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!

High Roller: Syndicate Masters: Eastern Seaboard #2


Axel gave Victoria an impossible choice, and she chose him.

Victoria
My brother is dead. He’s been dead for five years and no one seems inclined to bring those who killed him to justice. Well, no one except me.

Axel
I’m in negotiation with the Albanian mob. They think I’m going to stand with them against the others. They’re wrong. Atlantic City is my town… or at least it’s going to be. And then I see her across a crowded bar at one of the city’s best casinos.

When Axel saves me from a drunk at the Blue Eye, I let myself have a wonderful weekend of indulgence and pleasure. When Axel wants me for arm candy at a high stakes poker game I figure why not?

Only that poker game is about far more than I knew and now I’m caught up in it with no way out.

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

Irene Talbert
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS SERIES....
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 5, 2023
Verified Purchase
This is the second book in the Syndicate Masters: Eastern Seaboard series. It's a fast-paced and standalone book that will keep you engaged from start to finish. There's action, adventure, drama, danger, suspense, twist/turns, enemies, survival, intrigue, humor, mystery/secrets, surprises, family, friends/friendships, anger, fear, pain, conflict, resolution, confusion, confidence, strength, courage, trust, truths, stubbornness, struggles, protection, kidnapping, tension, arrogance, doubts, turmoil (emotional), annoyance, complications, threats, confrontations, trauma, possession/possessiveness, compromise, treachery, conspiracies, acceptance, corruption, frustration, determination, patience, revenge/vengeance, betrayal, chaos, murder, grief, justice, mayhem, happiness, romance, passion/lust and love.
This is a story about a h who is looking for her brother's killer(s) and all she can think about is the revenge that she wants to deal out to said killer(s) and the H is the leader of the Scimitar Syndicate, a Scimitar cat shifter and in need of a mate.
Read to find out what happens. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and this review is my own opinion
Jen B.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mobster and a Greiving Sister
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 31, 2022
Axel leads his clan and he loves it. He wants to find his fated mate because he understands it's time and he's ready. He even has a good idea who she is so he's delighted when he sees her in a bar. Tori is grieving the murder of her brother and is determined to avenge his death. She gets swept away when she meets Axel in a bar. The two of them find themselves in danger and have to solve a mystery to find their happily ever after.

Axel is an alpha, a gangster, the head of his clan, and he is trying to modernize his people (but only a little bit because he's still an "alpha"). I like that he was willing to let Tori get used to his world before he forced her to become a shifter. Tori is smart and capable. I like that she taught herself how to avenge her brother's death. They are a good couple. They do fall in love immediately and both accept that they are fated mates. The author did give an explanation for how they fall in love so fast.

I enjoyed this book. I think you can read this without reading the other books in the series but I would suggest reading the prior book first since the events take place at the same time. This is a contemporary romance that takes place in New Jersey.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Redrabbitt
VINE VOICE
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU ARE NO LONGER ALONE
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 30, 2022
The story is the second in the Syndicate Masters—Eastern Seaboard series. While it will mention some of the people from the first book, this book will read well as a stand-alone. The story will mainly focus on the two main characters, Axel Crane and Victoria ‘Tori’ Houghton.

The story will have some back story of Tori and her late brother David. It is his death that sets Tori in motion for revenge, and she begins to execute her plans. Axel knows it is time to lay claim to his fated mate—something that will make his clan very happy to see happen. When Tori and Axel meet and decide to have a hookup, they sizzle. Axel knows who she is, and she knows him and his reputation—but not that he is about to claim her. The erotic chemistry between them sizzles off the pages. I liked them together, but I will say that one scene was shocking but eventually resolved.

Tori: I’m not sure what to do with you, Axel.
Axel: I have a whole list of items I’d like to do with and to you.
Tori: Do I want to know what they are?
Axel: Depends on how lucky I’m going to get with you tonight.
Tori: Just tonight.
Axel: Oh, yeah. I’m going to get plenty lucky with you.
Tori: You’re sure of that.
Axel: I am. The only question is when that’s going to happen because you and I are inevitable—some might even say fated.
Tori: Does that no strings attached drink transfer to a hot anonymous night with you?
Axel: It wouldn’t be anonymous, but it would be hot, righteous, and nasty sex. I’ll have you naked before I get you on the bed and I’ll be at you all night.
Tori: Yeah? I think I could do with a night like that, but come tomorrow morning, it’s neutral corners.
Axel: Neutral corners in the morning, but you agree to have dinner with me and come to a high-end poker game with me tomorrow night.

The story is a fast-paced tale with things from the past and present intertwining. The chemistry also has angst besides passion. Not everyone is what they seem, some will betray those they call friends. The story has the good, the bad, and the dangerous. Life and death issues, murder, revenge, and resolutions are all part of this tale. I found the story exciting and the characters likable

Cusp of Darkness

Cusp of Darkness
Olivia Preya
(The Cusp Series, #1)
Publication date: January 20th 2023
Genres: Adult, Mafia, Romance


Valerius Cafarelli
In my world, we live and die for our family. We brand our skin with symbols of loyalty and rank that bind us together. It’s time to step from behind the scenes and claim my birthright, leader of the Cafarelli family. But the mafia is nothing if not set in tradition. Marriage is the only way to claim what’s rightfully mine.
When the angel I’ve protected from a distance suddenly needs me as much as I need her, I make an offer she can’t refuse.

She is a candle in the night.
She is a prayer to the gods.
She is the knife that brings me to my knees.

Adaliya Solarin
I took an oath to save lives, trying to redeem myself from a bloody night where I played judge, jury, and executioner. I worked hard to erase all traces of the night I claimed revenge, but my mind can’t forget the man who ensured I’d never be put away for my crime.

Now I need someone to help me save my father from himself. When I’m left desperate and defeated, the man who saved me once offers one last chance at survival. What can I do but make a deal with the devil?

He is the bump in the night.
He is my darkest temptations come to life.
He is my salvation.

Cusp of Darkness is book one of the Cusp series but can be read as a standalone. It has a guaranteed HEA, swoon-worthy anti-hero, and badass heroine. This is an interracial mafia romance containing explicit sex scenes, graphic violence, and is recommended for readers 18+. Please check the author’s website for the full list of content warnings on the author’s website.


Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Valerius suddenly hiked up a leg, holding it firmly with one hand on my calf and the other discarding the slipper on my foot.

“Hey!” I protested; the motion propelled me back onto my elbows and I scrambled to keep the towel from riding up. I froze, unsure of what he was doing. Unsure of what I wanted him to do. I was hyper-aware of my lack of underwear and his proximity. My mind told me to wiggle my foot out of his hold, but my body wanted to have his hands on me for as long as possible.

Valerius ignored me and inspected the pad of my food intently, stroking his thumb over the sole and narrowing his eyes. A strangled sound escaped my throat as tingles shot straight from his touch to my core. Valerius’s hand was rough and easily clasped my ankle, pulling the entirety of my focus to his touch. I never thought my feet were erogenous zones, but God was I wrong. He flicked his gaze to mine briefly and his bright green eyes were now dark. The cruel, cruel man then suddenly dropped the one foot and picked up the other, repeating the same treatment without a word.

“Listen,” My voice strained too much to sound normal, but I continued anyway. “Foot fetishes are super common, or so I’ve heard. I don’t judge. But I’m not really into that kind of kink.”

“Oh yeah?” His eyes caught mine and he started kneading my foot, hitting a pressure point that made my body simultaneously light up and release pressure at the same time. My head fell back onto the bed, and I stifled a moan. “Then what is your kink, angelo?”

“I don’t have one.” Lies. I had fantasies, don’t get me wrong. But I would never bring them to life. The romance books I read gave me a slew of ideas, but it was one thing to read about bondage and voyeurism and a complete other to act on them.

He stopped his stroking of my sensitive flesh and I almost pouted. Instead, he traced his hand up my calf to bend my knee and stepped into the narrow space between my thighs. He maintained a firm grip on my leg, and I yelped as the towel started to ride up and cool air touched me. I was naked under the towel, and he was getting closer than I should allow. But Valerius kept his eyes on mine the entire time, not once glancing toward my almost exposed pussy. “What did I say about lying?”

I swallowed as he brought his face to mine, balancing his weight on his arm right above my head and fanning his warm breath over me. The position was too close, too intimate. If he lowered himself a fraction more, the length of his torso would press into mine. I bit my lip and turned away, but he caught my chin and forced it back to face him.

“My kinks are none of your business. It’s not like we’re lovers.” I tried to sound matter of fact, but it came out too breathy. His eyes hardened and he dropped my leg before pulling back suddenly.

“Your feet have healed well from when you stepped on glass,” I appreciated him not explicitly referring to the night of Derrek’s death. “But you could have easily torn them again last night without shoes.” Valerius turned away from me and walked to a chair by the window, leaving me to catch my breath on the bed. He was giving me whiplash with this conversation.

“Huh?

“You need to take better care of your body. I will not have you neglect your needs and unnecessarily harm your body.”

“It’s my body.” I huffed. I didn’t intentionally seek to harm myself, but who was he to tell me what to do with my body.

“Wrong. While we are married, it is my body. And you will treat it well.” He sat in the chair and watched me. I clenched my thighs together. Why did my stomach knot and face flush when he said it was his body? That should make me furious. “And you can keep your deepest, darkest fantasies to yourself for now. But I’ll learn them soon enough. And angelo, you’ll be glad I did.”

I scrambled off the bed. The power dynamic seemed too unbalanced with me––vulnerable and on a bed, practically naked and him radiating power and dominance on a chair.

“I told you, I’m not having sex with you.”

“And I told you we wouldn’t until you begged.” He dragged his eyes over my body, and I felt completely naked. Holy mother of God.

Author Bio:

Olivia Preya is a romance fanatic and author living in Toronto, Canada. She writes about what she loves—love, spice, and panty-dropping men with a soft spot for the love of their lives. When life gets a little tough or bland, she finds that fictional men are the best medicine.

Olivia considers herself to have two personas, like Wonder Woman, but with a pen––corporate marketing specialist by day and spicy romance author by night. She also likes to embrace all forms of sensuality, from pole dancing and erotic novels to good food; she believes that sometimes the best things in life are a little sinful.

Website / Twitter / Instagram / TikTok


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Amato Sisters of La Cosa Nostra

An Art Thief, an Information Broker, and a Jewelry Designer each meet the Italian Mafia boss of their dreams. (Even if they wouldn’t agree with that assessment at the time!) This series is just what you wanted. Enjoy people!

The Reluctant Retiree

Ruthless Honor

Lucrezia Amato – Oldest of the three sisters. Trained in Art & Antiquities, “Zia” makes her money as an art thief under the pseudonym of “El Spirito”.

Roman Genovese – Poseidon’s Tiger, head of the Poseiden Syndicate.

Feral Oath

Rafaella Amato – What was once known as “black hat hacker”, now called an “Information Broker”. Under the pseudonym of “La Pantera”, she is hired by Nico to find the stunning submissive he played with at Dantes.

Nico Falconeri – jaguar, Predator of Palermo, Rapace Syndicate

Defiant Vow

Serena Amato – youngest of the three siblings, jewelry designer

Aries Borgia – Lion of Atlantis, Lionheart Syndicate

The Women of the Syndicate Masters: Northern Light

Alliance

Marley Knight – His arm was wrapped around her hips, while the other hand fisted the black locks of her hair, holding her in place as he pounded into her, reveling in her wet response that told him anger was not all she felt.

Gunnar Madsen, the Ice Lion of Aarhus, Blood Eagle Syndicate

Complication

Gabriella Broussard – By the time she’d pulled her long red curls up into a high ponytail and adjusted the shower temperature, she’d finished her first. His Gabriella wasn’t much shorter but had a far more curvaceous figure. She had an interesting, intelligent, and pretty face, large firm breasts, a smaller waist, and generous hips a man could use to his advantage when he fucked her. Her legs were long and well formed.

Anders Jensen, Snow Leopard, I am the Sentinel of Sabu, Valhalla Syndicate.

Judgement

Rhys Donovan, – A stunning blonde with violet eyes, her hair the color of honey, entered the room and a shroud of silence fell over the lounge. She glanced around, spotted him, and then took a table at the opposite end of the lounge. She was dressed in a lilac corset with raised embroidery of the same color and a matching thong.

Lars Jakobsson- Winter Tiger, Berserker of Gotland, Head of the Berserker Syndicate.

Bratva Sweetheart

Bratva Sweetheart
Sabine Barclay
(The Ivankov Brotherhood, #2)
Published by: Oliver Heber Books
Publication date: August 9th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mafia, Romance


She thought it was only for one night…

I’ve never let anyone into my life.

At least not like her. Not until her.

She sees a side of me that isn’t the bratva monster everyone else believes.

Now that she knows, she’s mine.

Mine to keep and protect. Mine to please. In return, it’s her love I crave. She’s my soulmate.

Every kiss, every touch will take her to her limits, and I’ll be the one to catch her.

Bratva Sweetheart is an interconnecting, standalone Dark Mafia Romance with a HEA and no cliffhanger. It contains extra-steamy scenes that will make your toes curl and your granny blush. This is book two in The Ivankov Brotherhood, a six-book series that’ll keep you warm at night.


Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I can’t help but love people watching in a strip club. It’s New York City, so there’s usually something shady going on somewhere. Sometimes it’s more than just a lap dance. Sometimes it’s a guy getting thrown out for trying to make it more than just a lap dance. And sometimes you see the most unlikely people conducting business. I’m certain that’s one of the club owners. Pussycats. How utterly unoriginal. But damn, he can call this place whatever he wants. He’s hot.

“Bourbon on the rocks with a splash of water.”

“If you drank vodka, you wouldn’t need to dilute the taste.”

That voice. It’s sin waiting to happen. I look to my left, and the man who’d been in the corner talking to a rather large Italian-looking guy is now beside me. He was hot from a distance. He’s Lucifer in a suit up close. Are my panties on the floor? Those blue eyes might have just made them drop. They’re certainly wetter than they were a few minutes ago, watching Todd and the understudy stripper. God, I can be a b*tch. The girl is just doing her job.

“I had a bad experience with vodka in college. I steer clear.”

“Made yourself sick?”

“And if I’d like to continue to enjoy orange juice without being certain I taste vodka, I stay away.”

I offer him what I hope is a slightly sarcastic yet sexy smiley kind of smirk. From the way he’s grinning, it either worked, or he thinks I’m batsh*t. Oh! Maybe he did like it. He smells amazing, and now his chest is practically against the side of my shoulder. I can smell the hint of vodka on his breath, and for once, it doesn’t make me want to shiver and turn away.

“You didn’t look like you were having a good time earlier. Boyfriend not paying enough attention? Or perhaps too much attention?”

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Your date then.”

“Not a date. Those both imply romance. That’s not our arrangement. Partners in crime. Partners in fun. Definitely not partners in life.” I cock an eyebrow, waiting to see how he responds to me basically admitting that Todd is a f*ck buddy. We tried going on a couple dates. We enjoyed each other’s company, and we really enjoy having sex together, but no sparks ever flew for either of us.

“So you came for an appetizer, and I suppose you’re supposed to be the main course later.”

I look back over my shoulder and can’t find Todd. He’s not at the table I just left. I wonder if he went to the bathroom. He better not be taking care of anything, otherwise, I’ll have to do all the work to get him revved up again. Sometimes we enjoy the foreplay, but that wasn’t the deal tonight.

“Something like that.”

“But only one of you gets to sample. That hardly seems fair.”

“It’s fine for tonight.” Todd and I have been to clubs that allow us to do more than just watch. He might get a lap dance, and I might get his fingers. I might sit on his lap while he f*cks me, and I get a lap dance. We’re kinky like that, but we’ve never had a full-on threesome. Women just don’t interest me enough for that. Now two guys? One can only wish.

Mr. No Name shakes his head when the bartender approaches, and I reach for my purse. Before I can insist that I pay, he’s picking up both of our drinks and turning away from the guy. I don’t know what to say beyond a mumbled thanks. I follow this guy, which I know is ridiculous, but I’m too damn curious for my own good. He steers us away from the men in the corner where I first spotted him. There’s another man who looks so much like him they could be twins. My mystery man nods to his lookalike before taking us to a corner table on the opposite side of the stage.

“You can see if your friend returns. That way you won’t miss him.”

There’s something about his tone. Those two sentences have more than one meaning. As I meet his gaze, I can see it just as much as I heard it.

“Thank you for my drink. But I usually don’t accept drinks from strangers.”

“Good thing you watched it being poured. I’m Bogdan Kutsenko.”

Oh, holy f*cking sh*t. I thought he might be, but now I know. He’s a f*cking billionaire. He and his brothers own a slew of strip clubs, casinos, commercial developments, and Lord only knows what else. And I’m fairly certain that whatever else is not even close to legal. I’ve heard the rumors. Russian mafia.

“You recognize my name. Should I let you go back to your friend?”

Author Bio:

Sabine Barclay, a nom de plume also writing Historical Romance as Celeste Barclay, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons. Growing up in the Midwest, Sabine enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could. Now she lives near the beach. She’s an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower. Before becoming a full-time author, Sabine was a Social Studies and English teacher. She holds degrees in International Affairs (BA), Secondary Social Science (MAT), and Political Management (MPS). She channels that knowledge into creating engrossing contemporary romances that will make your toes curl and your granny blush.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Amazon / Instagram / Newsletter


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Keeping My Girl – Blitz

Keeping My Girl
Angela Snyder
(Keeping What’s Mine, #2)
Publication date: July 19th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


Nico Vitale

The girl I fell in love with was ripped from my arms, never to be heard from again.

She was sold to the cruelest man on the planet, Constantine Carbone — my family’s number one enemy.

Over the years, I haven’t stopped looking for Selina.

And then one fateful night, I finally find her.

In a move that will undoubtedly bring war upon my family, I save Selina, killing Constantine’s son in the process.

I soon come to realize that Selina is nothing like the girl I once fell in love with, but none of that matters.

She’s mine.

She’s always been mine.

And when her past comes back to haunt her, threatening to steal her away from me again, I vow to do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

This time I’m not letting her go.

Author’s note: Keeping My Girl is Nico Vitale’s story, and although it is a standalone, it would be better enjoyed after reading Keeping My Bride.
**Warning: Due to the sensitive subject matter contained in this book, it may cause triggers. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

SELINA

I WAKE UP slowly, my vision blurry as I rapidly blink away the moisture in my eyes. Once my vision begins to clear, I study the room I’m in. It’s lavish, luxuriously decorated in muted grays and purples. And the first thing that comes to mind is that I’m back in Constantine’s clutches.

I try to remember the last thing that happened, and my heart begins to pound rapidly in my chest like an angry war drum when the memories come flooding back in a rush.

Gino was assaulting me.

There was a stranger in the room.

The knife.

Gino’s neck being sliced open.

Me being covered in blood…and other gross stuff that I can’t even think about right now.

Me struggling to breathe.

And then…nothing.

Now I am here, and I have no idea exactly where here is. Did the man in the room work for Constantine? No, he couldn’t have. Constantine wouldn’t have sent a hitman after his only son. And if I’m not with Constantine but with the man who drugged and kidnapped me…then I might be in bigger trouble than if I was with my original captor.

Sitting up, I stare down at my right arm, which has an IV needle sticking out of it. Wincing, I pull the needle out and quickly climb out of bed. My heart beats in a weird staccato as I grab onto things to help with my balance and make my way over to one of the large windows on the other side of the room.

It’s getting dark outside, so I can’t see much. My eyes dart around, fixating on the high fence surrounding the property. Have I been here before? I search for anything that looks familiar. Constantine has many homes scattered all over the US and in other countries, and I think I have been to all of them. Perhaps I’ve been here before with him.

I try to think harder, but my brain is fuzzy and I’m having trouble focusing.

My pills. I need my pills.

I stare down at my wrists. The fact that I’m not chained or handcuffed in some way and the fact that I am dressed, albeit in a hospital gown, is all new to me. I was Constantine’s property, and he liked to remind me of that often.

The door to the room swings open suddenly, and I jump back from the window, alarmed. A young woman dressed in dark blue scrubs enters the room, and her eyes widen when she sees me.

“You’re awake,” she says, clearly surprised. Her bright blue eyes immediately shift to my arm, and I follow her gaze there. “And you pulled your IV out.” She frowns when she sees the blood dripping down my arm. “Please get back in bed. I’m going to go get some bandages and disinfectant. I’ll be right back.”

She leaves the room, and the door is left open. When she disappears into another room down the hallway, I decide now is my chance to try to escape.


Author Bio:

Angela Snyder is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Angela grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania with a passion for reading and writing stories since she was a child. She recently decided to pursue her lifelong dream and published her debut novel, Vampire Next Door, in 2013. Angela currently lives in an even smaller town in Pennsylvania with her husband and her very spoiled Golden Retriever.

In October 2015, the paranormal romance anthology Wicked After Dark, including her standalone debut novel, Vampire Next Door, hit #13, her lucky number, on the New York Times bestseller list.

On January 17, 2019, the romantic suspense anthology, Wanted: An Outlaw Anthology, including her novel, Devious, hit #64 on the USA Today’s Best Sellers List.

Angela has continued to top Amazon’s bestseller charts with her newest release, Keeping My Bride.

Sign up for Angela’s newsletter to be the first to know about her upcoming new releases, sales, freebies and more: http://eepurl.com/cNF0o5

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Painted Scars – Blitz

Painted Scars
Neva Altaj
(Perfectly Imperfect, #1)
Publication date: May 24th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


The first book in a new mafia romance series.

Nina

Charming, captivating, and seductive,
And a cold-blooded killer.
But I married the Pakhan of the Russian Bratva anyway.
I had to. It was part of the deal.

Now, I’m faking marital bliss,
As I tremble with fear,
And I cannot wait to be out of the clutches of this ruthless man.

Roman

I get anything I desire.
And I want this perfectly imperfect little manipulator.

The way she can deceive anyone into believing she’s crazy in love with me,
Just makes me want her even more.

She doesn’t know it yet,
But I am not letting her go.
The deal – is off.

*Painted Scars is a full-length novel with several open-door steamy scenes, no cheating and a guaranteed HEA.

This is the first book in Perfectly Imperfect mafia series, and compared to the other books in the series, it’s not overly dark. Painted Scars is primarily a love story which focuses on the relationship between Nina and Roman, and while there are a few scenes depicting violence, it’s considerably lighter than the sequels.


Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

(ROMAN POV)

I follow his gaze and my eyes land on a woman in a long emerald-green dress. Black embroidered decorations accentuate the neckline and her tiny waist, and then flow along the edges of a high slit, revealing one slender leg. My eyes trail the slit upward until they stop at her face, and I almost fail to recognize her. She removed the nose ring. Her hair is different as well, pulled up on the top of her head in some complicated design. I can hardly believe that this is the same woman I met a few days earlier.


Author Bio:

Neva Altaj writes steamy contemporary mafia romance about damaged antiheroes and strong heroines who fall for them. She has a soft spot for crazy jealous, possessive alphas who are willing to burn the world to the ground for their woman.

Her stories are full of heat and unexpected turns, and a happily-ever-after is guaranteed every time.

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Thief – Blitz

Thief
Leslie Georgeson
(Popov Bratva, #4)
Publication date: June 14th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mafia, Romance, Suspense


I live by one simple rule.

Do not get attached.

Feelings are a weakness that I can’t allow.

It’s an easy rule to abide by. Keep everyone at a distance.

Then a sassy, smart-mouthed redhead interferes in my heist. For the first time in my life, I botch the job.

If I let her go, she’ll turn me in. I have no choice other than to take her hostage.

Too late, I learn she’s a celebrity. Her disappearance will make the headlines and lead back to me. She’s nothing but trouble in a tight, sexy body.

Can I strike a deal with a woman who challenges me at every turn?

Then I discover she has secrets that could ruin her. Now I have the upper hand. I plan to use it to my advantage.

She has more to lose than I do. Or so I think.

I am about to learn that some rules are meant to be broken.


Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

My stomach dropped. Had I seriously lost my wallet? This was not good. I needed to go back to the store before they closed and see if I could find it.

It was ten-thirty at night. The store closed at eleven. I needed to hurry.

There might be a slim chance someone had found my wallet and turned it in to someone at the store. It was also possible I’d dropped it somewhere and it still lay where it had fallen. If I hurried, I might actually get lucky and find it before someone picked it up.

The paparazzi should be long gone by now.

Snatching up my purse, I tossed my phone inside and headed for the garage. I’d never lost my wallet before. I wouldn’t feel better until I had it back in my possession.

Snagging a hoodie from the coat rack by the back door, I slipped it over my head. Moments later, I was in my Audi R8 and pulling out of the garage. I’d fallen in car lust the moment I’d seen the sleek and sexy convertible at the car dealership last year. Melanie called it a “dickmobile” and I loved the description with its intended pun. The sports car had cost me over a hundred and fifty grand. It was one of my few splurges. Mostly, I was careful with my money, investing over half of it for the future. I was smart enough to know I wouldn’t be on top forever. Everyone’s career had its ups and downs. Considering where I’d come from, I wasn’t about to be too confident. Today I might have it all, but tomorrow I might have squat.

I took nothing for granted.

Ten minutes later, I reached the store. 10:45 p.m. I still had fifteen minutes until closing.

The parking lot was nearly empty now. Only a few cars remaining. A sleek black Escalade. A beat-up blue Honda. A nondescript gray sedan.

Assuming the owner of the Escalade was wealthy, probably a celebrity and unlikely to care if he or she spotted another celebrity, I parked next to it. Plus, I felt safer parking near another expensive car. People with nice cars were less likely to ding your vehicle with their doors.

Pulling the hoodie up over my head to hide my face and stuffing a pepper spray in the pocket for my safety—a girl could never be too cautious—I exited the car and hurried toward the south entrance where Gus had picked us up earlier. If I couldn’t find my wallet on the ground, then I would go inside and ask the store clerk if someone had turned it in.

I’d only taken about eight or nine steps across the parking lot when I sensed a movement behind me.

My skin prickling, I whirled around.

A man dressed all in black slipped out of the back of the Escalade and rushed around to the driver’s side of my Audi, his face hidden beneath a black balaclava.

My mouth dropped open.

Are you kidding me?

Frozen with shock and cursing my dumb luck and the decision to park near the SUV, I could only stare as my car bleeped, the lights flashing as it unlocked, and the man slipped behind the wheel. Of my car. How the hell did he unlock it?

What I did next was probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But I wasn’t about to lose my precious Audi in addition to my wallet.

Pulling the pepper spray from the pocket of my hoodie, I raced back to my car just as the engine fired up.

Oh, no, you don’t, asshole!

Yanking the passenger’s side door open, I leaped into the vehicle just as it started to move forward.

The man jerked toward me in surprise.

I aimed the pepper spray at his face.

And pressed the trigger.


Author Bio:

Leslie Georgeson writes romance and suspense, sometimes with a dash of sci-fi or paranormal tossed in to make things more interesting. She is the author of the popular military romantic suspense series, THE DREGS, which was nominated for the 2018 TopShelf Indie Book Awards. Her other titles include the UNLIKELY HEROES series, the UNDERNEATH series, the standalone romantic mystery, NO SON OF MINE, and the newly released romantic suspense duet, THE PACT. Book one, The Mocking Man, is now available on Amazon.

Leslie lives with her husband and daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho. She is currently working on The Honest Liar, the second book in THE PACT, and anticipates an early May 2020 release.

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Bratva Darling – Blitz

Bratva Darling
Sabine Barclay
(The Ivankov Brotherhood, #1)
Published by: Oliver Heber Books
Publication date: June 28th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mafia, Romance


I wasn’t prepared for her…
She just got me to pay three times as much as I wanted for a company I’ll buy and destroy.

She knows who I am. The bratva doesn’t scare her.

Intelligent, brave, and unstoppable.

I’ll make her mine.

She doesn’t know it yet, but we’re soulmates.

I’ll take her to her limits. Then give her all her heart desires.

The Bratva Darling is an interconnecting, standalone Dark Mafia Romance with a HEA and no cliffhanger. It contains extra-steamy scenes that will make your toes curl and your granny blush. This is book one in The Ivankov Brotherhood, a six-book series that’ll keep you warm at night.


Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Laura

As I sit across from the four Kutsenko brothers, I press my lips together to keep from drooling. No four men should be so strikingly handsome. Not all from the same family, anyway. I fight a valiant battle against letting my gaze drift toward the eldest, Maksim, whose ice-blue eyes bore into me. After years of negotiating billion-dollar investment contracts while facing countless ruthless businessmen, I’ve learned to keep my expression studiously blank. But it’s a true struggle today. Instead, I focus my attention on the squirrelly lawyer sitting across the conference table. While he’s disingenuous with each comment, he’s a good negotiator. But I’m better. How cliché am I?

While I feel Maksim watching me, I focus on Dmitry Yakovitch as he continues to argue the merits of the venture capitalist company I represent, RK Capital Group, merging with Kutsenko Partners. What he means is the merits of Kutsenko Partners acquiring RK Capital Group, then stripping it and making it another money-laundering shell corporation. While most people in New York have little awareness of the Russian mafia, I do. The Kutsenko brothers’ names appear on no titles or deeds anywhere in New York City, but it wasn’t difficult to determine which shell companies likely belong to them. Their assumption that I’m unfamiliar with them is proving beneficial to me as they continue to whisper amongst themselves in Russian. I think they may even believe they’re convincing me that they don’t speak much English.

The senior partners of RK Capital Group know who I’m negotiating with, though they may not know I’m aware of these Russians’ more nefarious operations. They’ve given me the go-ahead to agree to a merger with an eventual acquisition, but only for the right price. A price to the tune of twenty billion dollars. Considering an investment firm like Goldman Sachs is worth nearly one-hundred-and-twenty billion dollars, my clients’ asking price appears reasonable.

“Mr. Yakovitch, I shall stop you now.” I raise my left hand, pen caught between my index and middle fingers. When I have his attention, I lean back in my chair and casually twirl the pen over my index finger and thumb. “Fifty billion is my clients’ asking price. You know that. Your clients know that. RK doesn’t oppose the merger. What they oppose is the insulting offer you’ve made. It’s nearly noon, and I’m hungry, Mr. Yakovitch. I have a delicious ham sandwich waiting for me. I even have three chocolate chip cookies waiting for me. If we aren’t going to make any progress, I shall let you go, so I can move onto my eagerly anticipated lunch.”

I cant my head just enough for me to appear as though my gaze rests solely on the opposing attorney’s face, but I can see each Kutsenko brothers’ reaction. My face battles yet again against showing my emotions as I fight not to smirk. Their muted but surprised expressions confirm what I already know.

“Please tell your clients to make a reasonable counteroffer, or I will conclude this meeting and enjoy my ham sandwich and cookies.”

Dmitry glares at me before turning to Maksim and his three brothers. In rapid Russian, he doesn’t interpret my suggestion. Oh no. There’s no need for that. I can’t catch every word because his voice is too low. But I catch something along the lines of “The bitch refuses to budge. What now? A f*cking ham sandwich. More like a stick up her *ss.”

Maksim swivels his chair to look at his brothers. In Russian, he says, “Fifty billion is ridiculous. She’s not so stupid or naïve not to know that. My guess is they’ll settle for twenty billion. We offer fifteen.”

“That’s barely better than what we already offered,” Aleksei, the second-oldest brother, argues. “She’ll be eating the f*cking sandwich and dipping her cookies in milk before we walk out the door. We need the buildings.”

“We offer twenty, Maks,” Bogdan, the youngest, insists.

As I watch the brothers discuss, their voices barely lowered, I pull my lunch sack from the black leather satchel by my feet and set it beside my laptop. It’s a ridiculously pink floral bag with an embroidered monogram, the L and D overlapping. It’s an empty prop, but they don’t know that. I watch as five sets of eyes narrow. I offer a smile that would appear innocent in any setting other than this meeting. It’s patronizing, and I know it.


Author Bio:

Sabine Barclay, a nom de plume also writing Historical Romance as Celeste Barclay, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons. Growing up in the Midwest, Sabine enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could. Now she lives near the beach. She’s an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower. Before becoming a full-time author, Sabine was a Social Studies and English teacher. She holds degrees in International Affairs (BA), Secondary Social Science (MAT), and Political Management (MPS). She channels that knowledge into creating engrossing contemporary romances that will make your toes curl and your granny blush.

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