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Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Date Published: 12-09-2021

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Two unlikely companions search for a kidnapped wizard in this fantasy novel.

The land of Armera is orbited by the moons of Vesti, colonized long ago by wizards escaping the planet’s terrible wars. Armera survived these conflicts, and benevolent wizards have returned to the planet, forming a Wizards Council to broker relations between the two civilizations. But now, DeMartize—Vesti’s greatest wizard—has been kidnapped by the evil twins Kal and Sak, and the colony blames the council. With war threatening, the high wizard Mernes the Mad brings together his 14-year-old apprentice, Peterzik, and Cedric, a 14-year-old “hero rescuer and thief,” for the job of saving DeMartize. Peterzik’s knowledge and Cedric’s accomplished thievery make them the perfect pair. 

Guided by a vision from the council, the two set out on their long and dangerous journey across challenging terrain. They’re beset by many daunting creatures to fight, negotiate with, or trick to get past; these include the Snow King, a fire dragon, a water monster, and a kingdom of bats. And the duo will still have to defeat the powerful and wicked twins, hoping to rescue DeMartize before war is declared. 

About the Author

Constance Meccarello-Gerson was born in Poughkeepsie N.Y. She is a graduate of Florida Southern College with a BA in Acting. She also attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. HB Studio, Actors Studio, in NYC. She is a member of SAG, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Si Omega. Her MFA in Acting is from Brooklyn College. She has appeared on TV, film, and on stage in NYC. For 20 years she taught as a mentor and teacher of English and Theatre arts for the New York City Department of Education and for the University at Santa Cruz. She also taught for ten years as a Speech Coordinator at Touro College. She was an executive at Bloomingdales. Her writing as appeared in Reflections, also in the Best American Poets series. Currently she lives in NYC with her husband Alain, a parrot named Benji, and lots of fish.

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The Gift


Book 1: Eleanor

Adventure/Gothic Horror/Historical Fiction

Date Published: 09 December 2021

Publisher: whitefox

A lush historical adventure that’s equal parts Gothic horror as it is tale of lost love, The Gift: Eleanor is the first in an exhilarating new trilogy that takes you from Titanic to the trenches of WWI, and Honduran shipwrecks to ancient crypts in the heart of London.

The North Atlantic, 14 April 1912. Amid the chaos of the sinking Titanic, a young Eleanor Annenberg meets the eyes of a stranger and is immediately captivated. As the ship buckles around them, she follows him down into the hold and finds him leaning over an open sarcophagus, surrounded by mutilated bodies. She catches but a glimpse of what lies within before she’s sucked into a maelstrom of freezing brine and half-devoured corpses.

Elle is pulled out of the water, but the stranger – and the secrets she stumbled upon – are lost. Unintentionally, however, he leaves her a gift; one so compelling that Elle embarks on a journey that pulls her into a world of ancient evils, vicious hunters and human prey to find the man who saved her that fateful night. From trench warfare at Cape Helles in 1915 to a shipwreck in the tropical shallows off the Honduran coast, from a lost mine beneath the towering Externsteine in a Germany on the verge of war to the gothic crypts of Highgate Cemetery in London, Elle gets closer to a truth she has sought for most of her life. But at what cost? Gifts, after all, are seldom free.

An immersive gothic story spanning decades, The Gift is a compelling read that weaves the supernatural of Dracula with the adventure of Indiana Jones.

About the Author

R A WILLIAMS lives by the Mediterranean with his wife and their one-year-old boy. The Gift was born in Sherman Oaks, California, sussed out in Pimlico, England, and relocated on the Costa Brava, Spain, where Williams writes to this day amidst twelve cats who pay him never no mind. Previously in fashion, Williams has dressed A-listers across the globe. In his spare time, he enjoys painting miniatures and dioramas with an emphasis on pre-World War Two Europe and Pacific Rim. You can find him on socials @rawilliams_author

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Excerpt Reveal


I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the HIT by Mallory Hart Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About the Book:

Title: HIT (Mafia Born Book 1)

Author: Mallory Hart

Pub. Date: November 30, 2021

Publisher: Mallory Hart Romance

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

Read for FREE with a Kindle Unlimited Membership!


I was never supposed to meet him, but one fateful night had him saving my life.

Now he thinks he owns me. I’m his to keep.

He’s ruthless, cold, and a killer, but something draws me to him anyway.

I know what he’s capable of. I know he was meant to kill me. And I know one wrong slip may make him change his mind about sparing my life.

But I want to test him, push him, be a part of his world.

I know I should be afraid. I know I should run. But something about Darragh has taken me over, and I don’t know how long I can resist . . .


A hitman.
A princess.
A forbidden romance.

All her life, Giuseppina Delarosa knew two things: what her father and brother did after dark was a secret, and her life was never her own. As the sole daughter of Don Delarosa’s clan, it was well known a marriage would secure the future of the family. But when she learns she’s to be wed to an infamous ally, Giuseppina has other plans.

Darragh O’Callaghan is good at exactly two things: not caring about anyone, and killing his enemies. The only Irish mafia in the city needs good enforcers to keep their borders, and Darragh does his job well. So he can’t understand why he screws it all up when a hit is placed on the Delarosa gang’s prime jewel: Giuseppina Delarosa.

One rainy night.
One decision not to kill.
One moment that changes everything.

Hit is a slow burn, enemies-to-lovers, dark mafia romance. It is book one in the Mafia Born Duet.





About Mallory Hart:

Mallory Hart is the writer of steamy stories to make you swoon. When not writing, she can be found with a glass of red wine, blasting music and dancing in her underwear or reading books that make you blush. For updates on new releases, visit her website and subscribe to the newsletter.

Her first full-length work, Hit, releases 11/30/2021 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Sign up for Mallory’s mailing list!


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Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a signed finished copy of HIT, US Only.

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Week One:


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Two Chicks on Books





BookHounds YA



The Momma Spot


Week Two:


Rajiv’s Reviews



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The Reading Devil


Week Three:


Karen Dee’s Book Reviews






Triquetra Reviews









The Phantom Paragrapher


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Simply Daniel Radcliffe



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Coffee and Wander Book Reviews



For a moment, all we did was stare. Red laced through his eyes like spiderwebs, making the bright, icy blues of his irises startlingly sharp. He no longer looked like the soft, young man. He didn’t even look human.

He sucked in a deep breath, like he could draw all the power in the room into his lungs. Fierce. Terrifying. Anyone who chose to defy him was either insane or stupid. I didn’t know how anyone could look into those eyes and feel anything but pure terror.

I had, but that was different. He never looked at me like this, even in the beginning. Even when he still planned to kill me. It was rage, it was fear, and it was strength. And it terrified me.

“What are you?” I whispered. I hadn’t been able to figure him out. Not in the months we’ve known each other now, and probably not in the years we had to come. The killer who did not kill me. The husband who wasn’t a husband at all. The Made Man who never showed mercy, the name that’d been cursed a thousand times in the cigar room on the other side of my bedroom wall, the Angel of Death, the man who taught me to shoot a gun and drive a car, and the only person in my entire life who didn’t think I was nothing but a scared little girl or a bride-to-be. The man who saved my life in more ways than I realized.

He was a walking contradiction I couldn’t understand, especially when he whispered back, “Your husband.”

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A Gentleman for Christmas

Holiday Romance, Christmas Romance

Published: November 2021

Publisher: SPK Publishing

Stir-it-up-Sunday only happens once a year, but a grandmother’s Christmas pudding doesn’t tempt Cecily’s appetite half as much as an appealing neighbor. Her deepest secret is safe until she whispers sugar plum nothings in her sleep, and awkwardly, someone overhears. A relationship doesn’t seem possible, but when it becomes apparent that their feelings are mutual, it’s not only class and social status hindering a relationship, but also one stubborn English father.

Logan Campbell, a skilled yet lowly veterinary surgeon, has a talent as an animal whisperer. Popular with the farmers and one English lady, his sentiments can’t administer common sense to the parental obstacle standing in his way. He’s willing to risk it all to secure his heart’s desire, even if it means singing in the church choir. But when a racehorse becomes seriously ill, the ensuing challenge tests his patience and skill. He’ll have to pull out all the stops to secure their future.

Does a veterinary surgeon have the practical knowledge to prevent a tragedy? Will a father accept his daughter’s heartfelt wishes? A Christmas carol and a little lady luck could make this season brighter.

About the Author

Bestselling author Shelley Kassian has been writing timeless love stories filled with romance or dark fantasy (romantasy) for more than twenty years, novels that include her recent beach read, A Sea for Summer. A history enthusiast, she’s traveled far and wide to explore secret gardens and medieval castles, having an avid interest in the Tudor period. Her prose has been described as “near rhapsodic,” “pitch perfect,” and “stylishly straightforward, rarely relying on complex turns of phrase.” Reviewers have said her narrative conveys “imaginative fantasy,” “fascinating characters,” and “refreshing romance.”

Shelley’s taken creative writing courses, holds board positions within professional associations, and retains a Professional Editing Certificate. Drawing on her expertise, she has mentored novice writers, but her passion comes alive while scribing her stories into novel-length fiction. Shelley shares her life with her husband, adores her adult children and three grand pups, and when not relaxing at her seaside cottage, lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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WAYLON: Angel and the Ruthless Reaper by Theodora Taylor

Theodora Taylor has revealed the cover for WAYLON: Angel and the Ruthless Reaper!

Releasing: December 16, 2021


Since aging out of the foster care system and becoming a nurse, all I dreamed of was marrying a nice doctor and moving to a two-story house in the suburbs.

So how did a dangerous biker gang criminal end up handcuffed to my bed? And why did I agree to let that animal teach me how to…ahem…do things. Wicked things. In the very same bed I handcuffed him to in order to keep myself safe?

Long story.

And it didn’t end well.

Now it’s time to marry my doctor fiancé and make all my former foster kid dreams come true. But who do I spot at the back of the church after I walk down the aisle to join with my perfect groom in marriage?

That dangerous MC. His ice-cold eyes are blazing with rage. And this time he’s totally unchained.

Gulp. It’s not such a nice day for a white wedding, after all.

I’m not even one-percent sure I’m going to get out of this one with my heart–or my soul–intact.


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Meet Theodora

After logging time as a music journalist, playwright, and radio writer, Theodora Taylor began writing hot books with heart in 2012. With thirty plus romances published to date, she has earned four KDP All-Star bonuses. Known for writing alternative heroes and smart, feisty heroines, Theodora’s 50 Loving States series has become a one-click stop for an ever-growing number of rabid readers. When not thinking of ways to write and sell even more hot books with heart, she enjoys spending time with her amazing family, going on date nights with her wonderful husband, learning German, watching ALL the Shonda Rhimes shows ever, and attending parties thrown by others. She also loves hearing from voices that don’t originate inside her head, so please…

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Glory Unbound by Deborah L. King 

Glory Unbound
Deborah L. King
(Glory Bishop, #2)
Publication date: December 14th 2021
Genres: Women’s Fiction

IN THIS SECOND BOOK of the series, Glory Bishop has finally broken free of her mother’s oppressive grasp and is offered a new life by a seemingly altruistic Chicago socialite, but there may be more than good intentions at play. Against the advice of trusted friends and family, Glory chooses the protection of Malcom Porter, her adoring, much older, bad-boy-turned-minister fiancé.

Thrust into a gilded world of wealth, society and privilege, Glory struggles to overcome the guilt of loving her new life. The whirlwind of 1980s designer clothing, penthouse views, and first-class travel is a far cry from her former existence.

With this new reality, comes unexpected complications and temptations. As she struggles to remain true to herself and her fiancé, Glory wonders if she will ever truly feel at home in this new world. Follow Glory Bishop in her continuing search for freedom and independence, as she once again strives to be her own savior.

Goodreads / Amazon


Back in the living room, Mary leaned against the kitchen door fame, puffing a rolled-up brown-paper cigarette with a shaking hand. “I know y’all engaged.” Mary took a short drag. “But you cain’t just come in here and snatch a child without askin’. Not even you, Malcolm Porter.”

“Child welfare does it all the time when they see bloody sheets, bleeding welts, and years and year of scars. You should be locked up with nothing but demons!” He snatched open the apartment door and stepped out into the hallway.

“I love you, Mama.” Glory hugged her mother until she felt Mary’s arms around her. “I’m sure it’s only for a few days,” she whispered. “I’ll be back when he calms down.”

“Malcolm!” Mary called out. “Mark my words. I know my child. She needs purging. She wants to be worldly. Devil get at her real easy. You takin ’her over to your mother’s with all that fancy stuff, gon ’turn her head if you don’t watch out. Demons of lies and rebellion, Jezebel spirit—”

Glory heard the suitcase drop and swift, heavy footfalls over the threshold. She threw herself at Malcolm before he could reach her mother.

“If you again lay a hand on her, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!” His voice was an icy snarl promising the wrath of God.

Glory pressed all her weight against Malcolm, the bandages under her clothes ripping from her skin, the medical tape roughly, agonizingly, scraping against her cuts and welts.

“Malcolm, God, please, let’s go! Mama, just stop! I promise I’ll be good!” Glory pushed against Malcolm until he backed up into the hall and grabbed her suitcase.

“I will bring you to a horrible end, and you will be no more. You will be sought, but you will never again be found!” Malcolm’s biblical threats hung in the air as he backed toward the stairs.

Glory stared into her mother’s impassive face. Mary took a deep drag on her rolled cigarette, nodded once, and closed the apartment door. Glory didn’t move until after she heard all three locks click into place.

Author Bio:

Deborah King has been a writer and storyteller her whole life. She published her first short story when she was seven years old. When she’s not writing, Deborah enjoys cartoons, cooking, photography, and Star Trek. Born and raised in Chicago, Deborah has managed to achieve all of her childhood dreams and still lives in the area with her husband and two youngest children. According to her daughter, she has “literally aced her life!”

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Only Sometimes by Felicia Blaedel 

Only Sometimes
Felicia Blaedel
(The Without Filter Series, #3)
Publication date: December 9th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Disagreeing from the first time they meet, Noah and Niko know exactly how to push each other’s buttons while they fight the intense pull between them. But when they’re forced to work together, they might realise that their connection runs deeper than frustration and lust.

Niko is driven and ambitious, even when it’s misconceived as cold and measured. Her latest project is her great-grandmother’s nature organisation. Niko is determined to see it thrive again and hopefully understand herself and her broken family better in the process. Getting a handle on her inconvenient feelings is a must too.

Noah has made a promise to set things right and honour his eccentric grandfather’s hard work. Even when that means taking on an active role in a small nature organisation, while hiding his true identity. He is busy enough as it is with university, work, and late nights of writing. Still, he can’t help but care about the organisation. Or the fierce woman who always seems to make his life harder.

Only Sometimes is a new adult frenemies to lovers romance set in Copenhagen, Denmark (with a getaway to a gorgeous Swedish forest). It’s book three in the Without Filter Series, but it can be read as a complete standalone. Only Sometimes is a steamy slow-burn romance, and it contains spicier content than the previous two books in the series.

Goodreads / Amazon


Noah’s POV

When I hear Niko’s laugh, I stop so abruptly that an older man almost stumbles into me. It’s sweet and songful and a stark contrast to her usual sharp tone—but then again, I think she reserves that one just for me. My eyes zero in on her in no time, always so damned attuned to her every move. She’s standing next to the bar chatting, but I only notice her. My mouth is dry, and a drink would probably help, but I can’t seem to move.

She’s wearing a simple pale green summer dress that shows off her trained shoulders and arms. It’s almost floor-length, and her hair is up and pinned with a fresh pink flower. It makes me think of midsummer nights and dancing under the stars. Her deep red lips form a crooked smile, and then suddenly, her eyes cut to mine. For a moment, we’re simply looking at each other, her smile still lingering. I don’t realise that I’m walking before I’m standing right in front of her.

I’m pretty much invading Niko’s personal space without planning to. Our closeness screams of an intimacy that we don’t share and never will. She’s abandoned whatever conversation she was having, waiting for me to speak. I was the one to run over here like a man on a mission, but my throat is so dry and my mind is scattered.

She’s breathing lightly, like she’s afraid to make a sound, but her eyes are all challenge and fire. A touch of pink colours her cheeks, and I notice a faint dusting of freckles on her light skin. Heat rushes over me—embarrassment that I’m standing there staring like an idiot with an overwhelming urge to reach out and touch her.

Niko is fucking magnetic. Her beauty is a contrast I can’t get enough of, no matter how much it pisses me off. Her body is toned and firm, likely capable of kicking my arse, but she’s still delicate and feminine, almost like something out of a fairy tale.

My hand lifts on its own accord, but I hide the motion by clenching my fists, frustrated with myself. I’m burning, but I doubt it has anything to do with the evening sunshine.

Niko straightens ever so slightly, her eyes narrowing. The challenge in them grows stronger until it overpowers every bit of softness left. It’s my fault. I probably look like a mad man. Aggressive. She must think I’m about to pick a fight with her. I briefly close my eyes and take my first full breath since I raced over here.

“Hi,” I say hoarsely as I refocus on her.

“Hi, Noah. You clean up nicely,” Niko answers, an amused smile playing on her lips.

The compliment shocks me, but maybe it was supposed to because she looks entertained. Perhaps she’s sarcastic. I want to smack my head into something hard for overthinking. I also want to compliment her, but I have no idea what to say that won’t give too much away and make working with her even harder.

I’m too slow, as Niko rolls her eyes. “Don’t look so scared. Just because I appreciate seeing you in something other than those awful, convertible hiking shorts does not mean we’re friends. You don’t have to look so torn up.” Her voice is sugary and unaffected, but her eyes look hurt as she scans the rest of the party.

It’s as if someone turned off the mute button on the whole event as the sound of chit chat, laughter and clinking glasses overwhelms me.

Author Bio:

Felicia writes quirky, heartfelt, and steamy romance with real, flawed characters.

Felicia’s books have themes about being true to yourself, and she is passionate about mental health and authenticity. As an adult, Felicia received professional confirmation that she is actually autistic.

Felicia hangs out (too much) on Instagram where she posts about her author journey, mum-life, flowers, dinosaurs, musings about autism and anxiety, book recommendations, and much more. She would love it if you came by and said hello. @feliciablaedel

Make sure to follow Felicia on Goodreads and Amazon so you don’t miss a new release.

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Secretive by K E Osborn & Addison Jane

Title: Secretive
Series: Houston Defiance MC #7
Authors: K E Osborn & Addison Jane
Genre: MC Romance
Cover Design: Designs by Dana
Photo: Reggie Deanching
Models: Cody Smith & Chloe Glynn
Release Date: January 27, 2022


They see me as weak.
Just a scared kid.
The moment my big sister took me away from the club, it sealed my fate as a burden.

As the son of a president for the Houston Defiance MC, I was born into power. I’m destined to lead. My father and older brother before me, I should follow in their footsteps. But they don’t see me that way.

The only path to keep me safe is to ship me off.
To live a life they have chosen for me.
Doesn’t matter what I want.

Behind the ivy-covered walls of Stonewall are mysteries, lies, deception.
I want to uncover it all.
The sting of secrets is to be revealed.

One thing I wasn’t counting on was Thayleah, a fellow student who takes my breath away the second I see her.
But she’s tied to another club.
When enemies come in all forms, you need to keep your eyes open.
But I didn’t see this coming!

From USA Today Bestselling Authors K E Osborn and Addison Jane, comes the highly-anticipated seventh book in the Houston Defiance MC Series. Part of this book was previously released in The Elites Anthology 2021.




I turn around in time to see Brady dragging me toward two girls—a blonde and a brunette. The blonde is your usual preppy, excitable girl, pretty and appears happy to see Brady—aren’t they all. But it’s the brunette that captures my attention.
Her little button nose makes her all the more fucking spectacular, and her giant brown doe eyes dart around the place like she isn’t sure of anything or anyone. She’s withdrawn like she doesn’t want to be here. I know that feeling. Fucking stunning is an understatement but not like a supermodel. No, this girl has that girl-next-door look, but with an edge. The one that tells me she’s been through shit and is so much stronger for it.
My instinct is to protect her.
From whatever it is making her uneasy.
There’s something about the way she carries herself that’s drawing me in and my gut tells me she’s scared. So, I do the only thing I can think of. I step forward, placing a finger under her chin, forcing her to look at me.



All free in Kindle Unlimited


With a flair for all things creative, USA Today Bestselling Author K E Osborn, is drawn to the written word. Exciting worlds and characters flow through her veins, coming to life on the page as she laughs, cries, and becomes enveloped in the storyline right along with you. She’s entirely at home when writing sassy heroines and alpha males that rise from the ashes of their pasts.

K E Osborn comforts herself with tea and Netflix, after all, who doesn’t love a good binge?

Turn lust into love at


Addison Jane is a born and bred kiwi girl with a passion for romance and writing.

When she gets the chance she enjoys the little things in life such as reading, dancing, music, and Facebook, but her world really revolves around the little girl who calls her Mum. It’s an awkward balance between alpha males and Disney princesses but it works.

Growing up on a small farm next to the beach will always make her a country girl at heart. But since moving away to a small town close to the city she’s discovered a dangerous love for shopping.

Writing stories has been something that’s come naturally since she was young, and with the massive support of her friends and family, she finally decided to step out of her comfort zone and share them with the world.

She enjoys bringing her books to life with strong female leads, sexy passionate men and a rollercoaster of twists and turns that lead to the happily ever after that her readers desire.

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It’s a Wonderful Lie by Wren Michaels

It’s a Wonderful Lie
Wren Michaels
(Heaven on Earth, #1)
Publication date: December 9th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

He was sent to save her life, but ended up losing his heart, memories, and clothes.

Eden Credere should be in Barbados with her new husband. Instead, it was like she married Murphy and his law was ruining her life. She’d lost her dad, her job, her best friend, and her fiancé. After drowning her sorrows with rum and eggnog on Christmas Eve, she takes a tumble in a tree lot with a Douglas Fir, sending Eden over the edge.

Theliel has watched over Eden her entire life, from her first steps to her latest, where she dove in a tree lot. He’s always been there to save her, and this time should have been no different—until it was. As her guardian angel, he’s not supposed to be seen, but one corporeal slip-up later, and he’s got a lot of explaining to do.

As Theliel works to convince Eden why the world is a much better place with her in it, he finds himself the one falling, and it’s Eden who catches his heart. In a twist of fate, Theliel must not earn his wings, but his humanity by convincing Eden they’re meant to be together.

The only problem is neither of them remember who he is when he wakes up on Christmas morning in a snowbank with no memories and no clothes. With the magic of Christmas in the air, love in their hearts, a vision of yoga pants, and maybe a little help from their “friends”, all they have to do is believe.

Goodreads / Amazon


Swiping my tearstained face, I made my way over to the myriad of trees and tried to make a quick decision. I had to get out of there fast. I couldn’t “people” anymore today. I would either end up a blubbering mess under the blow-up lawn ornaments or in jail from high-fiving the heartless cashier right in the face who couldn’t fork over thirty cents to help a kid buy a Christmas wreath.

In my unstable mindset, I made the poor choice to go for the nine-foot Douglas fir. As I yanked the leaning tree from the fence, little did I know I held a death trap in the palm of my sticky hand. The laws of physics mocked my existence as the tree toppled over, taking my five-foot, six-inch frame with it.

It’s completely true how your life flashed before your eyes in those last seconds of mortality. Mine happened to be stuck on repeat of Grayson stuffing Suzie as I cursed his name in all six languages I spoke. If he hadn’t cheated on me, I’d be in Barbados as Mrs. Jilani, not splattered on the floor of Trees-R-Us as the jilted Eden Credere.

Instead of hitting the cold, snow-covered ground, something strong cradled the back of my head, radiating a warmth that caressed my skin and soothed what should have been my shattered bones. I would have sworn there were no customers around me as I hid my ever-blackening soul in the back forty of the tree lot. No one could have caught me that fast. Then again, one hundred pounds of Douglas fir swallowed my face, so my vantage point skewed a bit.

“Thank you, Lord,” I whispered on the breath that whooshed out of my lungs.

A melodic yet husky chuckle vibrated around me, filling me with the same warmth that held my head in some bubble of safety. Maybe I did hit the ground, and the warmth was a pool of my own blood. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities with as much rum and eggnog as I’d consumed earlier.

“Believe me, I am not the Lord.” A voice surrounded me, and heat tingled straight to my toes, as if his tone resonated just for my ears.

“Oh good, because if you were, I’d be really upset that I’m meeting him in yoga pants and no makeup.” Sometimes the things that came out of my mouth missed the sanity filter in my brain.

Another chuckle vibrated against me before it halted, followed by a sharp intake of air. “You heard that?”

With pine needles burrowing into my closed eyelids, I couldn’t be sure I was actually talking to another person and not just myself. “Heard what?”

“What I said. I didn’t mean for you to hear it.” Worry strained his words as he softened his voice.

“You didn’t exactly whisper it, and seeing as how you caught me like a ninja, you had to be nearby. Which reminds me, I still have a tree on my face. I don’t suppose you’d help get it off me? I’ll buy you a coffee or a beer or something.”

“I’m so sorry. Of course. I…I was caught off guard. Let me help you up,” he stammered.

“Well, I suppose anyone would be caught off guard while having to dive for some stranger being eaten by a tree. Unless you’re like a lumberjack and see that kind of thing all the time.” The spiked eggnog I’d had for breakfast now seemed like a really bad idea as the stupid tumbled out of my mouth in droves.

His harmonious chuckle returned and enveloped me again, like tiny ripples of pleasure bouncing off my body. I loved this man’s laugh, and I hadn’t even seen his face. In the span of thirty seconds, I’d developed some freaky fetish where all I wanted to do was have him laugh near me so I could swaddle in the warmth and happiness of his voice.

Shit, what the hell did I put in that eggnog? Was it expired?

“Hold still,” the mystery man said.

He eased me to the ground. Cold snow soaked the back of my head, my hair sucking it up like a slushy. I cursed the blasted New Jersey winters in three ancient tongues. I’d probably pay for that later, but as an archaeologist, I rarely got to use all the dead languages I studied. Now seemed like a good time.

The tree whisked away from my face, and I blinked my eyes open. The gasp that followed sucked in so much cold air, an erratic series of hiccups erupted. Another sign I was more than likely drunk—Thor hovered over me, or at least he could have passed for his twin brother. Thick blond locks of hair danced across his broad shoulders in the light breeze, framing his marble-smooth, chiseled face. The bluest eyes I’d ever seen sparkled like an ocean, and if I stared into them long enough, I was sure they’d take me to a whole other world. Those eyes looked hauntingly familiar. Where had I seen them before?

“You’ve got quite the naughty mouth, Eden,” he said, warming me with his voice and a smile that probably dropped a lot of panties. He slid his arms under my back and lifted me from the ground as if I weighed nothing. Boy, would he have a backache in the morning.

“How do you know my name? Have we met before?” I blinked again, reassuring myself I hadn’t passed out and that I was indeed alive, awake, and in Thor’s arms.

“Um, your driver’s license was on the ground. Must have fallen out when the tree landed on you.” He glanced away from my inquiring stare.

Hmm, plausible, since I had stuffed my debit card and license in my pocket instead of carrying a purse today. I only planned on getting a tree and going right back home. I dared not go anywhere else on Christmas Eve with all the crazies on the road.

I slipped my hand into my pocket and found both cards there. Did he put it back? Surely I would have felt it. But it had been a while since I’d had a man’s hand in my pants. Grayson and I stopped having sex about six months before the marriage that never happened. He wanted the wedding night to be special. Yeah, so special because he was basting the neighbor.

Wait, he said I had a naughty mouth, meaning this dude knew I cursed in a dead language. Or maybe he assumed it was cursing, since Aramaic and ancient Greek sounded a lot like my angry Italian mother.

Author Bio:

Wren hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her to Texas, where she promptly lost all tolerance for cold and snow. Fueled by coffee, dreams, and men in kilts, Wren promises to bring you laughter, heart-fluttering romance, and action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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