

But she would have a man bed her in hopes of an heir. And, if she could manage it and get over this incessant crying, she would like to make it this handsome stranger who had some of Robert’s younger features and seemed so much kinder than she could have ever hoped.

Her companion shifted next to her. A shiver ascended her spine once again. She was sitting too close if she could sense him so easily.

And she could breathe the scent of him.

This man did not smell of ointments and age. He smelled of sandalwood, leather, and something indefinably male. She knew too little of the world in general and men in particular to be comfortable in his company.

But he did quirk her interest. And he could solve her problem. He could unknowingly gift her with a son.

Knowing what an old man felt like beneath her hands, what would this Corinthian, with his muscles and strength, feel like when her fingertips slid over his skin?

She felt heat pool in her belly as her thoughts meandered to the intimacies she could share with him.
And he, being a rake of the first water, would know what to do with a lady, to her, to deliver on the promises whispered between them before the mating.

AmazonB&N ✯ Goodreads

Only You

Denied the right to marry his beloved Jessica due to his depleted estate, Jonathan Stratton, the Earl of Sheffield, travels the world in search of his fortune. Not only does he gain wealth, he learns the ancient Tantric sexual teachings of the Order of the Crimson Lotus. Returning after a five-year voyage, which was only supposed to take three, he finds Jessica more beautiful and desirous than when he left and married another.

Heiress Jessica Esterly, Lady Wickham, is beside herself. Not only was she forced to marry a man she did not love, she discovers him to be a debauched, avaricious rake of the first water. To make matters worse, she's having nefarious nightmares and hauntings that are threatening to drive her mad.

Then Jonathan returns, handsome, wealthy, and ready to love her and share the ancient Tantric mysteries of the Order of the Crimson Lotus.

How is she to tell Jonathan of her impending madness? How is she to tell him her husband will kill her rather than give up any of the funds her inheritance provides?

“No, no, that’s not all of it!” She jerked away from him. “There’s more, you see. You’ll not want me after you know but I must tell you. I am . . . I’m losing my mind. I’m going quite mad. I know I am. The sounds, the visions . . .” Jessica collapsed against his shoulder and sobbed once again.

“Mad, Jessica? What are you talking about? There’s no one in your family who has ever gone mad, no such tendency. Whatever would make you think you’re going mad?” Jonathan nudged her gently away so he could scan her tear-stained face. Tears were still coursing down her cheeks.

“Truly, Jonathan, I’m not making this up. I wake in the middle of the night for no reason at all. Then I hear sounds, awful sounds.” Jessica’s voice cracked with anguish.

“Tell me about the sounds, my heart, I’m listening.” He cleared his mind of all other thoughts as he held her gently to his chest, his only concern now her current state of safety and well-being.

“Moans and groans and chains. They start softly at first. I can barely hear them when they start. They sound so far away.” Jessica’s eyes glazed as she seemed to go into a trance. Then she came back to herself abruptly. “They get louder and closer. Soon they’re right inside my room. And then it comes. I know not what it is.”

“You see something, my heart? Something appears to you?” he inquired with care.

“Yes, yes. It’s white, I think, and not quite there. It seems to float. It groans and moans. Sometimes I think it calls my name. Sometimes it reaches out to me.” Her voice was still strained, her face downcast.

“Who have you told about this? Who else has seen or heard the vision?”

“No one else that I know of. I told Martin. He told me I was dreaming, having a nightmare. He says they can recur when a conscience is not clear. That there has never been a ghost in the house before. He suggested I might grasp a little tighter on to reality,” she said forlornly.

“I see,” Jonathan said, his mind reviewing all she had said. “It’s all right, my heart, maybe it was a bad dream. Maybe it’s not. Promise me you’ll let me know the next time it happens.”

“I never know when it will happen, Jonathan. It just does.”

“I know, Jessica, but I’m here now, you don’t have to go through this, or anything else, alone. Promise me. Promise that you’ll come to me or send a message the next time it occurs. Maybe I’ll see it, too, or maybe I’ll be able to figure out what it is.”

“Yes, Jonathan, I’ll let you know. It would be a relief to share my nightmare with someone. It would be even better if I could make it go away. I promise, I’ll let you know.” She dropped her head against his shoulder. She was so tired, tired of being scared, tired of crying, tired of being alone and lonely.


An Improper Seduction

Geoffrey Chisholm doesn’t want to be the head of a family, no less a marquess. But, his life radically alters when a cousin dies. At five and thirty, he must manage estates, marry, and provide an heir. A difficult chore considering how jaded he has become with affairs in the ton. He refuses to leg-shackle himself to just any woman; she must be one for whom he has some feelings.

Most women live to marry or must do so for family or finances. Angeline Hartley, her father’s estates unentailed, has no requirement to wed. Two years past her thirtieth year, she is on the shelf, her life contentedly complete. After the Marriage Mart and encounters with local gentlemen, she has vowed to remain unattached. After all, men do it when they have no need of a wife.

But Geoffrey meets Angeline and entices her to sample the intimacies of lovemaking. The coupling is explosive and now two strong-willed individuals must decide if they will give up personal stubbornness to make a bond for a lifetime.

“Lady Angeline,” Geoffrey began, “I will be off shortly.” He would for sure if he didn’t get his rampant sex away from her immediately. “I thought it best to come to say goodbye. And, before I take my leave, I thought I should tell you your father has given me leave to court you.”

Angeline turned upon her heel, her eyes blazing, the seafoam depths now a raging sea, wrath plain upon her angelic face. “I think not, my lord. I have no desire for your attentions,” she said with scorn. “You shall only be wasting my time and yours in such a fruitless endeavor. Leave me be. I do not wish to be the center of your marital goals. Surely there is some other woman who would be easier met to satisfy your needs.”

“There is no one else I wish to assuage my needs, my lady,” Geoffrey assured her as his rod twitched within his trousers. “And to attain your interests ours will not be a proper English courting.”

Throwing caution to the wind and taking the bold path, Geoffrey lowered his voiced and asked, “Tell me, my lady, have you ever felt the pleasures of a man? Have you ever swelled under the feelings of desire?”

The heat and color rose to Angeline’s face so quickly Geoffrey could not help but see it.

“That is none of your affair, sir. What I have or have not felt is no one’s business but my own. Your questions are most improper.”

Geoffrey moved a few steps closer, putting him less than a foot from her. He could easily reach out now to stroke her hair, her breasts, to raise her skirts from over her sensual derrière. “I thought not, based upon our little encounter this morning. My dear Angeline. . .”

“I gave you no leave to call me by my Christian name,” she spat out at him. “Please desist from these efforts and leave me be.”

Eyes still glaring, she refused to give him the satisfaction of backing off. She remained rooted in place before him, her cheeks an explosion of red color.

“Lady Angeline,” he went on, ignoring her reprimand, “let me be blunt. Do you truly wish to die a virgin? Do you have no thought to leave this plane having some knowledge of the secrets held between a man and a woman?” he quietly demanded. Only inches from her face, her lips, pink and full, enticed him to take them with his own.


Angeline was startled and appalled by his inquiry. “That is no business or concern to you, my lord.” But the heat was pooling in her abdomen.

What was it like to feel such things with a man?

“Ah, but it is, my lady, because I choose to be the one to teach you the pleasures between the sexes. You may never marry, me nor anyone else, but you shall not go to your grave pristine and untutored. You shall know the very meaning of passion and desire.”

His eyes were heavy-lidded and held a glint of knowledge she knew she wished to share. But she would not. Especially not with this. . .this. . .rake.


The Ravished Rose

Attractive, capable, intelligent, Elizabeth Mannings returns to London after two years on the Continent, looking forward to experiencing her first Season and finding a man to love and marry. Instead, she is brutally attacked, forcing her to flee London and abandon her hopes for the future.

Allan Ridgefield, Earl of Ridgecrest, no longer has a need for love, having had his heart crushed two days before his wedding when his childhood sweetheart fell from her horse and died. Ten years later, he desperately seeks a marriage of convenience in order to meet the terms of his father’s will and retain his estates and title.

“I know this is very awkward for you. It is for me, too. I, at least, had a momentary glimpse of you back in London. I knew you were attractive and from what I have heard, you have at least a degree of intelligence.”

A degree of intelligence, she thought to herself with disdain, his condescension raising her ire. Indeed! I’ve had the best education. I’ve read the classics, speak French and Italian fluently, and acceptable Spanish and Russian. I’ve even had some Latin. My logic is impeccable when I choose to use it. A degree of intelligence, indeed! She rallied to control her feelings before she erupted in his face.

Allan continued, “To you, however, I am an unknown quantity. You must be very intimidated by me, your new surroundings, and everything that has happened.”

Everything that had happened? Had her father told him the details? Did he know what she had actually been through?

“I hope this marriage of convenience will turn into a friendship, at least, over time. I will not force you to do anything you do not wish to do. Elizabeth, I will never force my attentions upon you. If at some point we both choose to, we may have greater intimacy, but for now I don’t think that is appropriate.”

Elizabeth stood as still as the post she clung to. Had she heard right? He would not bed her tonight? She did not have to tolerate his hands on her body, the intimacies she did not want?

“Elizabeth, did you hear me?”

She let out a quiet gasp of relief. “Yes, my lord.”

He started to go, then stopped and turned back to her. With great care, he laid his hands on the sides of her face, tilting it up.

Elizabeth stiffened once again.

“Look at me,” he said firmly but gently.

Her body trembled, her eyelashes fluttered as she reached for all of the strength she could to gaze up, to face the man she had married, her husband. When their eyes met, she was sure he could see the fear, distrust, the sense of danger that must reflect in her eyes.

She could see . . . What? His eyes were clear and blue. They held strength and coldness, but something more. She could see gentleness, like his voice. He could take her if he wished. He certainly had the size and strength to do it. But that did not show in his eyes, nor his touch. Both were gentle now. Tender to her.

His voice broke into her thoughts. “Elizabeth . . . may I kiss you good night?”

What should she say? What should she do? He was her husband. He had promised not to force his attentions. His hands strong and warm against her face, his eyes delved deeply into hers. “Yes, my lord,” she heard herself say, not knowing from where the answer came.

He bent over her to gently brush his lips on hers. Then he pressed his mouth to hers, firmly, tenderly.

Shivers coursed through her body, not missing a spot. His energy poured through her. The heat in her heart rose.


Suzanne Quill, the nom-de-plume for Susan Dudics Dean, has been pursuing a fiction career for over fifteen years. With prior experience writing articles for interior design trade magazines and local newspapers she decided to find a more creative outlet for her vivid imagination. Inspired by romances from such icons as Amanda Quick, Diana Gabaldon and Mary Balogh, she chose historicals as her first genre. She is currently writing a sensuous series called The Order of the Crimson Lotus. The series includes: If Love Were Enough, Only You, An Improper Seduction, and The Ravished Rose. All are offered through Soul Mate Publishing and

Currently a member of Romance Writers of America and the Washington Romance Writers Chapter, Suzanne lives in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. She is happily married, has a beautiful daughter, two inside cats and two outside cats. After years of running a successful interior design business that started in Southern California, relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and finally in the Greater Washington D.C. Area, she has finally retired to pursue her writing dreams full time.

Look for more in the Crimson Lotus series soon and contemporary romances under the name of Susan Dean in the near future.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Throwback Thursday: His Trophy Wife by Leigh Michaels

Author: Leigh Michaels
First published in 2001 by Harlequin
Audiobook released in 2016 and read by Paula Slade

When Morganna Ashworth's father died, leaving her his debts, Sloan Montgomery realized he could finally achieve his two lifelong ambitions: the acquisition of a socially acceptable wife, and revenge on the Ashworth family!

In return for him paying off the debts, Morganna became Mrs. Sloan Montgomery. But once they were wed, Sloan didn't bargain on falling deeply in love with his trophy wife! Especially considering all the secrets and lies between them...

As I was reading His Trophy Wife, I kept having the feeling that this book was written well before 2001.  With the exception of an occasional mention of a cell phone, this book could have taken place in the 70s or 80s. IT jsut felt kind of less 21st century than it was supposed to be.  At any rate, this is a story of a marriage of convenience that turns into something more.

I have to admit that I didn't care for this story.  I really didn't see the romance in it at all.  Morganna and Sloan had no chemistry.  She was basically blackmailed into marrying him and for the most of the book, she hates him.  I really didn't see how she fell for him in the end.  There was a little mystery that kind of saved the story. But not enough to say I loved it.

I listened to this on Audible.  I thought the narration of the audiobook was well done. I liked Paula Slade's voice.  It was enough to keep me listening to the end.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blog Tour: Big Shot (A Book Boyfriend Novel 1) by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde

Authors: Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde
Publisher: CP Publishing
Date of publication:January 2017

New York Times Bestselling Authors Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde bring you a sexy new standalone romance.

Fall in love with your next Book Boyfriend . . .

Wes Sinclair is a notorious heart-breaker, a hot as sin bad boy with a panty-dropping smile no woman can resist. Except for his best friend's little sister and business adversary, Natalie Prescott, who seems immune to his flirtatious charms. While she's become a permanent fixture in his dirtiest, most scandalous fantasies, she wants nothing to do with him, or his seductive promises. Challenge accepted. His goal? To bring her to her knees, make her beg, and show her just how good being bad can be.

Big Shot is the first in a new series by this wonderful writing duo.  It's a spin-off series from the Dirty Sexy series. With one of my favorite  romance themes, the friends to lovers story was very entertaining.  Wes and Natalie grew up together.  For years there has been tension between them, but neither has ever acted.  Now a bet between them might give the opportunity for more.

As I said, this was a very entertaining romance.  I thought Wes and Natalie made a great couple.  Having known each other forever, they just seemed right.  The speed of their romance made sense.  I loved the way they could laugh with each other.  The poker night scenes were absolutely hilarious.  It's a pretty quick read and I wish it was a bit longer.  Only because I wanted more of the couple.  

Be on the lookout for appearances from some old friends from the previous series.  That was a nice treat.  This is a definite stand alone book and I look forward to Max's story in the next one.


Buy links:

Amazon Kindle:
B&N Nook:
Google Play:

About the Authors:

***About Carly Phillips***
Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Carly at


***About Erika Wilde***

Erika Wilde is the author of the sexy Marriage Diaries series and The Players Club series. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two daughters, and when she's not writing you can find her exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. For more information on her upcoming releases, please visit website at


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway of Wyoming Brave by Diana Palmer

Author: Diana Palmer
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: December 2017


Ren Colter may own an enormous ranch in Wyoming, but he scorns his wealth. He’s closed himself off since his fiancée left him months ago, so he’s shocked when he allows Meredith Grayling to stay with him. He tells himself it’s only to protect the blonde beauty from a stalker, but Ren’s alpha instincts soon kick in.

The last thing Merrie wants is a devastatingly handsome man like Ren lurking around her. He’s too experienced, too appealing for her already shot nerves. What she needs is just to get away from it all: the man haunting her waking dreams and the one hunting her like an animal. But no woman escapes this Colter cowboy!

Excerpt 4.
She looked up into his eyes and couldn’t look away. Neither could he. His breath came quickly. He brushed his fingers along her cheek, down to the bow shape of her pretty mouth. They lingered there, teasing the soft flesh, making her feel liquid, melting. She wanted to push close to him, feel him hold her. She wanted to tempt his mouth down to hers and see what a kiss felt like. She was hungry for something…
Incredibly, his head started to bend. She felt his whiskey-scented breath in her mouth. She drew in her own breath as she looked at his sensuous lips and won­dered how they were going to feel grinding hungrily into hers.
His hand slid to the back of her neck and began to pull, ever so gently. She felt her lips parting, her body throbbing, as his mouth came closer, closer, closer…
“What happened?” Delsey asked from the doorway.
Ren drew back from Merrie, glaring at her as if he was angry. He got to his feet quickly. “She had a nightmare,” he said shortly. He turned away, grateful that his pajamas were loose. “She’s all right. I’m going back to bed.”

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About Diana Palmer

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.

Connect with Diana

Diana Palmer’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, December 27th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt
Wednesday, December 28th: Bewitched Bookworms
Friday, December 30th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, January 2nd: Read Love Blog – excerpt
Monday, January 9th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Wednesday, January 11th: Buried Under Romance
Thursday, January 12th: Becky on Books
Monday, January 16th: From the TBR Pile – excerpt
Wednesday, January 18th: What I’m Reading
Friday, January 20th: Susan Peterson
Monday, January 23rd: The Romance Dish – excerpt
Tuesday, January 24th: Books that Hook
Wednesday, January 25th: Books and Bindings
Thursday, January 26th: Heather Kerner
Monday, January 30th: Broken Teepee – excerpt

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ruining Mr. Perfect by Marie Harte

Author: Marie Harte
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of publication: October 2014

It's Not Easy Being Right...

Vanessa Campbell is a CPA by day and a perfectionist by night. She's fit, successful...and decidedly lonely. She can't stop thinking about the youngest McCauley brother, Cameron. He's just like her: smart, attractive, and usually right—except when dealing with her.

...But Someone's Got To Do It.

Cameron McCauley likes Vanessa a little too well. She's a blond goddess with a razor-sharp tongue. She hates to be wrong, just like him. But she can hold a grudge and is stubborn to a fault—also like him.

A past misunderstanding has them rubbing each other the wrong way. Cam is dying to shake Vanessa up—get her to let loose. But if he succeeds, can his heart handle it?

I read the first two books in this series a while back and, for some reason, I never continued.  I'm sorry that I waited so long to pick up the third McCauley brother book, Ruining Mr. Perfect.  This was Cameron and Vanessa's book.  Both of them are pretty straight laced and different from their families and friends.  The fact that they are so similar should make for a logical relationship. But emotions have a way of rearing their ugly heads to make things more complicated,

I thought this was a really cute romance.  Vanessa and Cameron were really suited for each other.  Loved how Cam saw right through all of her BS and broke down her walls.  This book is big on  the theme of communication.  Because of that, there was a lot less angst in the story.  That was refreshing.  There is a big surprise toward the end of the book that throws the couple for a loop, but I loved it.  

There is a secondary story line that continues from the previous book.  Beth and James McCauley are separating after 30 something years. It is hard on everyone involved.  Watching them make their way back to each other was entertaining.  I think I was rooting for them more than Cam and Vanessa.  This as a great addition to the series.  I highly recommend it.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Spotlight Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway of Blazing Hot Cowboy by Kim Redford

Author: Kim Redford
Series: Smokin’ Hot Cowboys, #2
ISBN: 9781492621508
Pubdate: January 3, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Western

He’s all the heat she’ll ever need.
Lauren Sheridan’s return to Wildcat Bluff after the death of her husband is bittersweet. Thirteen years have passed since she set foot in the place that’s always held her heart…and the sizzling memories of her high school sweetheart. 

Kent Duval has it all. A proud rancher and volunteer firefighter in the small town of Wildcat Bluff, he’s missing only one thing from his life: passion. Kent last saw Lauren Sheridan when she was sweet sixteen and they were head-over-heels in love. Now she’s back, spunky daughter in tow, and he no longer knows which way is up. As the heat between them builds, Kent can’t help but wonder if past flames can be rekindled and second chances really do exist.

A Note from Kim Redford: 
I’m excited to share one of my favorite firefighter characters!

The Towering Inferno (1974) was adapted from two novels: The Tower (1973) by Richard Martin Stern and The Glass Inferno (1974) by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson. The movie received eight Academy Award nominations, won three Oscars, and was the highest-grossing film of its release year. In San Francisco, an electrical short starts a fire on the 81st floor of the 138 stories of the Glass Tower. SFFD Chief Michael O’Halloran (Steve McQueen) guides firefighters in their quest to rescue occupants and stop the blaze. Architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) braves the fire to help rescue trapped people that includes his fiancée Susan Franklin (Faye Dunaway). Chief O’Halloran, as well as Doug Roberts, demonstrates the crucial traits of American heroes in skill, bravery, and determination to save others.

He's one hero who inspired my Smokin’ Hot Cowboys series of contemporary cowboy firefighter novels.

Enjoy this sneak peek:

In Wildcat Bluff County, Texas . . .
Kent Duval joined other firefighters in front of a burning barn. He wasn’t wearing much firefighter gear, so he’d pump water and roll hose from the booster while another volunteer used the nozzle to wet a perimeter around the structure.
Streams of water hit the building and steam rose along with smoke as Kent and the other first responders fought to bring the blaze under control. Even so, the fire quickly expanded in size as it ate up oxygen. Soon the wooden barn was fully engaged and pumping smoke. Flames surged higher into the sky. They kept up the water barrage, beating back the blaze despite the orange-and-yellow flames spitting and licking and clawing to take back what was lost. Every fire had its own personality. This one reminded Kent of a dangerous wild bull.
And just when he thought they had the blaze contained, a piece of shake-shingle roof was
ripped off by the wind and whipped across firefighter heads to land in the adjacent pasture. Flames immediately set the dry grass ablaze, and a line of fire headed straight for the nearby house at Twin Oaks.
“Watch my pump!” When Kent got a nod of understanding from another firefighter, he took off running, hoping he could stomp out the fire with his cowboy boots before it took hold and swept away from them.
He got ahead of the blaze, but the flames were quickly consuming the grass. He stomped hard, making a little headway, but he quickly realized he wasn’t able to do enough fast enough. And the other firefighters couldn’t leave the barn. He’d have to call for backup, but he feared the engine couldn’t get there in time.
Just as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, he heard Lauren calling to him. He glanced up. She’d crossed the road, dragging a heavy fire extinguisher in each hand, up to the barbwire fence. He could’ve cheered because she might just have saved the day.
He pocketed his cell, ran over to her, grabbed the canisters, and set them down on his side of the fence.
“Hold up the barbwire and I’ll crawl under,” she said as she went down on her knees.
“Lauren, I don’t want you in danger.”
“I’m not letting that fire get anywhere near my daughter at Twin Oaks.” She lay down and started to crawl on her stomach under the fence.
He quickly raised the bottom strand of wire so she wouldn’t tear her clothes or scratch her back.
Once she was on the other side, she grabbed a can and dragged it toward the leading edge of the blaze.
He used the black strap to hang the other fire extinguisher over his shoulder and caught up. He tried to take the canister from her, but she gave him a no nonsense look.
“Two of us are faster than one,” she said. “I remember how to use these cans, so let’s get to it.”
He grinned, loving her sassiness even as he wanted to keep her safe. He knew better. This was his Lauren, and she didn’t back down for nothing or nobody. “Let’s do it.”
Together, they got out in front of the fire and started spraying the potent chemical on the blaze, leaving a trail of yellow. They continued to relentlessly douse the flames till nothing was left except charred grass. When their fire extinguishers were empty, they tossed them aside, and then stomped on the crisp grass to make sure there were no hot embers left that might reignite.
Finally, Kent picked up one empty canister and hung it from his shoulder by the strap before he put the other strap over his free shoulder. He couldn’t resist leaning down and giving Lauren a quick kiss.
“Don’t you know I’m too hot to handle?” she teased, chuckling with a sound caught somewhere between delight and relief.
“Guess I’m looking to get burned.”
“I think we’re both a little on the scorched side.” She pointed toward the barn. “But that building took the brunt of it.”
He looked in that direction. He felt a vast sense of comfort when he saw the old barn was nothing more than a pile of black rubble with a red-orange glow of banked embers here and there. He glanced back at the blackened patch of pasture. He’d been cocky tonight—maybe because being with Lauren had made him feel like Superman. He knew better. You could never count on a fire doing what it was supposed to do, and particularly not when it was a raging bull of a blaze.
He clasped Lauren’s hand and threaded their fingers together. “Guess you’re a Wildcat Bluff volunteer firefighter all over again.”
She squeezed his hand. “I feel like I’ve never been gone.”
“Let’s get you home.”
“Twin Oaks will look mighty good.”
But Kent hadn’t been thinking about that place. He’d been thinking about his own farmhouse on Cougar Ranch.

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About the author:

Kim Redford is an acclaimed author of Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon & Kira Breed-Wrisley

Authors: Scott Cawthon & Kira Breed-Wrisley
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Date of publication: September 2016

Ten years after the horrific murders at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza that ripped their town apart, Charlie, whose father owned the restaurant, and her childhood friends reunite on the anniversary of the tragedy and find themselves at the old pizza place which had been locked up and abandoned for years. After they discover a way inside, they realize that things are not as they used to be. The four adult-sized animatronic mascots that once entertained patrons have changed. They now have a dark secret . . . and a murderous agenda.

I will admit to having only played the first game once or twice.  I didn't really find it scary, but maybe the later games were.  This book was a top pick at my kids' middle school book fair this past fall, so I gave it a try.  I will preface this all by saying that the author has said that it is a alternate imagining of the events in the Five Nights at Freddy's video games.  Apparently some fans had issue with the book not following the games.  It was never really meant to.  I think if you are a fan of the games and you go into the book with that in mind, you will enjoy it a lot more.

I thought this was a fun book.  It reminded me of the Christopher Pike books I loved in middle school. I have always thought the animals at Chuckee Cheese were creepy.  Given that this is about creepy animatronics, the creepiness factor was right on par with what I expected.   I liked the characters and how the back story unfolded.  There were some pretty tense moments that I think YA readers will get a good scare out of.  For a YA horror, there was really nothing gory or objectionable, so I would say any middle grade lever reader would be fine with the content.   

Friday, January 13, 2017

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Author: Teresa Toten
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Date of publication: May 2016

Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

Whenever I see the tag " For fans of The Girl on the Train", I am instantly wary of the book.  I didn't care for Girl on the Train.  But, I gave Beware that Girl a try anyway.  Overall, it wasn't a bad book and had great potential. But, I just didn't love it and it fell short of my expectations.  At first, this seemed like a YA appropriate book, but after finishing it, I wouldn't classify it as that.  It's kind of like Gossip Girl in that the girls are rich, go to a private school, and seemed to have the freedom to do anything.  But, the last half of the book was kind of disturbing and I would be reluctant to let my under 17YO reader read this book.

The story involves Kate who is an admitted liar, but, not really. She is a scholarship kid starting at Waverly School in her senior year.  All she wants to to get into Yale.  She also needs to find a new best friend and use her to better her living situation. Olivia just might fit the bill. There were a couple of twists that kept the book interesting, but there was more about the story that bothered me.  The girls  are seniors and 18, yet the parents have no problem letting them drink openly and freely.  Even at a fundraising gala.  Can the rich get away with underage drinking in public?  Also, the whole story line with Mark and Olivia was really uncomfortable to read.  18 or not, she was still in high school and it was really unnecessary. Kate's flashbacks are disturbing, but do kind of give you some insight as to her character and situation. The story is also told in Kate's POV in first person and in Olivia's in third person.  I thought that was a weird choice and was really disrupted the flow of the story for me.

The ending was terrible. In fact, it just ended and at the same time kind of came out of nowhere.  I can see what the author was going for, but the rest of the book didn't really lead up to that ending.  I'm not sure I would really recommend this one.  It wasn't a thriller or even remotely thrilling.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Baddest Virgin in Texas by Maggie Shayne

Author: Maggie Shayne
First published in 1997 by Silhouette
Four big Brand brothers won't stop Jessi from taming her man….
Contrary to what her four older brothers believed, Jessi Brand was a grown woman. With very adult needs. And what she wanted was drop-dead-gorgeous drifter Lash Monroe. He was the one. The man she'd saved herself for. The man she wanted as her husband. But this ornery cowboy required some serious convincin'….
Lash had vowed never to settle down—especially when the lady came with four very protective brothers who knew how to handle shotguns! But he couldn't get Jessi out of his mind. And he couldn't resist her tempting offer….
But once he discovered Jessi was pregnant with his child…everything changed.
The Baddest Virgin in Texas is the second in the "Texas Brand" series about a group of siblings and their journey to find love and happiness.  I reviewed the first one, The Littlest Cowboy, about 4 years ago.  It's about time I continued with the series, right?  This is Jessi's story.  She is the only sister among the alpha brothers.  She is finally ready to prove to her brothers that she is all grown up.  She also wants to make her intentions toward Lash known.  Lash s a drifter, but can he resist Jessi?
I thought this was a cute addition to the series.  It was nice to connect with the the family again.  I especially loved Chelsea from the first book.  It was fun to watch Lash finally give in to Jessi.  The cattle rustling mystery was not very surprising, but it did provide for some entertainment.  In all I would recommend it.  You don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this one.  It's a quick and enjoyable read and one I would recommend.