Release Blitz

RELEASE BLITZ – Distracted by A.K. Evans




Title: Distracted
Series: Harper Security Ops #7
Author: A.K. Evans
Genre: Military Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 7, 2023


BLURB

Marriage of convenience? More like marriage of inconvenience. Especially when it turns deadly.

Ellery Cross did what she had to do to save her family from ruin. She married a man she wasn’t in love with. Worse, she married a man she knew nothing about.

But Ellery eventually learns all she needs to know about her husband. And sticking around is not an option.

As part of the Harper Security Ops self-defense and tactical training unit, Kane Ramsey spends his days teaching people how to fight back. He promises to teach Ellery the same, even if he’s the one that wants to protect her.

In a perfect world, Ellery and Kane would live happily ever after.

But she won’t be distracted by dreams of a better tomorrow. Ellery has enough to worry about right now. And getting involved with Kane would not only be foolish, it could also be deadly for both of them.





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COMING SOON


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Releasing June 17

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Releasing August 22

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AUTHOR BIO


A.K. Evans is a contemporary romance author of over forty published novels. While she enjoys writing a good romantic suspense novel, Andrea’s favorite books to write have been her extreme sports romances. That might have something to do with the fact that she, along with her husband and two sons, can’t get enough of extreme sports. 

Before becoming a writer, Andrea did a brief stint in the insurance and financial services industry and managed her husband’s performance automotive business. That love of extreme sports? She used to drive race cars! 

When Andrea isn’t writing, she can be found homeschooling her two sons, doing yoga, snowboarding, reading, or traveling with her family. She and her husband are currently taking road trips throughout the country to visit all 50 states with their boys.


AUTHOR LINKS




Book Blitz

Inflamed by Love by Martha Sweeney blitz

Inflamed by Love
Martha Sweeney
(Sleigh Riders, #2)
Publication date: March 7th 2023
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

BESTSELLING author Martha Sweeney presents her first paranormal romance/fantasy series (Sleigh Riders) that features bikers, swearing, elemental magic, innuendos, and so much more.

The bitter fault of one caused the magic from within to wither and die. It lays dormant until it listens to the beat of the soul to determine all that binds.

Remnants of the legendary feud between the Frost clan and Klaus clan still continues despite a union between the main bloodlines. Noelle and Nikolaus embark on a journey westward, leaving their friends, family, and clans behind, though some seek to stop them. Can the Sleighers and Blades learn to work together as some uncover their ancestral gifts or will this new awareness tear their world apart? Will the one who sleeps wipe Frore from existence?

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EXCERPT:

For as long as she remembers, from all of the photos in the Frost home and the Jagged Tavern walls, the Blade’s emblem has been the same. A wolf with a black and white coat, stars and snowflakes lining its forehead, the mountain range and a few trees gathered at its neck, and a dagger in its mouth with symbols of the Great Mother etched on the side of the blade. Other symbols surround it, many of which represent air and water.

Several thoughts flurry into her mind as she realizes many similarities to the Sleigher’s emblem as well. Their design is of an eagle-like bird with a constellation on its forehead as its feathers spread out and curl upward into flames. Under its chin is a similar mountain range with trees and consists of many of the same symbols of the Great Father hidden within the fire.

“Don’t be inconsiderate,” another voice states, coming up behind her.

Noelle glances back. “You started it, Wylan.”

Several more Blades approach, standing behind both men.

“Time to go home,” Kaven instructs.

“I have found my home,” she returns sternly. “And, it is with my mate.” Her hand lifts, revealing the wedding band on her hand.

“He ain’t your home,” Wylan states. “We—”

Noelle’s hands tighten, revealing a blue and silver swirl around them. “Do not pretend you know me.” She stares each of the Blades in the eye. “Leave…go back to Frore. I’ll forget this ever happened.”

“We can’t,” Wylan says.

“I didn’t know your egos were so easily hurt,” she replies with a snicker.

“Don’t be foolish,” Kaven suggests.

“I can take you all out with barely any effort,” she reminds.

Nervousness is found in several of the Blades ’eyes as they recall the incident at the lake.

“You wouldn’t want anything to happen to your mate, would you?” Wylan asks.

Before Noelle gets a chance to reply, three Blades emerge from the nearby alley with Nikolaus in hand. His arms are bound behind him and one of them has a gun pointed at Nikolaus ’side.

“He’ll be released once Theron here is notified that you have returned to Frore,” Wylan informs. “I—”

“Do as they say, Noelle,” Nikolaus says with an expression in his eyes meant only for her. “I will come for you again. And, we will continue on our journey.”

“A foolish journey,” Kaven claims. “Your father is dead.”

“How do you know?” Noelle inquires.

He and Wylan smirk, but do not comment.

“Besides, how do you know I was going to see him?”

“We know more than you realize, child,” Wylan states.

“I am not a child,” she counters.

“No…you are right about that,” he agrees. “You haven’t been for some time, but your place is with your people.”

“I have found my people as did my mother,” she snaps. “My people would not threaten me, hold my mate at gunpoint, and—”

“Stop being melodramatic,” Kaven whines. “It is not how a Blade acts.”

Noelle snickers. “Yet, isn’t that how you are acting?”

None of them dare reply.

Wylan’s jaw sets while his eyes narrow. “If you refuse to return, we will kill him.”

Noelle takes a deliberate, assertive step toward the man. “You kill him….” She looks every single Blade in the eye before returning her attention to him. “I will do the same to each of you.”

Wylan’s body shifts back slightly at the flicker of silver-white light in her eyes.

“I will hunt each of you down,” she continues, “as you did my mother. And, it will be a message to all other Blades that you do not want to get on my bad side.” Noelle takes a step toward him. “If needed, I will bring down all of that is Frore where it will look like it never existed in the first place.”

The ground rumbles below their feet, causing the men to show a sign of concern in their gaze. Noelle doesn’t let on if that tremor is her or her mate since most have yet to see a Sleigher and any of their abilities.

Kaven steps forward, sticking a dagger at her chin. “Stop it, Elle.”

Noelle puckers her lips and blows out. The breath swirls, sparkling in the morning light as it is visible to all. It reaches the knife, freezing it instantly. Her finger lifts and taps the edge, causing it to shatter into tiny pieces. Kaven lets out a yelp and releases the hilt from the coldness. What was the weapon, bounces along the ground like little beads.

“That is just an inkling of what I can do to you and Frore…and to any of you who dare to harm my mate,” she warns. Her gazes falls upon Nikolaus. “I love you.”

His head dips. “I know.”

Author Bio:

Martha Sweeney is a BESTSELLING author who writes in a variety of genres: romance (contemporary, romcom, suspense, paranormal and historical), suspense, fantasy, thriller, coloring books, and soon, science fiction. She strives to push herself as a storyteller with each new tale and hopes to push her readers outside of their comfort zone whether it be genre or the stories themselves.

With a B.S. in Psychology, Martha utilizes her knowledge of human and animal behavior successfully in the business world and in her writing to present realistic characters and situations. She’s been creative since she was little, always drawing, coloring or making crafts, so her venture into being an author was a natural transition.

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Captured Secrets by Carmen Peone blitz

Captured Secrets
Carmen Peone
Publication date: March 7th 2023
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Western

“Brimming with suspense and adventure, Captured Secrets, is a love story I’ll not soon forget. An engrossing tale with all the twists and turns that make a contemporary Western so hard to put down.” Debra Whiting Alexander, award-winning author of Zetty

After her parents die in a horrific car accident, Sydney Moomaw is thrust into running their guest ranch in eastern Washington. She soon discovers that her parents were keeping secrets. Why is the ranch in serious debt? Why did her parents allow the insurance to lapse? Why didn’t they tell her about it? And where are their wills? Sydney needs to figure out a way to save the ranch she loves before her sister sells it.

Photographer Trey Hardy arrives at the ranch the same day Sydney’s parents are killed. His working-vacation plans change when he decides to help Sydney save her ranch. But, his offers to help are met with resistance. Her stubbornness and independence are both maddening and alluring.

Amid the tangle of finances, tensions with her sister, and her own grief and anger, Sydney begins receiving threatening notes. They must be from her abusive ex-husband, but he’s in jail. Isn’t he? When a teenager appears at the ranch insisting she is Sydney’s daughter, Sydney finally realizes she’s going to have to start trusting people to help her. Will Trey’s plan work? Can they save her beloved ranch? Can she really have the life she’s dreamed of?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

Sydney took a bite of salad and enjoyed the tangy dressing. “What’re your ideas?”

Trey wiped his mouth with a napkin. “You might be able to catch your breath if you sold half the herd of cows or more. You could have a dispersal sale.”

“What’s that?”

“Bidders come to you. Since you have purebred Angus, you’ll bring in a better price. You’d sell cow/calf pairs and half the bulls. How many bulls do you have?”

“Twenty-five.”

“You can sell ten bulls. What about horses?”

“Hang on, I’ll grab a notebook.” She rushed to the office. The answering machine light flashed, so she pushed the Play button. Glenda wanted to talk about the ranch. Sydney cringed. If she had a plan before finding the will, she could hold Glenda off.

She took a minute to google and print off information about probate to read later. She tugged a leather tooled notebook from her drawer, grabbed a mechanical pencil from a Seven Tine–logoed cup, and went back to the table.

“Got it.” Trey tapped his cell and set it on the table.

She opened the book and made notes and columns. “A hundred fifty pairs, ten bulls, horses . . .” Trey had barbecue sauce around his lips. She reached for a napkin and dabbed his mouth. Their gazes locked for a few seconds before she sat back and focused on the notebook. “We list five colts for sure. If Twister pulls through, I want to keep him. He could potentially salvage this place.”

“That’s a big gamble. How’s he doing?”

“It is, but he’s much better. He was up and nursing this morning. Weak, but he’s making remarkable improvements.”

Trey studied her as though she’d stretched the truth, then gulped the last of his strawberry lemonade and clinked the glass on the table. “Good. You have a couple of reputable studs. Let’s start listing stud fees online. I’ll take their pictures tomorrow. You can work with Dr. Saul to freeze and ship semen. That will broaden the playing field.”

“How do you know all this?”

“My dad raised more than cattle. He bred and trained high-end quarter horses too. When he had a good but middleaged one that he wanted to cut and sell as a competition horse, he did the same thing.” Sydney pushed potatoes around on her plate. “Why are you so intent on helping me?”

“To be honest, I care about you guys and would like to see you save this place. It’s got a heartbeat to it that pumps a fruitful spirit through its veins. I’ve never known folks like you. This place has renewed me. It’s filled with a sentimental grit and has sparked something in me that’s been dead for a long time.”

“Grit?” Sydney didn’t feel an ounce of courage or security in herself or the ranch. Everything seemed to be crumbling around her. The dispersal sale would be a long shot depending on cattle prices.

“I know you can’t see it right now, but I feel a huge sense of peace. I felt it the moment I stepped over the threshold––”

“That’s because you’re always on the go. This is new territory for you. The difference between parched desert and lush mountains.”

Trey shook his head. “It’s more than that. A kind of stability or bond or unity surrounds this place. It’s strong. Like a gigantic magnet.” He pointed to a framed photo of a young Lester and Jennie Moomaw on the wall. “You can see it in their eyes. You have that same determined look.”

“The determination that used to exist? It’s gone. I don’t know where the money will come from to pay employee wages. I can’t leave a single, pregnant mother in a lurch.”

Author Bio:

Carmen Peone is an award-winning author who has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She owns and trains her horses and competes in local Extreme Challenge and Mountain Trail competitions. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. With the love of history and western-woman lifestyle, she brings stories of hope, family, relationships, and faith to her novels.

These books were a labor of love, especially the second edition of the True to Heart Trilogy.

Thank you to my cover model, Shayna Palmanteer of the Colville Confederated Tribes, for your willingness to be a part of this adventure. Visit my website for information on the workbooks that go along with my young adult books at https://carmenpeone.com/books/.

http://carmenpeone.com

Healing, Hope, Horses

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Cover Reveal

Sin and Sinuosity #3-5 by Elice Nange.

Six Feet Under
Elice Nange
(Sin and Sinuosity, #3)
Publication date: August 15th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

Everything has a price. A price we all pay — in life and in death.

Determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps, Oscar Hyun carved out his own path in life.

On the surface, he has everything. Money, power, and prestige. Except for one thing — his elusive soulmate.

Or so everyone says.

Until she waltzes into his life.

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Promise Me Forever
Elice Nange
(Sin and Sinuosity, #3.5)
Publication date: November 14th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It only fills it with resentment and regret.

Nineteen years ago, Delilah Brewer lost the love of her life.

As such, she spent almost two decades shielding her heart, since time doesn’t heal all wounds and love is for fools — two things she’s far too cynical for.

What she is, is defective and proud, and living her life on her own terms.

Until an unconventional proposition presents itself.

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In Plain Sight
Elice Nange
(Sin and Sinuosity, #4)
Publication date: January 23rd 2024
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

Some feelings never fade with time. They only grow stronger. Brighter. Deadlier.

When faced with an impossible choice, Simone McWhorter made the decision to walk away from it all — her friends, her family, and the love of her life.

To the world, it was a tragic tale of love and loss. Except it was all a lie — an intricate tale of lies, deception, and treachery woven into the fabric of her existence.

Of their existence.

But fate had other plans for her. And so too did the love of her life.

The one she left behind.

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Author Bio:

Elice Nange is an author currently residing in the USA. She writes from the heart. Stories often address sensitive subjects like racism, sexual orientation, religion, discrimination, etc.

She may or may not be obsessed with Maya Angelou, ice cream, and the color purple not necessarily in that order.

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Audio Sale Blast

Get RESCUED HEARTS by Tarina Deaton for 50% with audiobook.com!


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Book Description:


‘Please, Jordan. It’s Emme.’


The last thing Major Jordan Grant expected was to be pulled off his unit’s deployment for a civilian mission. But when Titan calls, you answer-especially when the mission is to rescue the younger sister of your childhood best friend.


Moments away from death, NGO nurse Emme France could only pray for a miracle. The last person she expected to see in the smoke and dust was Jordan Grant, her teenage crush and litmus test of all the men she’d dated ever since.


Lying low at Titan’s exotic Abu Dhabi headquarters while the media furor around her rescue settles, Emme and Jordan explore a mutual attraction that is no longer young and innocent. Days in the desert paradise ignite desire and blur reality . . . until they return home, where Jordan rejoins his deployed unit and Emme is left alone to reevaluate her life and priorities.


Their passion was forged in the fires of combat. Will the home fires be enough to keep the burn alive?


Contains mature themes.


Cover Reveal

Ripped by Linden Bell

CR Ripped Banner

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Ripped By Linden Bell

Ripped Ebook 3

Coming April 7th

Mars Fitness, Book 1

Sometimes heartache is a blessing in disguise.

I thought my life was perfect. I lived with my amazing boyfriend. I worked with my ride-or-die best friend. I was on track to made-it-ville.

Then I came home one day to find my boyfriend sleeping with my best friend.

Now I’m lost with no one to turn to except Donnie, the silver fox who lets me crash at his house until I can figure out what the hell went wrong and how I’m supposed to fix it.

But once I’m there, I’m not sure I want to leave.

Donnie’s a lot older than me and he’s still grieving the death of his husband. My life is a trash fire and my career is non-existent. He’s a svelte spin instructor and I’m a film geek. We couldn’t be more different, but we need each other like we both need to breathe.

So maybe my boyfriend sleeping with my best friend wasn’t the worst thing to happen. Maybe it was the best. It brought me to Donnie.

Ripped is an age gap, nerd/jock, opposites attract MM romance between roommates who cuddle on the couch while watching classic movies. Expect steamy shower rooms, teary confessions, disapproving family, and brand new starts. It is the first book in the Mars Fitness series and can be read as a standalone.

CW: off-page sudden loss of a spouse, off-page homophobia, cheating secondary characters. Happily ever after guaranteed.

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To celebrate the cover reveal of Ripped, we are giving away 2 advanced e-copies of the upcoming release!

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About the Author:

Linden Bell writes romance that heats you up and makes you smile. She’s a lifelong fan of romance novels and the happily ever after.

Connect with Vawn: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindenbell https://www.amazon.com/author/lindenbell https://www.subscribepage.com/rippedgrr


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New Release

“Broken Deeds MC: Second Generation #7”

OUT NOW: Broken Deeds MC: Second Generation #7
from USA Today bestselling author Esther E. Schmidt. Get it here: Books2read.com/BDMCTwins

Genre: Standalone, Biker Romance
Author: Esther E. Schmidt
Cover Design: Esther E. Schmidt
Model: Anthony Cadrecha
Photographer: Golden Czermak, furiousfotog.com
Release Day: March 7, 2023

Two couples, two stories; one main storyline.

LOUIE & ALOUETTE: Louie – Meeting the one woman who lights up my whole world–which leads to a full-on collision and fireworks within hours–is the best thing that ever happened to me. Also, the worst when one misunderstanding causes a wedge between us. Yet, life has a plot twist in mind to make our lives collide once again, and this time it’s indefinitely.

Alouette – One moment in time manages to flip my future into a direction I never saw coming. However, my business is a top priority for me. The man I thought I’d steer clear from turns out to be everything I never thought I needed in my life. Especially when the smell of death surrounds my diner.

LUKE & FARAH: Luke – I’ve wanted Farah from the first time I laid eyes on her, but my twin and her best friend–who happens to be her boss–collided and caused a month long gap between us. A robbery gone bad allows me to swoop in and take her under my protection. The opportunity is an eye opener to claim what’s mine while keeping her safe.

Farah – Why do horrible things manage to play on repeat when it comes to me? Attracting danger is clearly something I was born into. The only one who fully accepts who I am is also the overbearing biker who balances my safety in the havoc the underworld is pulling me back into.

Broken Deeds MC handles cases the government can’t close; they take charge and won’t stop until justice is served. This second generation is a series where each book is a new couple, handling a new case, and can each be read as a complete standalone with a happily ever after.

Book Blitz

Book Blitz :: Eden on Earth by Dhaval Sonsoil

 





After setbacks one after the other at a young age, Dhaval Sonsoil accidentally stumbles upon a glimpse of enlightenment. In his childhood dreams, he sees visions of what he calls the void, the place of nothingness but, conversely, all-knowing. Challenged by a domineering father and pulled by emotions for a young peasant girl he is forbidden to see, Dhaval quickly learns that, enlightened or not, we can’t always get what we want. Ever persevering, Dhaval embarks on a quest for illumination in the modern world. But in doing so, he embarks on something much more profound: a search for paradise on Earth with coming-of-age philosophy to celebrate life in every moment for everyone in this majestic world.



Book Links:
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Read an Excerpt from Eden on Earth


I always thought enlightenment was no more than a fairy tale. I assumed that to achieve it, one had to grow old in a mountain cave, meditate under a Bodhi tree, or be delirious enough to hear the sound of one hand clapping. Now I have come to realize that it’s something much simpler. Enlightenment is just another word for love, true and selfless love that enables people to experience joy in all situations in every moment of their life.

And yet, love has become a dirty word. Many will tell you it’s complicated and messy, that it gets sticky, that it distracts you from purity, that it can be done right, and it can be done wrong. Others will tell you that love is a chemical process in the brain and nothing more. And if you search for it any more profound than that, you’ll be waiting for a long like a person waiting to hear the sound of a tree falling in a forest that makes no sound.

And, yet, if you ask any two random lovers—I’m talking about the true lovers, not the Hollywood or Bollywood version, but two lovers that eat at each other’s snot and scent each other’s breath, who want to be in each other’s skin, not just be with each other—about enlightenment. They’ll tell you they don’t care. As far as they’re concerned, they’ve already found the answer, and it’s this: all you need is true and selfless love. That kind of love makes lovers feel content to stay with each other in every moment of their life, run through deserts and sail oceans, and climb mountains, because what else is there worth finding? They’ve experienced what they’ve been looking for, the joy of living, experiencing the depth of love, the catalyst, the glue that binds all creation from time immemorial, now and forever.  

If I sound like a guru, I’m not. I was confused not just by love, but by life itself for most of my life. Sure, I read about enlightenment in books and saw it mentioned in films. Sometimes it was called moksha, illumination, and other times an ecstasy pill. Some others called it living joyfully every day without any worries for tomorrow! But either way, it was always something cryptic, an abstract idea people threw about at meditation retreats, seminars, and in ‘spirituality ’or ‘austerity ’or ‘postmodern art ’workshops, but inevitably made at least one person feel uneasy because big words meant significant opinions. 

Would enlightenment mean having an encyclopedia inside your head? Or was it more a case of being able to project the past and the future like a film reel of dinosaurs and nebulas upon the back of one’s mind? Or, then again, was it more an aesthetic thing? A glowing halo and a white tunic? Was that all it was? Just an image? A pretense?  Or knowing and understanding how to live a joyful life at all times in all circumstances? Is it an idea of something that didn’t exist but people clung on to because of sheer fear, fear of being a conscious presence in a universe that is nothing more than a black vacuum of black holes and giant spinning orbs, one of which we found ourselves stuck to, thanks to that miraculous and very convenient force we call gravity?

But I was never interested in what others wanted to tell me about enlightenment. I wanted to see it for myself. You know, I’ve always only ever wanted the truth. Absolute, not relative truth. Black coffee, no sugar truth, truth beyond illusion. Release from insanity. Release from chaos. Freedom from daily pain, struggles, and disappointments of life—release from greed for power and wealth. Escape from intolerance, violence, and desires of the world.

Did I find it? I’ll let you be the judge. Because who am I to tell you what you should think anyway? Who am I to tell you what the meaning and purpose of your life are? Too many people in this world are convinced they have theanswers. The world has become too loud, too distorted to hear gentle and absolute truths. I don’t think you’ll believe what I have to say even if I do tell you. You have to see it for yourself. You have to experience it for yourself! And isn’t that the whole idea of the one hand clapping and the tree falling in the forest, making no sound? 

The answer is simple. As soon as you try to explain enlightenment or the joyful living in every situation in every moment of life, you have lost it, just like you try to clap with one hand, but you will not make a sound.

All I can tell you is my story.




Tuesday Teaser

Emelia’s Solders Teaser Tuesday


SciFi Romance, Action Adventure, Multiple Partners

Date Published: March 10 2023


photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png  

 

Tired of being taken for granted, Emelia Drake decides to confront her latest loser boyfriend. Instead of the satisfaction she hoped for, she finds herself caught in an elaborate and dangerous web.

Nick Cormac and Chase Turner seek to protect an innocent woman from the web of darkness that’s shattered their lives. The survivors of dark experiments and torture at the hands of a mercenary who wanted to create a legion of superior soldiers, Nick and Chase are part of an elite, highly-skilled group intending to stop the mercenary once and for all.

They know Emelia is too good for them and their world, but that doesn’t change the fact that they want her. Will they be able to keep her safe? How can they ever let her go?


 


EXCERPT


All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2023 Isabella Jordan

 

Emelia Drake’s heart dropped as she spotted Scott’s car parked at a seedy-looking bar on the outskirts of the city. Amy, her coworker who lived nearby, had mentioned seeing Scott’s very distinctive Camaro at the bar several times lately. Emelia wouldn’t have been curious except that over the last several days, she hadn’t had a lot of luck reaching him. Once he explained his phone’s battery had died. Another time he was out of range, working with some new client.

It had been a month now and she’d barely seen him. Emelia tried hard to give him the benefit of the doubt, she really did. Scott was an architect, and a good one. It was one of the reasons she liked having him as a boyfriend, shallow as it was to admit. But who was she kidding? Scott had cheated on her before. A couple of times. And the chants of “if he does it once” from well meaning friends were really starting to get old.

So, Emelia had gotten home from work, downed a couple of small glasses of bourbon for courage, and decided to go for a ride. In her gut, she knew she’d find him. She always did.

This time, though. This time she wouldn’t sit out in the parking lot staring at his car in tears. She had no intention of driving away in shame and waiting until he got tired of the other woman and came back to her. No. Not this time.

Climbing out of the car, Emelia braced herself. She was going to look so out of place in there. Here she was in her pencil skirt and blouse, kitten heels and her hair up in a neat twist. Why hadn’t her dumb ass changed clothes?

But she just had to do this. She had to face him down. Just once.

Because this was over.

Yanking open the door, she walked into a classic smoky barroom, filled with rougher people than she normally kept company with. Emelia mentally shook her head. What was Scott doing here? It usually pained him to converse with anyone making less than a hundred grand a year and he was here?

Some old rock tune with a heavy bass blared above the din of conversation around her. She tried to see if she could spot him there. She was half-praying that she wouldn’t, that it was an incredible coincidence, that someone had a Camaro just like his. She could go home, crawl into her bed, and just hide  there for a day or two.

When her heel caught on a rough board, Emelia almost went flying, but strong hands steadied her as she regained her balance. Turning, she glanced up at her rescuer and just stared. Steel blue eyes met hers set in a truly handsome face, all strong-jaw and nice lines with a scruffy beard and thick, wavy dark hair that just touched his shoulders.

Damn. Why had she never come here before?

“Thank you,” she told him, truly grateful that he saved her from making a spectacle of her self earlier than she intended.

“You okay?” he asked, his gaze raking her over.

Emelia nodded, looking him over, too. He was all muscles covered in denim and leather and…

She needed to focus. Find Scott. You’re not here for the hot biker dude.

“Yeah, thank you,” she told him with a smile. She left him there, watching as he took a seat across from a blond who was even bigger than he was and just as gorgeous. The blond’s eyes lit up with amusement. When he caught her gaze, he winked at her.

Jesus.

When she reached the very back of the bar, she spotted Scott in a booth, wearing a leather jacket she’d never seen before, with a T-shirt and jeans. That was new. Snuggled up against his side was a very attractive woman with a head full of flame-red ringlets, big green eyes, and ruby-painted lips. She laughed at something Scott said, and he answered by pressing a kiss just under her ear, nuzzling under her hair.

Emelia’s heart sank. Well, okay then.

Across from them sat a huge guy with a military haircut and his back to her, so she couldn’t get a good look at him. Now what are you going to do, genius?

It had been a mistake to walk in. Especially when she knew what she’d find. Just as she knew she’d let him come crawling back to her when he was done with the Julia Roberts wannabe.

And it was at that moment Scott spotted her.

His dark eyes widened. Shocked, he abruptly jumped up from the seat, throwing the redhead off in a way Emelia would have found comical if circumstances were different. “Emelia, what are you doing here?” Scott asked in a not-so-steady voice. His eyes were glassy and red, and he wasn’t entirely stable on his feet. He’d been drinking. A lot.

Emelia smiled, wanting to come across as sassy and empowered but not quite hitting that note. “I saw your car outside.” She jerked her thumb in the direction of the bar’s entrance. “I thought I’d stop by and say hi.”

“Is this your girlfriend?” The redhead was beaming at her from the seat, her chin propped in one hand. “She’s so… sweet. Don’t you think she’s sweet, Alex?”

The military guy glanced over his shoulder at her, his dark gaze roaming over her in a way that made her cringe. Then he smirked at her. “Yeah.”

Scott’s gaze shifted from Alex to Emelia and back again. Licking his lips, he returned his attention to her. He looked nervous. Somehow, she didn’t think it was because he’d been caught by his girlfriend snuggling up to a redhead.

“I’m going to be out for a while tonight,” Scott told Emelia. “Why don’t you go on home and I’ll call you tomorrow? Yeah?”

Something was wrong. Usually when she confronted Scott about any of his little side bitches, he’d be furious. That has been part of the reason confronting him in a public place had seemed like a good idea. As pissy mad as he usually got, in public he wouldn’t be able to throw things at her or swing at her as he normally did. Not without risking someone would get the police involved.

Now Scott just seemed… worried. What had he gotten himself into?

Emelia nodded, uneasy. “I’m going to take off. Don’t worry about calling me,” she said in a shaky voice. “I’m good.”

The line was meant to mark her exit. Just as she turned around, a hand caught her elbow. She looked up in fear as Alex rose from his side of the booth, his grip on her firm. He was a big guy, towering over her. The smirk he wore just made it worse. “So, does that mean you’re available now, sweet thing?” Alex drawled, his grip tightening around her bicep.

Emelia yanked on her arm to pull free. His fingers flexed. Now it hurt. “Let me go, please.” Emelia forced herself to meet his gaze. “Please?”

“Hey, man,” Scott jumped in at that point. “Hey, she’s—”

Alex held up his other hand to cut him off. “I’m just going to walk her out to her car. It’s a rough neighborhood. I just want to make sure she’s taken care of.”

The redhead’s grin widened, and Emelia’s stomach dropped. “I’ll be fine,” Emelia told him as forcefully as she could manage.

Alex lowered his face, his dark, mean eyes glaring into hers. “I insist.” Alex walked around her and then proceeded to pretty much drag her away from the booth. A quick look back showed Scott just watching, with his mouth hanging open.

Emelia struggled, trying to pull free. When the front entrance came into sight, she decided she’d just start screaming. No way she was going to let the man drag her out of the bar and do who-knew-what with her.

Abruptly, the man came to a halt in front of her, causing her to run into his back. Something had surprised him enough to loosen his grip and Emelia yanked back the moment she felt it, pulling free of him. As she made it around him, she realized it was the blond man who’d been sitting with her rescuer who’d stopped them. And while Alex whoever-he-was was a big guy, he had nothing on the blond blocking his exit. The hot guy with long, dark hair stepped in front of her, shielding her from Alex.

“You’re in our way,” Alex growled at the taller man.

The man had sky-blue eyes, a strong jaw, and blond hair cut short. His shoulders were as wide as church doors and his muscles had muscles under a heavy, worn leather coat, shirt and jeans. He cut an intimidating figure as his glare locked with that of the guy who’d been trying to drag her out of the bar.

“I’m not blocking your way,” the blond corrected him, tipping his head in Emelia’s direction.

She felt much safer tucked behind the broad back of the dark-haired man. Her palms were pressed to his back and he felt muscly, too. Damn.

“She’s with me,” Alex told him, his voice low.

“You with him, sweetheart?” the blond asked her.

Emelia shook her head. “No, I’m not.”

“Guess that means she’s with us,” the brunet said, grinning over his shoulder at her. “You with us?”

Emelia didn’t know these two anymore than she did Alex, but the vibes she got from them felt much safer. She was willing to chance it. “Yes,” Emelia said loud enough for Alex to hear.

Alex’s glare had her heart lurching in her chest. After a meaningful moment, that intense gaze shifted back to the blond. “My mistake,” he said, his lips pressed into a thin line. When he headed back in the direction of Scott’s table, she released the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.

The two men waited until he was out of earshot before herding her back to the booth where they’d been sitting. The dark-haired man seated her between himself and the wall.

“How you fellas doing?” A tall waitress with curly hair smiled at them as she stopped at their booth.

“A couple more,” the blond motioned to the mostly empty glasses on the table before them. “What about you, sweetheart?”

Drinking was the last thing she should be contemplating but she was going to need to calm down, to get her mind around what just happened. “A Whiskey Sour, please.”

The waitress nodded. “Be right back.”

“You okay?” the blond asked, the concern in those bright blue eyes seeming genuine.

Emelia nodded. “I will be. I think.”

“What are you doing here?” the brunet asked meaningfully.

She blew out a sharp breath. “Confronting a cheating boyfriend?”

The two of them exchanged a look. “That was your boyfriend?” The brunet jerked his thumb in the direction of Scott’s table.

Emelia shook her head. “I don’t know the big guy. Scott’s my boyfriend. Was my boyfriend. He’s the one back there all over the redhead.”

“Do you know the woman?” the blond wanted to know.

Emelia shook her head again.

“Well, sorry about that,” the brunet said slowly. “But you might have bigger problems now.”

“Why?” Then she stopped, remembered how uneasy Scott had seemed at her arrival. “He’s gotten into something he shouldn’t have, huh?”

Again, the two men exchanged a look.

“You can tell me.” Her relationship was definitely over now. Whatever was going on between him and redhead and Alex? She wanted no part of that.

“Yeah, he’s gotten himself into something he shouldn’t have,” the brunet went on. “Problem is, they’ve seen you now.”

“So?” Emelia thanked the waitress who came back with the round of drinks. “I don’t have anything to do with it.”

The blond held up a hand to halt their conversation until the waitress left.

“You do if they think they can use you against him,” the blond explained.

“Excuse me?” Emelia stared at him as she worked on her drink, enjoying the way it burned into her stomach. “I don’t think they missed the part where I showed up and found him cuddled up to another woman. I told him not to call me. It’s over. Done. Whatever is going on there doesn’t involve me.”

“It does if they think they can use you to motivate him to do something they want,” the brunet continued. “Do you know anything about them? Why he’s with them?”

“Are you undercover cops or something?” Emelia wanted to know, fear creeping into her head. “Why all the questions?”

“We’re the ones who are going to get your ass safely out of here, so don’t worry about it,” the blond snapped. “Do you know anything about them?”

The impatient tone got her attention. “No, I don’t.” Emelia forced herself to meet his gaze. “Scott’s an architect. He’d been telling me that he was putting in a lot of hours with a new client, a woman. He’s designing some sort of special building for her. That’s what he told me. I really haven’t heard anything from him for weeks, so I found him here and decided to confront him. Guess it wasn’t my best idea.”

“You’re in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the brunet told her. “I’ll give you that. What’s your name?”

She looked from him to the blond and back, ultimately deciding that it was in her best interest to be nice. “Emelia,” she told him. “Who are you?”

“He’s Nick,” the brunet offered. “I’m Chase.”

Emelia worked on downing her drink, trying to calm the riot of thoughts in her head. She’d shown up to confront her loser boyfriend. His cheating ways had apparently led him to get involved with some people he should have avoided. What happened now? All she really wanted to do now was go home, call in sick for the rest of the week and feel sorry for herself with more bourbon and ice cream.

Something told her she wasn’t going to get her wish.

“Thank you,” she said after a moment. “Whatever’s going on, you didn’t have to keep him from dragging me out of here, but you did.”

Something like admiration lit Nick’s eyes and he nodded.

The brunet, Chase, sat back on the booth seat, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. Emelia stiffened but she didn’t protest. “Can I go home now?” Emelia hated the pitiful note in her own voice.

“Do you live close by?” Nick asked, scrubbing a hand over his jaw.

Emelia shrugged. “I’m about three miles away. I’ll be okay to drive.”

Nick shook his head. “I’m sure you are, but if he decides to look for you, it won’t take him long at all to find you.”

Emelia’s heart ached in her chest. “Why would he? Apparently, I don’t matter to Scott.” Oh, that hurt to admit. And come find her? How insane was what they were telling her? They couldn’t be right, could they?

Chase’s gaze locked with hers. “Doesn’t matter to them. And Alex seems like the type of guy who’d make the most of his mistake.”

Emelia didn’t mistake his meaning. What if he did come looking for her? What could she do? Both men watched her reaction while her mind reeled.

“Hey,” Nick got her attention, pulled her out of her mind. “Sorry. Not trying to scare the shit out of you. Just trying to be realistic. I’m sorry you stumbled into this, but you did.”

Whatever it was, it was real. She’d felt so uncomfortable at Scott’s table when she’d gone back there to face him. Something had been off about the entire situation. What if they were right? What if she was in danger?

“We’ll keep you safe,” Nick told her…


 

About the Author

Isabella Jordan is the alter ego of an otherwise stressed out web designer, programmer, and internet junkie. When she’s not trying to perfect her own personal caffeine IV drip, she enjoys spending time with her family, doing volunteer work, and writing. She loves creating new stories of all kinds and chatting with readers and friends.

Isabella would love to hear from her readers!

 

Follow the Publisher on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter: @changelingpress


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