C.H.A.R.O.N.

C.H.A.R.O.N.

A Night Vigil Novel Book 2

by Gail Z. Martin

Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy Adventure

Your best hope to make it through the hour of the wolf.

Ex-priest Travis Dominick and former FBI agent Brent Lawson hunt demons, monsters, and supernatural troublemakers. When Brent gets a call for help from an old army buddy, he and Travis head to a small central Pennsylvania town beset by a series of unexplainable deaths and escalating paranormal activity. The murders mimic crimes from decades past, down to the smallest detail, and as Travis and Brent battle vengeful entities, rumors surface that shady government experiments helped make a bad situation even worse.

Torrential rain and rising rivers mean there’s no escaping the creatures hunting the shadows, beings that take shape from people’s deepest fears and feed on their terror. With the lives of everyone in South Fork at stake, Brent and Travis face their toughest case yet. They’ll have to confront the town’s dark secrets, the legacy of a covert supernatural psi-ops program, and their own painful memories to battle a bloodthirsty ancient creature and fight the deadly spirits that roam the night.

C.H.A.R.O.N. is a dark urban fantasy thrill ride filled with Old World spirits, legends and lore, vengeful ghosts, magic, secret government agencies, Vatican ninja-priests, found family, small-town secrets, badass bartenders, psychics, mediums, witches, small-town heroes, and an unshakable bond of friendship.

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Sons of Darkness

A Night Vigil Novel Book 1

We are the Night Vigil.

The run-down convenience store, the all-night diner, the last-ditch shelter, or seedy motel, the redneck bar and the emergency room, and all the other places open on the graveyard shift—they’re Hell’s hunting grounds, full of easy marks and desperate souls, prey for evil things out there in the dark.

We keep the Vigil, looking for the ones who can still be saved, the ones who aren’t too far gone. We’re the misfits and the muck-ups, unwanted by Heaven or Hell, given one last chance to atone for all the mistakes and missed chances, the pain we’ve caused others and ourselves, the good things we were afraid to do, and the bad things we embraced with open arms. We work the night shift because that’s when evil walks. We’re the clerk in the all-night liquor store, the server in the 24-hour diner, the long-haul trucker who only drives at night, the counter person in the convenience store, the dog shift nurse. We recognize the evil when we see it, and we use the skills we honed with blood and fire to stop it, whatever it takes.

Unfinished business ties us to the mortal world, to make atonement, find absolution, satisfy retribution, get things right. You won’t find a sorrier group of halfway house heroes. No illusions left—about ourselves, humanity, or what’s really out there in the darkness. Just a purpose, to go down fighting the good fight. Because this is our last chance.

One final chance to make it right, the thin red line of humanity against the evil that goes bump in the night, your best hope to make it through the hour of the wolf

When a series of disappearances, suicides, and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, demon-hunting ex-priest Travis Dominick teams up with former special ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy, steampunk and more for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria.

Together with Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of Iron & Blood, Storm & Fury (both Steampunk/alternate history), the Spells Salt and Steel comedic horror series, the Roaring Twenties monster hunter Joe Mack Shadow Council series, and the Wasteland Marshals near-future post-apocalyptic series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, with the Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow series. Gail is also a con-runner for ConTinual, the online, ongoing multi-genre convention that never ends.

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Cannetella #CoverReveal

Cannetella
Elodie Rowan
Publication date: March 2023
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance


A lush and dark fairytale retelling steeped in Italian folklore, Canetella is sure to please fans of Elise Kova, Sarah J. Maas, and K.F. Breene.

Cannetella is doomed to marry. As the only child of the bankrupted King of High-Hill, her twentieth birthday spells the end of life as she knows it. Cannetella dreams of adventure, not refilling the kingdom’s coffers. Determined to keep her freedom, she hatches a plan: Cannetella announces she will only marry a man with a face of pure gold. Pleased with her impossible standards, she prepares for a life unburdened by a husband.

But on the night of her birthday, a mysterious man appears. On his face is a mask made of the finest gold. The relieved King declares Cannetella will marry the man with enough wealth to save the heirless and penniless Kingdom of High-Hill. Cannetella is forced to wed and whisked away from the only home she has ever known. But the gilded gentleman is none other than her father’s most bitter nemesis, Enzo Fioravante, an infamous and feared Stregone, a dark Sorceror.

Tied to Enzo with no way of returning home, Cannetella learns she is a pawn in a game of revenge between the two families, and that Fioravante will do anything to gain what was stolen from him five years ago. But as Cannetella delves into her captor’s past, she uncovers a devious plot burrowed in both of their kingdoms, one of magic, murder, and lust. And worst of all, she learns Fioravante is not the villain he appears to be.

Together with her greatest enemy, Canetella and Enzo must break a curse that has claimed the lives of six others, or become the next victims. And as the unlikely pair grows closer, a dark and undeniable attraction blooms. But when magic is involved, no one’s heart will remain unscathed.


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Jewel of the Alien Bandit

Jewel of the Alien Bandit
Sky Robert
(Treasures of Trillume, #1)
Publication date: January 31st 2023
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction


A jewel to steal. A planet to save. A leader to love?

I’m supposed to be taking rulership of my planet when I find myself sneaking aboard an offworlder’s ship. My clan needs scientists capable of solving Estreldez’s food imports and spawning decline without being enslaved by krelis or necia control.

It’s just my bad luck the last known shol male is a compatible mate, when being with him could jeopardize my entire species. I am a leader, and it is my clan duty to mate for survival… not love. He can’t be mine if I wish to protect my planet from invasion. Mating with a nearly extinct species is reason enough for unscrupulous outlaws to get away with attacking my planet, without breaking any star system codes.

I can’t keep him. He had an obligation to any surviving shol to spawn with his own kind, and I had to mate for political protection of my planet, as the next Almder Leader of Estreldez. It wouldn’t work, but my mating loh react to his touch, and everything in me wants him to be mine.

A sci-fi fated-mates alien romance from Sky Roberts. Jewel of the Alien Bandit is the first of the Treasures of Trillume series. This steamy, page-turning romance between an outlaw alien and the strong female leader that wants him, will have you devouring every morsel towards their HEAFN.

A standalone romance, consensual steamy 18+, and an overarching plot laced between each book. World building sci-fi adventure but with a sexy twist. Strong females, and possessive (but respectful) love interests. For all you alien lovers out there that like vibrating, pulsating extremities, and mates that bond for life. The steamy bare chest should be evidence enough of what you are getting yourself into. You’re welcome.


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Author Bio:

Sky Robert is a mom of two tiny humans in training, narrates audiobooks for fantasy/sci-fi indie authors, and when she isn’t writing (which is MOST of the time) you can find her consuming copious amounts of coffee, creating podcasts for Blind Indie Novel Dates, BINDER, to promoting indie authors, reading alien smut, fantasy, sci-fi and romance books, chowing down on Indian butter chicken, and when she actually hangs out with people in person, in real life, outside of the internet, (gasps) she’s playing board or card games. All around nerd, lover of the strange, and all things fantastical. Grab your first free Alien Romance Her Alien Exchange by joining her newsletter today! https://dl.bookfunnel.com/f2fwrjww4p

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At Last

At Last
Whitney Dineen
(Seven Brides for Seven Mothers, #8)
Publication date: February 1st 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance


Queen Charlotte of Malquar has been hard at work setting up all her children, but so far, she’s been unable to find someone for Sophie.

Princess Sophie was supposed to be the second royal sibling to marry, but she broke her engagement when she found out her fiancé was cheating on her.

Sophie has all but given up hope of finding her own fairytale ending. That is, until a mystery bouquet of roses shows up at the palace. The note says they’re from Arlo Hammond. After years of pining for the man she thought was her everlasting love, Sophie finally released all thoughts of Arlo, only to have him show up again thirteen years later. Why?

Will Arlo’s explanation win Sophie’s forgiveness? Will she give him another chance and find her own happy ending at last? Or will the heartache of the past be too much to forgive?

Find out in the final installment of Dineen’s bestselling and deliciously romantic Seven Brides for Seven Mothers series!


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EXCERPT:

Curling up on my living room sofa, I snuggle under my favorite cashmere throw before picking up the telephone. After punching in the number, I smile when I hear the voice of my dearest friend from university days. “Sophie!” Avery sounds both surprised and delighted. “It’s been ages. How are you?”

“I’m confused,” I tell her bluntly.

“The farthest fork out is for the fish course,” she teases.

“Ha ha ha.” I love how easily we fall into old banter. It’s always been like this between us. But of course, I didn’t call to chit chat. “Do you remember Arlo Hammond?”

I hear her choke on what I’m guessing is her morning coffee. Having grown up in the States, Aves never was one for tea. “Of course I remember. But I thought he was old news.”

“He’s been sending me flowers once a month for the last seven months.”

“And you’re just telling me now?”

“I figured I’d wait to see if he said anything interesting.”

“And?”

I hear a sharp knock, which I’m hoping is someone from the kitchen with the decadent sweet breads I’ve ordered. Even though my waistline doesn’t need the indulgence, I’m still going to enjoy them. “Hold on, Aves,” I tell her before getting up to retrieve my breakfast.

Padding across my living room rug in bare feet, I pull the door open. My enthusiasm vanishes when I see that my visitor is not from the kitchen. It’s my mother. “What are you doing here?” I greet none too politely.

“Good morning to you, too.” She pushes her way through the door.

“I’m on an important call, Mum. I can’t chat right now.” If I tell her who I’m talking to, she’ll simply demand to get on the phone and have her own conversation with Avery.

Stopping in her tracks next to the trestle table against the wall in my foyer, she says, “I see you received the flowers that arrived yesterday.”

“I did.” When she doesn’t immediately respond, I add, “Is there any way we can talk later? I really need to get back to my call. It’s rather important.” Let her assume I’m planning the next big charity event, and child literacy itself is at stake. Participating in charitable events is nearly all I do as a working royal, and while I know it’s an important contribution, it sometimes bores me to the bone.

“I’ll be in the parlor between ten and eleven,” she tells me before backtracking toward the door. Before she walks through it, she adds, “I’ll expect you at ten.”

“I’ll do what I can, Mum.” I’m about to shut the door when I spot the serving girl from the kitchen walking down the hall with my breakfast. I indicate that I’m leaving the door open for her before hurrying back to the couch.

As soon as I pick up the phone, I hear Avery yelling at someone, “Not there! I asked you to put them in the linen closet.”

“Who are you lording it over?” I ask with a laugh.

“My husband, of course. We’re only now getting down to the business of unpacking all the bedding.”

“But you’ve been married and in the house for over six months,” I tell her.

“You know me, Soph, I’m not that fussy. I’m okay with washing the old sheets and then returning them to the bed. However, my mother-in-law feels that kind of bohemian nonsense isn’t good enough for her Tony. She made me register for six sets of linens and now I have to store them all. I should dump them off at her house.”

I don’t even have that many extra sheets,” I tell her.

“I venture you don’t have any idea how many sheets there are in that castle you call home. But you didn’t call me to talk about bedding. You called about Arlo.”

As the server pushes the trolley over the threshold, I motion for her to leave it there before mouthing a quick thank you. When she shuts the door behind her, I ask my friend, “What is he doing getting in touch after all these years?”

“You can’t guess?”

“Avery, what happened between us was over thirteen years ago. It barely even started before it was over.”

“You talked about him constantly for two years,” she reminds me.

It’s true, I did. Arlo Hammond made a huge impact on my life in a very short amount of time, but there was no way there could ever have been anything between us. “I did what I was supposed to do, and I forgot him.”

Why were you supposed to forget him again?”

“Avery Flemming, you know perfectly well.”

“What I know is that your parents are much more open-minded than you give them credit for.”

I don’t give her the satisfaction of agreeing with her. I simply say, “Maybe …”

Author Bio:

Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.

Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.

She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.

Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.

Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.

Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.

Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.

Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017

Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram


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High Bet: Syndicate Masters: Eastern Seaboard #3

At night he invades my dreams… during the day I can’t forget the way he made me feel during those dreams.

Lauren
I’m the leader of a rogue band of vixens, who left our origin skulk to live our dream—owning a catering company. The problem is our dream costs money, and we don’t have any. The solution is doing what foxes do best… steal. Now I’m way in over my head. The only thing standing between us and real danger is Jace Evans.

Jace
I am the leader of the Calos Syndicate and the Florida Panther clan. I deal in gambling, arms dealing, smuggling, and a lot of legitimate businesses that aren’t nearly as much fun as the illegal ones. In the next few weeks, I’m opening a luxury casino featuring a roulette wheel that once belonged to the Marquis de Sade. Bonding dreams with my fated mate has been an unexpected delight and has revealed the truth of who she is. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! She is neither panther nor human; she’s a sexy fox-shifter with a nasty temper and a rebellious streak a mile wide. Turning her is forbidden and she’s determined to fight me. But what do I care? I love a challenge, and if it’s illegal, so much the better.

In the end I’ll win everything. She’ll come to me, and when she does, I’ll make all her deepest, darkest dreams come true.

The Syndicate Masters are in the US! They were assigned as Guardians by the goddess over six centuries ago. Each generation brings new and different challenges. These ruthless and wild dons are the protectors, the Guardians of their territories.

On the Eastern Seaboard the Masters control horse racing, casinos, and gambling among other things. Get ready for over-the-top, possessive mob bosses who will do what is needed to find and protect their fated mates.

The Reviews

Donna L
5.0 out of 5 stars SIZZLING AND INTENSE. TRULY ENTERTAINING
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2023
Nothing is more satisfying than relaxing while reading a shifter story by Ms. James.
This cracker of a story was fast-paced, action-packed, and had a solid storyline. The
characters were well-developed and realistic despite their paranormal abilities.

Jace was progressive in his attitude to his mate. Their link was established before they
met. A powerful Panther shifter and alpha to his clan. Head of the Carlos syndicate. He
connected with Lauren through Dreamtime on an astral level. He was content with the
knowledge that he would recognize his fated mate on sight and did not actively seek her
out. Once Jace found Lauren and her vixens, he offer them the protection of his clan.

Jace plagued Lauren’s dreams. His presence soothed her and left her feeling content.
Lauren and her small group of vixens turned to stealing to gain independence. This put her in the firing line of the Albanian mob. Keeping them safe took its toll. I feel that Lauren danced on a fine edge of fear and vulnerability, and was happy to hand the
responsibility over to Jace.

I loved this story with its larger-than-life characters. I liked the twist and turns that kept me glued to the pages. Entertaining from start to finish.
Redrabbitt
VINE VOICE
5.0 out of 5 stars I AM YOUR DESTINY—YOU ARE MY FATED MATE
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2023
While the story is part of the Syndicate Masters: Eastern Seaboard, it will read as a stand-alone story. The story was set up at the end of High Stakes and I was fascinated with what little teaser was shared. The story did not disappoint this reader. I loved the characters and their interactions. I loved how Jace and Lauren had a deep connection before they met—even if it began in the dream world. The role that Lauren acquired as Alpha of a rogue band of vixens was never her intent, but she took her responsibilities seriously and did the best she could.

“You can’t hide forever little one. The link between us is growing stronger, and in the end, it will lead me to you.”

The story is full of mystery, suspense, danger, intrigue, and yes, definitely romance. I love the chemistry between Jace and Lauren and really hated to see their story end. The story has the good, the bad, and the evil in people and shifters. But, gladly, those who deserve retribution for their evil ways will find it in the end. Jace never really forces Lauren to accept his claim of fated mates—because they had shared on a higher plain with their erotic shared dreams. I think she was shocked to actually find him in person, and running away, but that won’t stop him from finding her. Every girl needs a strong man in her corner—even if she doesn’t think she does. I think that with all the responsibilities and burdens of leading the other vixens, giving over control to Jace was liberating.

“Be careful what you wish for, little one. You have a deal.”

When Jace and his soldiers come to the aid of Lauren and her vixens, they are kind, with reasonable options and solutions. There was no force, only realistic acquisition of the girls.
Lauren: Do I have a choice?

Jace: You always have choices, Lauren. It’s just that today I’m the best choice out of what I’m sure you see as a lot of bad options.

“Make no mistake, Lauren, you belong to me—heart, mind, body, and soul.”

Lauren: You’re impossible.
Jace: I am alpha and your fated mate. The whole kit and kaboodle of you will mind me.
What happens when evil comes to destroy? Has Lauren’s determination to make a stand from her skulk become her downfall? What will Jace do—or his team?
Jace: Little one, are you all right?
Lauren: I am now.
Jace: Then let me get you home.
Lauren: I am home. The minute you put your arms around me, I was home.

The story does have an epilogue—and the end of it is a setup for another book—probably another series.
	Auburn1234
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodness!!! One of the Best Yet!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 31, 2023
Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this story! Anxiety, check. Suspense, check. Alpha shifters, check. Fated mates, check. Set in one of my favorite parts of the U.S., South Florida a panther shifter and his fated mate, a fox shifter find fated love. Don't miss this one!

Stealing Her Heart (Wild Hearts Book 1)

Wonderful contemporary western tale. I didn’t read the first edition of this book but I definitely enjoyed reading this rewrite of it. To see familiar characters from the Wild Mustang Security series was a wonderful addition. Well done!

The Reluctant Retiree

What’s more dangerous, stealing wild mustangs away from rustlers or losing her heart to the Texas Ranger who catches her?

Etta Ross is determined to rescue the small herd of mustangs from the rustlers who want to smuggle them to Mexico for slaughter. To do so, she has to avoid running into the legendary Texas Rangers.

When sexy Texas Ranger, Brody Jensen, finds Etta wounded, stranded and on foot in the middle of nowhere, Etta is forced to come up with a quick cover-story to explain away her dire straits. Brody knows the fiery beauty wasn’t out for a casual walk. He is bound and determined to protect Etta who is adamant she can save herself.

Can Brody find a way to tame Etta’s wild ways while stealing her heart for himself?

This book was previously published under a different title/author name. It has been re-edited, updated and expanded slightly.

The Reviews

Redrabbitt
VINE VOICE
5.0 out of 5 stars DO YOU SUBMIT TO MY AUTHORITY?
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2023
I was impressed with this contemporary western story by Ms. Delta James, and it kept my attention and the pages turning as the tale unfolds. The story is full of mystery, suspense, murder, theft, angst, and passion. The tale takes the reader on a roller-coast ride of emotions, action, and adventure in this life and death story. Seeing that this is the first book in a series, I am already anticipating the next book. The story has a great cast of characters, and interactions, along with an intriguing storyline.

Multiple world champion equestrienne, Etta Ross, is passionate about many things, and that includes saving the wild mustangs that she knows are being captured, transported to Mexico, and sold to slaughterhouses. She can’t just allow that to happen, and along with her champion horse, she will attempt to rescue and lead a group of mares and fouls to safety.

Texas Ranger, Brody Jensen is concerned about the tire tracks he found, especially considering that there is a weight difference in the coming and going tracks. Going back to the area he will find Etta Ross on foot, but she has been shot in the shoulder. Dealing with her belligerent attitude, sassy mouth, and refusal of medical care will have him forcing the issue, including telling her he will arrest her. Learning that she knows the ringleader and that he also has her prized horse, adds to this case.

The plot will take the issue of the Mustangs to a more sinister level of crime. Etta won’t leave well enough alone and allow the Rangers to do their own investigating and Brody will take her to task. True to his word, he is going to punish her and then claim her.

“Brody. Her gentle whispering of his name felt like submission, sweet and welcome. And surprising.”

“That’s not how a remorseful little girl behaves, Etta. You don’t call me names, and you quit your squirming. You’re not going anywhere until I’m sure I’ve gotten through to you. Well, you let me know when you are done fighting and want me to think about this being over.”

The story will keep the reader on the edge of their seat as the Rangers uncover more about the rounding up of the wild mustangs. Taking Etta’s highly insured prized horse makes it grand theft, and there will be offers of deals being made. But is that going to be enough to keep Etta safe? Etta comes from a line of well-known great-grandparents, and she was brought up to ride, fight, hold her own, and shoot, and when she does shoot, she hits her target.

Brody is keeping her at his home and not allowing her to leave and there are many spankings to keep her in line. He has never had a woman he wanted, and his wild cowgirl has proven to be a spunky, sassy, handful, but he is determined she will be his. If he isn’t spanking her, putting her in the corner, he is making love to her until she doesn’t want to leave.

The story is one of power exchange and has many spankings, including using a belt, and explicit sex scenes.

Note: I previously read the story by this author when she previously released it under a different pen name. I have been a fan of her books from the beginning.
Donna L
4.0 out of 5 stars ACTION PACKED
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2023
This contemporary western romance story by Ms. James is filled with danger,
action, suspense, a dominant male, and a feisty spitfire who puts her love of
saving wild Mustangs before her safety. Enter Texas ranger Brody Jensen who
was determined to keep Etta safe no matter how many times she ends up over
his knees. The relationship between Brody and Etta developed quickly, too quickly for Etta to accept initially. Despite her adversity to Brody’s methods to keep her safe, she could not deny how much she enjoyed the intense pleasure that followed his discipline. Etta was a spitfire but there never a doubt that Brody was in control.
He wanted to possess her body and soul. Etta was an interesting character. She did not like to be told what to do but thrived on it. She continued to try Brody’s patience with her impulsive, dangerous behavior but this earned her painful consequences.
Brody was the entire package. Protective, dominant, warm, and confident. I admired how he always put Etta’s safety first and foremost.
JigsawGirl
4.0 out of 5 stars It Didn't Feel Like Instalove!
Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2023
I am not sure why I was expecting a shifter romance. Delta James has written a number of non-shifter romances. I was pleasantly surprised to find out this was one of her "fully human" romances, lol.

Brody and Etta's story had a nice amount of suspense. Behind the scenes, Etta was involved in similar work like Willa from Book 1 - Mac in The Wild Mustang series.

Etta was strong, independent, sassy, respected, and prone to putting herself in dangerous situations. I admired her fearlessness, while at the same time, thinking she was reckless. Brody was the typical dominant male believing strongly in discipline. He was also intelligent and respected in his own right.

There was instalove in this story, but it really didn't feel like it. I have to be honest. I can't remember if Brody and Etta had met previously, or if their meeting was a first time occurrence. It didn't feel like they didn't know one another.

Along with the suspense, there were elements of action and danger. I knew who was behind stealing the wild mustangs, but who was behind him? I still have questions. There was a whole mystery going on that would not have upset me had there were more details about it.

This was a fast paced read that I completed in one sitting. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. If dominant men, discipline spankings and detailed sex offend you, take a pass on this one.

I voluntarily read and reviewed the Advanced Reader Copy of this book.

Submission

Submission
L.K. Shaw
(Doms of Club Eden, #1)
Publication date: March 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense


The moment I laid eyes on Penny, her innocent, submissive nature called to my dominant side. I immediately volunteered to guide her exploration into my dark and decadent world.

I’m also playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with an obsessed psychopath whose goal is to destroy me. When my worlds threaten to collide, I’m forced to call it quits between us.

Soon I discover I’m too late, and she’s caught in the crossfire. Now, I’ll do everything in my power to protect the woman I’m falling for.


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EXCERPT:

“Who do we have here?” A deep, gravelly voice at my right drew my attention. My breath hitched and my body heated when I spotted the sexiest man I’d ever laid eyes on. I’d always been a sucker for a man with salt and pepper hair. Damn, he filled out that navy t-shirt nicely. My eyes traveled his full length before returning to his face. I flushed at the amused half-smile he wore at my perusal. It took me a moment to remember he’d asked me a question.

“Pe-Penny,” I stuttered, almost breathless as the heat in my face intensified. I don’t remember blushing this much before in my life. Fake it ’til you make it was my mantra. I stood a little taller and attempted to gain the confidence I typically displayed with chauvinistic surgeons.

“I’m Marcus.” His secret smile remained as he reached out to shake my hand. When I placed mine in his, he squeezed it firmly, and I thought I felt his thumb gently caress mine, but he pulled away before I could be sure.

“Nice to meet you.” The words came out a little shaky.

“So, what brings you out to play with us today?” His voice dropped suggestively.

Maintaining my barely-there confidence, I answered his question. “I’m curious about domination and submission. I figured this was the best place to gain some knowledge.”

“Knowledge about what?” Marcus asked, showing true interest.

Everything. I wanted to know what it felt like to give up control.

To just feel and not have to think.

To be dominated.

To have someone fulfill needs I didn’t even know I had.

I wanted to find my happily ever after, damn it. Sadly, I didn’t know how to express any of this.

I shrugged my shoulders. “Whatever someone will teach me.”

“Sweetness,” he murmured, “I’d be happy to teach you anything you want to know.”

Author Bio:

LK Shaw is the bestselling author of the sexy, sinful suspense. She resides in South Carolina with her high maintenance beagle mix dog, Miss P. An avid reader since childhood, she became hooked on historical romance novels in high school. She now reads, and loves, all romance sub-genres, with dark romance and romantic suspense being her favorite. LK enjoys traveling and chocolate. Her books feature hot alpha heroes and the strong women they love.

Want a FREE short story? Be sure to sign up for her newsletter and download your copy of A Birthday Spanking, a short story set in the Doms of Club Eden world! http://bit.ly/LKShawNewsletter

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Sea of Snakes

Sea of Snakes
Heidi Stark
Publication date: January 26th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dark Romance, Reverse Harem, Romance


Zeke, Skyler, Dom and Rake—they grew up on this island and are in charge of protecting its various interests. They’re used to being in control of everything here. Including the surf. I’ve been kidnapped by a dangerous man, and am being used as collateral while my father comes up with the funds to pay off his debt (sadly not the worst thing he’s ever done although it’s up there), and if he doesn’t come up with the cash soon I’ll be auctioned off to the highest bidder. In the meantime, these four men are tasked with keeping me in their control and protecting me, and they take their role very seriously.

But they’re not the only people to be concerned about. I’m tough in my own way. I can tell that they want all of me, to take me over like they do everything else. But five can play this game, and I’m not good at losing.

**This is a Dark Reverse Harem/Why Choose Romance. 18+. Warning: this book includes graphic violence and sex scenes, and references of abuse/assault that some readers may experience as triggering.


Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“It’s a protection job,” says the clipped voice. “We need you to hold her for us. She’s collateral for a debt.”

“What does that entail, exactly?”

“Like I said, we need you to hold her for us.” The voices pauses. “You can do whatever you like with her while she’s with you.”

“Oh, really?” Now he has my interest. “How long do we need to keep her for?” I wonder what the other guys are going to think of this.

“No more than ten days,” says the voice. “That’s how long our associate has to repay his debt.”

“How is this associate connected with this girl?” Skyler’s been teaching me to ask more questions rather than just accepting information at face value. I’m trying.

“You ask too many questions. But it’s her father.”

“How old is she? An adult, I am assuming? We’re not babysitters.”

“Yes, an adult. Not that it’s any of your business, but he crossed a contact back on the mainland and is here on what he believes to be a business trip. His debt has been on-sold to us, and he’s evidently having a little trouble accessing funds, as his primary asset source has been frozen.”

“I see.” I need to know more. There must be an end game to this. Tane wouldn’t ask us to help if he didn’t have a grand plan, or if he simply intends on disposing of her after the time is up. “And if he doesn’t repay it? What happens then?”

“She’ll be auctioned off to the highest bidder. And I have a feeling she’ll attract a high price. Maybe higher than the value of the debt. Even if the debt is repaid, we might reassess our next steps.” His tone is clinical.

Jesus, these guys are ruthless. We make sure to do just enough to stay on their good side, but we try to avoid getting involved with the human trafficking and hard drugs that they also control across the island chain.

“Oh, so she’s attractive?” He’s really piquing my interest here. Numerous buyers bidding on a woman. I wonder how someone determines the price to purchase a human.

This isn’t something we’ve done before, harboring a captive, and it’s definitely on the cusp of what we’re prepared to do.

I wonder what Zeke will have to say. Skyler is slightly more mellow than him, but they both tend to be overly cautious. Whereas I’m usually up for anything. And, well, Rake is up for anything involving a woman.

“You’ll see.” The voice on the other end lets out an icy chuckle, causing a shiver to creep up my back.

I have no doubt that Tane’s men are evil, just like him. I’m no angel myself, but my soul is just dark, whereas his simply doesn’t exist.

“Do you expect anyone to come looking for her?” I glance at my free hand again and crack my knuckles.

I wouldn’t mind an excuse to use my fists, maybe curry a little favor with our captive to give her reason to be grateful to me. Nothing like a damsel in distress who owes you their life.

“That’s for you to worry about,” says the voice. “But again, she’s yours to do with as you please while she’s with you. Just don’t do anything that will… lower her market value too much, if you catch my drift.”

“That leaves a lot of options.” I can’t help but grin.

The person at the other end of the phone directs me to stay tuned for further instructions, and then they click off the call.

It’s been a while since I’ve been around a woman. I tend to avoid them. Sure, I’ll have a little casual fun with a random woman every now and then. No strings attached, a one-time event where nobody catches feelings.

But that’s where I leave things. Because ultimately women are dangerous, and from my experience, they inflict nothing but pain.



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Rescue Me

Rescue Me
Kelly Collins
(A Frazier Falls Small Town Novel, #1)
Publication date: December 5th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


Her company is failing. His plan could save it. Will their partnership move from business to pleasure?

Carla “Carl” Stevenson takes a special joy in running the local timber mill. But when the economy takes a downturn, selling the family business may be her only heartbreaking option. After a prospective buyer takes an interest, she’s horrified by his plans to raze the Frazier forest to make room for cheap cattle farming. To protect her home, she reluctantly turns to the town’s most notorious player…

Owen Cooper can’t believe Carl’s mill is for sale. But the construction company owner is even more shocked that “Carl” is actually a beautiful woman. Moved by feelings he never saw coming, Owen drafts an ambitious plan to save the mill owner’s livelihood… and maybe even win her heart.

Rallying their community around the audacious idea, Owen and Carl find their fates delightfully intertwined. But both their chemistry and the project hang in the balance when he suddenly walks away…

With the whole town at stake, will Carl and Owen save the mill and find their way to true love?

Rescue Me is the heartwarming first novel in the Frazier Falls romance series. If you like strong women, honorable men, and small-town love, then you’ll adore Kelly Collins’ charming tale. Buy Rescue Me to build a foundation of passion today!


Goodreads / Amazon

FREE for a limited time only!

EXCERPT:

When I reached the mill, my heart sank. Only one car remained in the parking lot.

What were the odds the car belonged to one of the two people that could help me out? I had to try. Parking alongside the red Subaru, I swung myself out of my truck and made my way inside the building.

It was quiet. All production had ceased for the weekend. The silence gave the large, cold space an unsettling, almost eerie feel, like the set of a horror movie where the saws would buzz to life, and the clueless guest would disappear forever.

I didn’t know where I was going, but eventually I found a door marked ‘R&C Stevenson.’ I took that as a good omen that I’d found the offices of Rich and Carl.

After several calming breaths, I raised my hand. Once, twice, I knocked, and on the third try, the door flung open and revealed the most gorgeous woman I’d ever seen. All thoughts left me as I stared at her.

Her long chestnut hair was gathered high on her head. The flyaway strands framed her beautiful, heart-shaped face. Her eyes were hazel, and in the early evening light, the gold flecks in her irises appeared on fire. Though she was wearing a dirty pair of gray overalls, I imagined she had a killer figure with the way the material flowed over rounded hips.

I realized far too late that I’d been gawking at her. The flush of embarrassment heated my cheeks.

“Um, sorry, I … I was hoping to, um,” I coughed and sputtered.

She ran her eyes from my work boots to the cowlick on the top of my head. Her perusal was thorough and somewhat unsettling in a good way.

“What were you hoping for, Mr. Cooper?”

“I’m looking for … Wait, how do you know who I am?” Surely, I couldn’t have met her before. I would have remembered those eyes. They were half meadow and half sky with a sprinkling of sunshine throughout.

Her mouth quirked up in amusement. “I try to know what all of my clients look like, even if we haven’t met face to face.”

“I’m sorry. Who are you? I need to speak to Rich or Carl Stevenson.”

She laughed, and it was a ridiculously beautiful sound. “That would be me.” She pointed to herself. “Carl, not Rich. Well, Carla.” She offered her hand for a shake. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person, Owen.

Author Bio:

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International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly has sold more than a quarter of a million books worldwide, and in 2021 she was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Award Gold Medal in the Contemporary Romance category for A Tablespoon of Temptation.

You can learn more about Kelly at http://www.authorkellycollins.com.

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5 Sustainable Healthy Habits for 2023

Perhaps you’ve tried to make new year’s resolutions in the past, but for some reason, you’ve never been able to stick to them. In 2023, you can finally fulfill your resolutions by setting gradual, realistic goals. For example, if you’d like to read more books, you can commit to reading ten pages each day and create a reading list by checking out Book Reviews by the Reluctant Retiree! Here are a few other habits you could adopt this year, from keeping a cleaner home to waking up earlier.

Keep Your Home Clean

It’s hard to feel your best in a cluttered, messy home. If it’s been a while since you decluttered and deep cleaned your home, the new year gives you the perfect opportunity! You’ll want to start by donating or throwing out any items you no longer need. Next, block off a weekend to thoroughly deep clean each room. Finally, spruce up your space by getting some houseplants and keeping your blinds open to let in more natural light.

Read Daily

Maybe it’s been a while since you read a book, but you miss the feeling of getting lost in a great story. Reading brings lots of benefits – for example, Everyday Health states that reading can lower your stress levels, deepens your empathy for others, and even boosts your cognitive function.

You don’t have to force yourself to read through a stack of classic novels to get back into reading. Instead, choose a couple of books you think you might enjoy, and block off time to read a reasonable number of pages each day. You could choose to read with your morning coffee or before you go to bed.

Exercise Regularly

Lots of people make fitness-related resolutions each year. But if you try to rapidly shift from a sedentary lifestyle to working out every day, you’re likely to give up early or even injure yourself by exercising too intensely right off the bat. Try adding two to three workout sessions per week to your schedule, and consider connecting with a personal trainer who can help you design an exercise routine around your abilities and goals.

Wake Up Earlier

Do you have a tendency to sleep in? Maybe you’d like to start waking up earlier this year so that you’ll have plenty of time for a morning routine before your workday begins. Even if you’ve always considered yourself a night owl, you can slowly shift your usual wake-up time. Sleep Advisor recommends ensuring that you’re going to bed early enough to get between seven and nine hours of sleep, ditching alcohol and caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, placing your alarm clock far away from your bed, and tucking your phone in a drawer before bedtime so that you don’t end up scrolling late at night.

Drink More Water

Many people don’t even realize that they are chronically dehydrated. If you suspect that you’re not as hydrated as you should be, you could make a resolution to drink more water this year. To accomplish this, try getting a large reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout the day and putting a glass of water by your bedside before you go to sleep so that you can focus on hydration as soon as you wake up.

When it comes to new year’s resolutions, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Instead of setting huge, ambitious goals, you can pick up some simple habits that can significantly improve your quality of life. Whether you want to read more books, cultivate a cleaner home, or start exercising, these tips have got you covered!

Looking for your next favorite book? Turn to Book Reviews by the Reluctant Retiree! Browse the blog today to find exciting new reads.

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Guest Post by Jason Kenner

Jason Kenner, On-Par Parent
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