Leaving her name—and her job as a top food critic—behind in New York, Shea Summers seeks respite in Sapling. Her borrowed mountain getaway seems perfect for writing her opus. It’s also perfect for riding out a messy divorce and hiding the roomful of cash she kind-of-sort-of stole from her ex.
Too bad Sapling is a remote, three-restaurant town with food that leaves much to be desired. Sexy grocer, Dev Kingston, may be Shea’s saving grace. The way he looks at her with his aspen-green eyes shows her everything her marriage was missing, and he can special-order every delicacy she craves.
But Shea’s not the only one who isn’t what she seems. Dev moonlights as a sheriff’s deputy, a fact she finds out too late; a string of suspicious crimes finds newcomers under scrutiny; and her ex is going to extremes to find out where she is.
Taking the money and living under an assumed name might be on the right side of wrong, but dating Dev is a dangerous game. She’s still running and he’s still the law.
Dev Kingston has some nerve, Shea said to herself rather unreasonably. She’d been mentally cursing the man all morning. He was utterly responsible for her lack of concentration. Maybe some of the blame ought to be put on Delilah, whose abrupt disappearance the night before had perpetrated events that left Shea and Dev alone in his car.
Even before last night, Shea had struggled to remain impervious to his charm. Seeing him with Evie had done nothing to diminish his appeal. There were few things more attractive than a man who doted on his momma. Then, to be in his car, surrounded by a cocoon of his citrusy, spicy aroma had made Shea ache to do spicy things.
Don’t forget the arm squeeze, sex-starved Shea reminded reasonable Shea, as if any version of Shea could forget. It was the least-perfunctory cheek kiss she’d ever received. His big hand had cuffed her upper arm firmly. His green eyes had narrowed slightly, telegraphing something complex before warm lips delivered a too-brief kiss to her cheek.
A wave of his delectable scent had filled her senses as soon as he’d pulled back and she might have leant forward just a bit—her nose’s attempt to follow. She might’ve taken it farther, trailing said nose up the column of his beautiful neck, if his voice hadn’t broken the spell, speaking a deep, “Good night.”
“Hey—do you have any sumac?” she asked, circling back to the front after looking for the herb herself. She’d become convinced that a little sumac was the perfect addition to the aioli they served with the calamari at The Big Spoon. Sapling had exactly three restaurants: Delilah’s served sweet and savory pastries. Gator’s Sports Bar had pub food and wings. The Big Spoon served breakfast, lunch and dinner had the largest menu of them all.
“Sumac is edible?” Dev looked up from shuffling his papers, looking a bit surprised.
She frowned. “What else would it be?”
“Poisonous,” Dev picked up his green juice cup again. “Worse than poison ivy, but not as bad as poison oak. Poison sumac’ll give you a rash all over your body.”
“Huh,” Shea tutted. “Well, it’s a spice, too. I’ve never seen it in the wild, but the flower is a deep red. It’s actually kind of beautiful.”
Then, Dev did that thing he did whenever they got to talking. He got quiet for a minute, but never broke their gaze. In moments like that, he had this way of looking at her that made her feel like he was right up in her space, rather than all the way across the room.
“Sounds like you want it?” his lips settled into a half-smile. The full smile, she’d noticed was for genuine amusement. The half-smile seemed to mean something else. It held a different sort of softness too intimate to have a name.
“If you can get it…” Her voice held shyness and hope and all the other complex tones she’d forgotten her voice could make. The thrill of possibility was a heady thing. She felt it in spades every time she talked to Dev.
“How much do you need?” he wanted to know, shifting his weight to lean against the counter with one hip.
“I guess a single bottle is fine.”
The warmth in his eyes lingered even as the set of his lips changed. “I can get you sumac.”
What else can you get me?
Shea came close to saying it out loud. Her face heated, not so much in a blush of embarrassment as in a flush of lust. With Dev, lust flushes had become a thing. Nodding her thanks, she walked off before she could pounce on the man. With every visit, she wanted to a little bit more. Her life was still too messy for all of that. But she had willpower. Discipline. She could be patient and methodical until whatever wanted to happen was meant to be, just as she’d been patient and methodical in plotting her divorce.
Kilby Blades is a 45-time-award-winning author of Romance and Women’s Fiction. Her debut novel, Snapdragon, was a HOLT Medallion finalist, a Publisher’s Weekly Book Life Prize Semi-Finalist, and an IPPY Award medalist. Kilby was honored with an RSJ Emma Award for Best Debut Author in 2018 and has been lauded by critics for “easing feminism and equality into her novels” (IndieReader) and “writing characters who complement each other like a fine wine does a good meal” (Publisher’s Weekly).
When she’s not writing, Kilby goes to movie matinees alone, where she eats Chocolate Pocky and buttered popcorn and usually smuggles in not-a-little-bit of red wine. She procrastinates from the difficult process of writing by oversharing on Facebook and Instagram and giving away cool stuff related to her fiction novels to her newsletter subscribers.
Growing up a military brat and spending eight years overseas with the Army Medical Corps, clinical social worker, Willa Smith, has had enough of rules and regulations. Still able to work with veterans as she did at the VA Hospital, she is much happier at the new and far more relaxed South Avenue Shelter, until one of its residents is implicated in a murder.
Former military turned security operative, Dimas Mazur, has worked for PASS security, his brother’s company, since he returned stateside after a disabling injury. The job keeps him busy, but when a homeless veteran he knows runs into trouble with the law, he doesn’t hesitate to jump in. The strong-headed counselor at the shelter where his friend stayed is an unexpected bonus.
Until she puts herself square in the sights of the man he’s trying to take down.
USA Today bestselling author Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Driven to make her books about ‘real’ people; she creates characters who are perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills in their lives.
Recipient of the ReadFREE.ly 2019 Best Book We’ve Read All Year Award for “Covering Ollie, the 2015 RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for Best First Book, “Slim To None”, and Finalist for the 2017 Kindle Book Award with “From Dust”, Freya continues to add to her rapidly growing collection of published novels as she spins story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!
***This is a short story prequel companion to the first novel in the Reverend Cici Gurule Mysteries, A Pilgrimage to Death.***Few people ever experienced a connection like Reverend Cici Gurule had with her sister. The women weren’t just twins; they were identical.Yes, were.Cici knew the exact moment her sister had died because Cici had passed out in her apartment. She’d swear until the day she died her sister said her name in a soft, broken voice as her own mind had switched off.Now, Cici must learn to live without her sister… and deal with a cold trail and unsolved murder.
An acclaimed new series from a USA TODAY BEST-SELLING author, J.J. Cagney. Winner of the 2019 National Indie Excellence Awards, 2019 TopShelf Book Awards Mystery Finalist, and named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018.
Cici discovers a body in the forest, and the victim’s wounds are identical to the ones that killed her sister a year ago… Someone murdered her sister. And shot her dog. The killer won’t stop until she’s dead, too. Now, the killer has Cici on the run. With her identical twin sister hauntings her dreams, as Cici and her dogs must dodge arrows, bullets, and even a demon truck. Worse, she must grapple with the knowledge her twin’s death was much more sinister than a random act of violence. The chase is on. As Cici closes in on the takedown, the criminals plan to wipe the sleuth off their radar. Permanently.
An unconventional woman. A brutal murder. To solve the case, one reverend will look for help from beyond the grave…Cici Gurule wants to pretend her dream is nothing more than a meaningless nightmare. But she cannot ignore that the bruised and bloodied woman looked alarmingly like her.When a baby turns up on her porch—a baby who was reported missing days before—evidence points to a connection with the woman in Cici’s dream, and she can no longer ignore the nighttime vision. Cici and Detective Sam Chastain struggle to follow the garbled evidence, but the killer scores his victim first. Worse, a message pinned to the victim’s blouse states, “You’re next.”Now, it’s a race against the clock to keep the baby safe and find the murderer before his trail goes cold. Cici’s only chance to solve this mystery, before she becomes the next victim, means choosing between her faith and believing a message left by her ghostly twin.
A 2019 Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize finalist.
A botched execution. A reverend on the run. Can she solve the mystery before she’s caught in the crosshairs?Reverend Cici Gurule went to the sacred Chaco Canyon in search of a sign. She’s been offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a megachurch, but taking the position would mean abandoning her Southwestern home and the man she’s grown to love as much more than a friend. She’s so caught up in her thoughts that she doesn’t realize when she stumbles upon a group of heavily armed operatives on the verge of an execution.Soon, Cici’s dodging bullets and scaling mesas with the mysterious man she saved from certain death. With a little help from her twin sister’s ghost and restless ancestral spirits, they venture deeper into the maze-like rocky terrain. But her new companion’s deadly aim makes her wonder if she can afford to trust his side of the story.To make it out of the canyon alive, Cici must unearth the true story behind the man and a sacred Navajo artifact before the next blood shed on sacred ground is hers.The fourth installment in the Kirkus Reviews, National Indie Excellence Awards and Publishers Weekly award-winning series by USA Today Best-selling Author, J. J. Cagney:The first victim rolls out of a rain barrel.Soon, Cici Gurule dreams of other women’s attacks, thanks to visions from her dead twin. The victims’ watery graves torment Cici, feeding her growing fear of water.The killer targets Cici’s congregants and friends, taunting her and her lover, Detective Sam Chastain. Sam partners with the SFPD to investigate the widening web of assault, death, and pain… all while Cici struggles with the choices she made in Chaco Canyon.When the killer lures a teen girl from her family, Cici and Sam’s desperation to identify him becomes critical. But the clues, from the disappearance of Sam’s ex-lover, to a cat with a chilling message for Cici, are leading them further from the truth, rather than toward saving the kidnapped girl.
J. Cagney is the mystery/thriller pen name of USA Today bestselling author Alexa Padgett. Her debut mystery, A Pilgrimage of Death, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ 100 Best Books of 2018, 2019 National Indie Excellence Awards winner, and Goodreads Best Mysteries of the 2010s. Cagney holds a bachelor’s in international marketing and spent part of her twenties as the marketing director for an elite sports management firm. And, yes, she did her requisite stint with a dotcom back in the early 2000s, first as a marketing coordinator and then as a content manager. She’s penned work for a variety of websites and magazines, and she worked as a literary agent for Irene Webb Literary. She lives in northern New Mexico with her husband, children, about a million fish, and their Great Pyrenees, Ash.
Hayden McHale is perfectly fine with her life. Her junior year is underway and all she wants to do is make it through with her two best friends in tow and a careful eye on her freshman brother. She lives a simple life working at the college library, takes no chances, and wants to graduate to make her parents in heaven proud. When she walks into her Drama Writing 101 class, she meets the ridiculously handsome Gannon O’Brian, and suddenly she realizes one thing she’s always been missing: someone to love. But of course, Gannon has a long-time girlfriend. It’s just her luck that the perfect guy for her can only see her as every other guy ever has, just a friend.
Follow the plan or follow his heart?
Gannon O’Brian has loved his long-time girlfriend Kami for as long as he can remember. Childhood friends, their parents had been friends since college and it all just made sense to him that they should be together. But lately he’s been feeling like their lives are going in two different directions, that maybe he’s a different person. And that’s what he’s thinking the moment he lays eyes on Hayden McHale. He’s never once seen her before even though they’ve shared a major but now that he has, he can’t not know her. As they’re friendship becomes stronger, Gannon starts to wonder if the direction his life is taking is pointing straight to her.
The right thing to do? They have no clue. The only thing they do know? Things will never be the same….
Surrender (Sin City Fets #2) by Aubree Valentine and Elizabeth Knox
Cover Design: Claris Tan
Photographer: Reggie Deanching
Cover Models: Robert Kelly & Cassia Brightmore
I don’t mix business with pleasure, or at least, that’s what I told myself. I decided to check out a local club instead of waiting until my next trip out to L.A. When I saw one of my client’s daughter’s . . . it was the most mortifying moment of my life.
Somehow, I’ve always been able to keep my two lives separate. The one that I lead during the day, is quite a bit different than how I am at night. While I take charge in every aspect being a criminal defense lawyer, it’s elevated to the extreme in my personal life. I demand submission with every step that I take.
Little did I know that night when I saw Candace, she would stir up a discussion that might potentially lead me to the one thing I’ve always wanted. She’s handed me the golden goose so to speak, a male submissive who is looking for a Mistress like me.
I’m over the play dates, the quick fucks and romp in the sack. I want something more, and now I may have the opportunity to get it.
Only, things are never easy.
When parts of the past start crawling out of the woodwork and stirring up drama, I have to ask myself: is it worth it?