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Book Title: Tall Dark & Loaded Anthology
Author: Various Authors
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
When Jillian Butler moved back to Lilac Ridge to run the second chance animal rescue her aunt left her, she knew it was only a matter of time until the town learned of her fourteen year old secret. What Jill didn’t expect was to run into the man with whom she created that secret. With billionaire Austin Hale insisting she let him adopt a dog, Jill has no choice but to face the man who shattered her heart and betrayed her trust. It’s only after a single's auction to raise money for the rescue that Jill finds her stubborn heart being rescued from the one man she thought she could never forgive.
This is the first story in Susan's Superstitious Brides romantic series.
Billionaire Rules by Mel Curtis
A billionaire stumbles upon underground MMA fighting in L.A. and finds himself in a female MMA fighter's corner.
Fighting Downforce by Ari Thatcher
To keep her stock car racing team competitive, Alexis Robles needs a co-owner. She’s hoping for a silent partner, but instead, billionaire investor/racing fanatic Noah Spencer demands a ride of his own. She wouldn’t mind adding another team, but not if it becomes the laughing stock of the series.
Noah raced stock cars in minor and regional leagues while he was in college, but gave it up when he became too busy making money. All that money is nice to have, but it means nothing if he can’t pursue his passion. Buying into an established team is his best bet for quick success, and Jack Robles Motorsports was a good company until their main sponsor left. The hardest part of this transaction will be convincing Alexis he’s what she needs in her future.
Love Charm for Gillian by Carly Carson
Gillian traveled to the Dalmation Coast to close the door on tragedy. But an adventurer with a private yacht may be just the type of enticement she can't resist...for better or for worse.
Honeymoon with a Billionaire by MJ Summers
When good girl librarian, Natasha Jones finds herself alone on her honeymoon, the last thing she expects is to end up in the arms of billionaire Kirk Tyrrell. Instead of spending the week licking her wounds from her fiance's last fling right before the wedding ceremony, she allows Kirk to whisk her away to his mountain estate in Aspen, Colorado. The flames of their attraction run hot as Kirk uncovers the wildly passionate woman hidden inside Natasha, but is it just a rebound or the start of their forever?
Billion Dollar Smile by Kelly Collins
Ten dollars and a smile. That’s all it took to change the course of Samantha Foster’s life. After winning the Billion Dollar Smile contest she set off to live a week in the shoes of illusive, gaming billionaire, Miles Covington, but could she get past his secrets and games to win a place in his heart?
National Bestselling author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women's fiction, Susan Ann Wall is a US Army veteran, a Bon Jovi fanatic, and leans to the fun side of crazy.
Mel Curtis is an award-winning, USA Today bestseller who writes fun, sexy romance and sweet romantic comedy
USA Today Bestselling author Ari Thatcher is the naughty side of sweet romance author Aileen Fish. Ari has always loved sexy romance where love takes the leading role. Reviewers have called her work “captivating” and “compelling”, and her characters “intelligent, intriguing and realistic.”
Carly Carson is a contemporary romance author who likes to add a twist of magic to her stories.
MJ Summers currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband, three young children and their goofy dog. When she's not writing romance novels, she loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), hiking, Zumba and yoga (to make up for the milkshakes), swimming and camping (with lots of gooey s'mores and hard ciders). She also loves shutting down restaurants once a month with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something. More like just staying until they turn the lights off.
MJ is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as the International Women's Writing Guild.
Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping the love alive.
Always a romantic, she is inspired by real time events mixed with a dose of fiction. She encourages her readers to reach the happily ever after and bask in the afterglow of the perfectly imperfect love. Kelly lives in Colorado with her husband of twenty-five years. She loves hockey, shiny objects and has a passion for lemon drop martinis.
Driving Me Mad by L.T. Smith
For Rebecca Gibson, her journey to a work convention will be one she’ll never forget. After driving around for four hours, Rebecca stops to ask for directions at an isolated house on the outskirts of Kirk Langley, Derbyshire.
Her initial meeting with the house’s attractive owner, Annabel Howell, seems strange and unsettling, but at her hostess’s insistence, Rebecca spends the night.
Plagued by nightmares, Rebecca senses that her dream world has blended with what she believes is reality. When she leaves the next day, her life has changed.
Can Rebecca solve a mystery that has been haunting a family for over sixty years? Will she find love along the way? Or will the events drive her mad?
Bunny Finds a Friend by Hazel Yeats
It’s close to Christmas in Amsterdam, and Cara Jong isn’t having the best of days. Her girlfriend has left her, and her new job isn’t nearly as glamorous as she hoped it would be. A run-in with Jude Donovan, who’s playing Santa Claus in a department store, does little to lift her spirits, even though there’s clearly an appealing woman hidden beneath Santa’s beard.
When Cara finds out that Jude is actually a well-known author of children’s books, she’s intrigued and decides to attend Jude’s reading. A bizarre misunderstanding breaks the ice between them, and they share a heated kiss that same night.
As the weeks go by, they begin to fall in love and hope to leave past experiences behind. But Cara doesn’t trust her luck in love and soon breaks things off, leaving Jude baffled and broken-hearted.
Can Cara’s meddling sisters and a hilarious road trip convince Cara to go after her happily-ever-after with the writer?
Stowe Away by Blythe Rippon
Samantha Latham is a little socially awkward and a lot brilliant. When she arrives at Yale, thrilled to finally escape her rural Vermont hometown called Stowe, the focused and driven Sam knows exactly what she wants: an illustrious career as a medical researcher and a relationship with her new best friend Natalie, a talented yet capricious girl who keeps Sam guessing.
Everything changes when Sam must suddenly withdraw from school to care for her invalid mother back in Vermont. Moving back to Stowe means no more brilliant career in medicine, and definitely no more Natalie. As she finds herself alone, faced with a life she never wanted, Sam slowly learns to recalibrate what she considers success, discovering the artistic side of Stowe, a community of lesbians she never imagined existed there, and a new woman who inspires Sam to rethink everything she thought she knew—especially about love.
L.T. SmithL.T. is a late bloomer when it comes to writing and didn’t begin until 2005 with her first novel Hearts and Flowers Border (first published in 2006).
She soon caught the bug and has written numerous tales, usually with a comical slant to reflect, as she calls it, ‘My warped view of the dramatic.’
Although she loves to write, L.T. loves to read, too—being an English teacher seems to demand it. Most of her free time is spent with her furry little men—two fluffy balls of trouble who keep her active and her apologies flowing.
Hazel YeatsHazel Yeats resides in the Netherlands, the country of flat polders, green pastures, and lots of water. She knew from an early age that she wanted to write, but it wasn’t until decades later that she finally wrote a novel. Once she had, there was no going back—she was hooked.
When she’s not slaving away at her day job, she’s cycling, sipping cappuccinos, or getting her hands dirty by growing her own veggies. And she sings, in a very unambitious choir. You wouldn’t peg her for a soprano, but she is.
Blythe RipponBlythe Rippon is the author of Barring Complications (GCLS finalist for best dramatic fiction) and the short story „S. Claus“ in the holiday anthology Do You Feel What I Feel. She holds a PhD in the humanities and teaches academic writing to undergraduates. When not grading papers or imagining plots for future novels, she is usually holding forth about the political injustice of the day, hiking, or experimenting in the kitchen. She has lived all over the United States and at present can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her wife and children.
Book Title: Boiling Point
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: 1/25/16
Genre: Contemporary Romance (Hot!)
About BOILING POINT:
Con artist Austin Shaw's been in disguise so long he's not sure where his fake identities end and he begins. Now that he's been strong-armed into working for a specialized undercover unit working with the Chicago police—criminals with unique “skills”—the last thing he needs is to risk his iron control. Especially when it comes to a certain stunningly sexy hacker who tempts him with every look of disdain.
Polly Banks will never, ever trust a con man. On the trail of a ruthless crook who destroyed the only family she's ever known, Polly is unnerved by the shadow who follows her every move. The one who makes her pulse pound and breath short with lust. Austin. He's infuriating, enigmatic, and pure sex appeal, and she's determined to resist him.
But an untrustworthy man of disguise can become anyone he wants...including a man that Polly must trust if she's to escape their dangerous game alive.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/boiling-point-tessa-bailey/1121904559
Entangled Publihsing: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/boiling-point/
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.
Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
Author Media Links:
Newsletter: http://www.tessabailey.com/ - !contact/c1kcz
Exclusive Excerpt from BOILING POINT:
“All yours. You’ve been its cruel keeper for months.” He tilted his hips, presenting himself to her in a way that should have been crude, but on Austin, it was all animal grace. “At any time at all, you could have demanded me. Sent me to my knees to lick you off with one word. Grabbed my cock through my pants in front of everyone and told them who it belonged to.” His eyelids drooped as if the scenario was an aphrodisiac. “Please yourself with me, Polly. My body. My cock. Own it all.”
“I will,” she whispered, shaken by his speech. Emboldened by it. Holding his gaze she lifted the belt to his arousal and looped the leather around its ruddy base. A broken curse fell from his mouth, the muscles of his abdomen jerking. His big hands flew up, as if to grip her shoulders for balance, but they fisted and dropped back to his sides, where she told him with her inaction they must remain. Careful to keep the buckle from touching him, Polly tugged the leather to her right, watching the belt slither around his erection in a circular caress.
“Oh, fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” He swayed on his knees. “More. More.”
Polly leaned close and ran her tongue along the seam of his lips, pulling away when he tried to capture her mouth in a kiss. “Only if it pleases me.”
“Yes.” His nod was disjointed, breathing uneven. “Only if it pleases you.”
“It does.” Faster than the first time, Polly pulled the belt left, whimpering at the sight of his aching flesh being squeezed between the leather strip, the precum that beaded at his tip. She repeated the action twice more, faster and with more surrounding pressure on his length each time. “How does it feel?
“Like nothing else,” Austin groaned, neck muscles straining. “There’s nothing else.”
His declaration made her want to prove him wrong. Or maybe she needed a distraction to avoid feeling humbled. With the decision to stop thinking and experience, Polly grasped Austin’s hand and dragged it up her skirt, between her thighs where his palm conformed to her shape without hesitation, ripping a moan from her throat. “Th-there is something else.”
Austin’s gaze turned intent, fixated on her face. “You need to fuck now, sweet?” There was nothing casual about his perusal of her body. It was predatory filth and it set Polly ablaze. His middle finger pushed at her entrance, through the barrier of her underwear. “Ah God, just set me loose with a yes. I will split the fucking headboard down the middle from bucking into this pussy.”
Book Title:Zeke (Breaking The DeClan Brothers)
Genre:Contemporary Erotic Romance
Release Date:January 22, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
“Some guys call, some date, and some guys, they might even get married.
But, sweetheart, I ain’t any of those guys...” ~ Zeke Declan
Every girl in Galveston County knows about Zeke Declan’s rules and has agreed to them or is considering them.
Rule #1 Don’t call him. He’ll call you.
Rule #2 He doesn’t date.
Rule #3 No sleepovers.
Rule #4 Absolutely, no virgins.
When a couple friends talk me into going back to their hometown in the Bayou for the summer and challenge me to break “the best damn lay in Galveston County” along with every single one of his ridiculous rules, I’m confident that I can get the job done. I’m no stranger to men. I have five older brothers. I’m a teacher and I’m used to being around rebellious teenagers. However, Zeke Declan is definitely not someone that I could have prepared for. He’s not a testosterone-fueled, immature boy. He’s a confident, arousing, playful, and mind-melting man. But, behind that sexy charming smile, I know he’s hiding a secret. And, in order to break him, I’m going to need to find out what it is...
Kelly Gendron is the author of the TroubleMaker series, Breaking the Declan Brothers series, and a few other romantic suspense novels.
When she's not writing steamy, blush producing romances, she's out meeting new people while representing a group of reputable nursing facilities. You can find Kelly in a quiet suburb, somewhere between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. If you Google her, she’ll pop up there too. And, please do find her. Kelly loves to hear from her readers, and meeting new people.
Book Title:Dream Of Me Author:A. Star Genre:Steampunk Fantasy, Romance Release Date:Jan 19, 2016 Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Glory St. Pierre never thought so many lies could hold so much truth, especially when her entire life has been one of those lies. Now that she knows who she really is, she must find a way to come to terms with it before the Djinn sorcerer Rasputin and his steel army descend down upon the human and Djinn realms, wielding magic so dark even her own Djinn lover, Irving, is wary of it. Their only hope to save the realms are a couple of hunters and the Lords of the Djinn Order, four powerful Djinn who have remained elusive for centuries. Armed with her only granted wish, a fabulous airship, and the Djinn she loves by her side, Glory will embark on a quest to find the four lords and enlist their help. But there is a reason the lords have been in hiding, and once this tiny band of adventurers awakens them from their slumber, they will set off a chain of events that has been in the making since the beginning of time. There is no turning back now.
Book Title:Forged in Fire Author:Juliette Cross Genre:Paranormal Romance Release Date:January 27, 2015 Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
She never knew this demon world existed. Now she just wants to survive it. Genevieve Drake never needed a man to come to her rescue. Not until the night of her twentieth birthday, when some dude nearly chokes her to death in an alley behind a New Orleans Goth club. And a hot stranger splits the guy in half, rips a monster from inside, and incinerates it into ash. The hunky rescuer? Jude Delacroix—Dominus Daemonum, Master of Demons, now her guardian, whether she likes it or not. But she’s seriously beginning to like it. Her would-be murderer turns out to be only the first of many minions of the demon prince, Danté, who has all kinds of lascivious and sadistic plans. Which means when the formidably beautiful Jude offers his protection, Genevieve has no problem accepting it. For Jude and his fellow demon hunters tell her she is a Vessel, one who is born to serve the Light, but can be corrupted into a weapon of darkness. And to survive, she must trust a man whose unearthly eyes promise heaven…but whose powers unleash hell. Warning: Contains a dark and brooding demon hunter who harbors even darker secrets, a snarky heroine who’s being hunted by every demon in the underworld, and a sadistic demon prince with a fancy for violent sexual encounters.
The music pumped hard and loud, wavering between old-school classics and modern tunes. Mindy suddenly squealed with delight. I knew why without asking. The Cure’s song “Fascination Street” started thrumming all around us. As much of a Barbie Doll as she was, Mindy had eclectic taste in music, and anything by The Cure required complete adoration. Taking my beer with me, I followed her back onto the floor, squeezing through the sweaty bodies. Unfortunately, Steven did too. Persistence—I suppose that is a virtue in some people. Right now, it was just annoying. I sipped on the Abita to avoid talking to him and moved to the slow beat. Mindy and David shuffled off together, locked in an embrace. I feigned interest, pretending to listen to Steven yammer about who-knows-what, but all I wanted was to peer behind him at Mr. Rugged and Beautiful. He hadn’t moved, still watching from his solitary post with hooded eyes. Actually, from here, I couldn’t really tell if his eyes were directed at me or simply in my general vicinity. Oh crap! Here came sandy-haired gyrating boy again, more earnest than ever. His hands found my hips, quickly moving south. “Back off!” I shouted over the music, elbowing him in the ribs. Not too hard, but hard enough to make the average guy get the hint. He didn’t. “Dude, did you hear her? Back off!” Steven stepped in. For once, I was thankful he was present. Steven grabbed the guy’s shoulder, but Sandyhair pushed Steven so hard he fell through the crowd into the DJ’s stage. Other dancers sidestepped and turned back to their partners, probably thinking him drunk. Sandy-hair swiveled to me. A cold expression shuddered across his face. I stepped back, but he caught my wrist in an unbreakable grip. He pulled me hard against his chest, knocking my bottle to the floor, pinning my arms under his. He grinned. Primal fear flared inside me. Something was very wrong here. Again, a flash of red skimmed across his eyes. Was I already tipsy from half a bottle of beer? “Let her go,” a deep voice rumbled directly behind me. Sandy-hair tore his gaze from mine. One glance at the deep-voiced person over my shoulder, and shock skittered over his expression. Or was it fear? He bared his teeth like a cornered animal, then let me go, backing away toward the exit of the club. I twisted around, looking up, way up, into the face of Mr. R-and-B standing a head taller than me. I was five eight and wearing boots. Dark eyes, so dark they were almost black. An unreadable expression set in harsh lines. I couldn’t form a coherent thought, much less a sentence. From far away, he was stunning. Up close, I couldn’t even breathe. He gazed down at me for what seemed like an eternity while lights and music pumped around us. Captivating. Hypnotizing. Was he putting me under some spell? Why couldn’t I think straight? My mouth hung agape as I tried to regain composure. Finally, he spoke. “Are you all right?” Me? No! I’m about to need resuscitation from lack of oxygen. Preferably mouth-to-mouth. And from you, please. “Yes. I’m fine,” I whispered, clearing my throat. All of a sudden, it was very hot in here. Where was that beer? He stared at me a moment longer. He appeared to be somewhere in his late twenties or early thirties, but something in those dark depths made him seem so much older. His olive skin reminded me of warmer climates; not here in Cajun country but somewhere distant, exotic. Wavy dark brown hair hung loosely across his forehead and to the nape of his neck. He hadn’t shaved recently, and man, oh man did I want to run my fingers across that scruffy jawline. I realized I was staring, no, gawking at him. A ghost of a smile flickered across his face. Without saying anything else, he pivoted and headed for the exit, which was quite a pleasant view.
Juliette is a multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance. She calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home, where the landscape curls into her imagination, creating mystical settings for her stories. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more books set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.
Book Title:Pivotal Moments
Genre:Young Adult Romance
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Aislinn is doing the normal post-high school preparations to get into college. She's getting ready for a life beyond senior year, and wonders where she'll fit in to the world once she's officially an adult. Though her curves are to kill for, she's also smart and funny. However, she isn't at all popular, which is just fine with her.
Aislinn's introverted ways are about to be put to the test...
Content with hiding from the limelight, Aislinn doesn't get bullied like so many other shy kids do-that is, as long as she keeps to herself. But is she really living the life she's meant to? Or are there unforeseen adventures waiting to shake up her life in the near future?
When her brother comes home from college, he brings an unexpected houseguest...
Teagan Aldridge is a reformed party animal, ladies' man, and bad boy. He's the last person Aislinn thought would ever show her attention. But when Aislinn and Teagan become unlikely friends, he brings out a side of herself she never knew existed. She already knows she's special, but sexy and adventurous? That's a first.
Are their personalities too far apart, or will opposites attract, making them an unusual, but influential pair? When their vast differences collide, Aislinn is led to some unexpected...
When she’s not writing or working, Trinity still enjoys settling down to read a book or doing graphic art in her spare time.
Meet Brody Easton in THE BALLER!
A standalone Contemporary Romance novel by
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Vi Keeland
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/23atpbd
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1ZwJnI4
The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room.
It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster.
The famed quarterback decided to bare all.
And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets.
No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question. On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby—screwing with me.
When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me, to wanting to screw me.
But I don’t date players.
And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football.
I’d date an athlete.
It’s the other kind of player I don’t date.
You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.
Brody Easton was the ultimate player.
Every woman wanted to be the one to change him.
But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for.
Turned out, I was that girl.
Let’s face it. It never is.
There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…
And this one is ours.
About the Author:
Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn't change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work. She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!
Additional Books by Vi Keeland
Life on Stage series (2 standalone books)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1MWanfu
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1fczMX5
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1BgqIUD
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1CsRg9d
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1zk882K
MMA Fighter series (3 standalone books)
Worth the Fight (MMA Fighter Series, Book One)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1alpVES
Smashwords - http://bit.ly/1is0zNX
Worth The Chance (MMA Fighter Series, Book Two)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1xC71aa
Worth Forgiving (MMA Fighter Series, Book Three)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1wbsJEK
B & N: http://bit.ly/1ljdVzb
The Cole Series (2 book serial)
Belong to You (Cole Series, Book One)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1fr26W2
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1KRsCVy
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/belong-to-you-vi-keeland/1114962845
Made for You (Cole Series, Book Two)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1Mi0AzQ
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1KRsdCx
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/made-for-you-vi-keeland/1115883225
Cocky Bastard (Written with Penelope Ward)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1DW9XpB
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1WwPzkC
Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel)
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Rmi3xp
First Thing I See
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1fr3dF7
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1RmihEP
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1JWFo21
Book Title:Vampire Hunter: Rammel Hawking 1 Author:Victoria Danann Genre: Paranormal Romance Release Date:January 18, 2016 Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
"I walked away from the best thing that ever happened to me, just when she needed me most." - Rammel Hawking Ram's history prior to Elora's arrival coupled with My Familiar Stranger told from Ram's point of view and that of others close to him.
LanI had finished my education and chosen to sign on with Black Swan. The ink wasn’t dry on the paper before I was out the door. First assignment was Grunewald, the unit that serviced Berlin. It was close enough by whister to patrol, but far enough away to be secluded. The building was a renovation, or adaptation really, of an eighteenth century grand house, set in the middle of a forest preserve that was off limits to anyone not Black Swan. I had seen a lot of the world by then, but had never been to Berlin. I knew why we had a unit there. Because wherever you find prevalent nightlife, you find active nests of vampire. I didn’t have any personal experience with leeches at that time. But you don’t have to experience a thing personally to believe people when they tell you it’s nasty. I had never heard anything about vampire until six months ago. They trained our minds and bodies to be precision instruments and occasionally said something vague about protecting the innocent. But crap on a croissant. We had no idea we were preparing to be the only barrier between humanity and monsters that turned out to be real. Our story when we met civilian juvies was that we were in military school. Hel. Close enough. Right? Anyway, six months ago they clued me in. There are vampire out there. I had two choices when I turned eighteen. I could sign on as a vampire hunter or go home and keep my mouth shut about everything I’d learned. I was told that, if I chose the first option, I’d find that my training hadn’t even begun. I didn’t believe that. I mean how much harder could it be? Really. They said they took the mouth shut part of option two very seriously. No threat was spelled out, but it was certainly implied. I had six months to decide. So. Sure. I thought about it. A lot. The day before I turned eighteen I still hadn’t decided. I returned to quarters around ten o’clock, closed the door, switched on the light and nearly jumped out of my skin. My uncle was sitting there in the dark waiting like some creeper from a film noir movie. He laughed when I jumped. “Right. Real funny. What are you doing in this part of the world?” His smile slowly faded away. “Sit. I want to say something.” Uncle Al wasn’t the sort of guy you said no to. I sat in the chair closest to the sofa where he’d parked his overbearing ass. He didn’t speak at first, just stared at me, and I have to tell you it took every bit of the self-discipline I’d learned to keep from squirming under that kind of scrutiny. But I knew it was some kind of test. I was supposed to be patient and wait it out. So I did. “You’re going to be eighteen tomorrow.” I smirked. “So I hear.” He nodded. “Are you decided?” I looked away. “Honestly? No. I’ve been hoping for a sign.” “A sign, huh?” My uncle didn’t seem to think that was a reliable approach to decision making. “Well, I don’t know what kind of sign you’re expecting. I thought I’d stop by. Won’t be here tomorrow. So happy birthday.” “Thanks.” I stood when he got up to leave. He turned toward the door, but turned back like he’d forgotten something. I could almost see him mentally patting his pockets. “Anything you want to ask me?” I wouldn’t have thought so, but since he put it that way. There was something. “I guess it’s clear what choice you made. Any regrets?” He grinned. It was a thing so rare I couldn’t think if I’d ever seen him look pleased before. “A good question for a seventeen-year-old.” “Almost eighteen.” “Indeed.” He nodded. “The answer is no. Not one. Hope that helps.” I thought about it for a second. “Would you feel the same way if you died tomorrow?” His grin got even bigger. “Definitely.” With that he left without looking back and, in fact, it did help. Immensely. Teachers are known to go on every year about how you’d better get ready because the next year is going to be so much harder. But it never is. It’s always the same thing. So when I signed on to Black Swan for life and they told me it was about to get real, I just smirked on the inside and thought, “Yeah. Yeah. I’ve heard it before.” Looking back now I could slap my little bratty self for acting like a punk. Even if I kept it on the inside. For once the future of dread hadn’t been overstated. It had been understated. The next four years were rigorous enough to make the first five look like a glide on a paddle board over a smooth-as-glass lake. Naturally, once we understood that we were going to be vampire hunters, and what that meant, we began to pay attention in earnest. But here’s the bare truth of that. Nothing they can do or say can truly prepare you for what it feels like the first time you are face to face with a pale-eyed leech who wants to rip you apart with virus-dripping fangs. My internship was mostly served as backup to the Grunewald Unit knights. I went to Brazil for a few months and did an awful rotation in Central America looking for Chupacabra. Ew. Things give me willies when I think about them. Yeah. They’re even worse than vampire. I was always sent back to Berlin though. Like it was home base. That was okay with me. There was a lot of action and the Grunewald knights were good solid teachers. They taught me about slaying vampire and they taught me about camaraderie. Then, of course, there were German girls. I mean, you’ve gotta love girls who have beer with breakfast. Right? It was a good place to pay my dues and hone my skills. Three years later, I was told that I was being sent back to the States. To Jefferson Unit. Rumor had it that I was going to be a vampire slayer in New York, New York. I wasn’t very impressed when the jeep stopped in front of J.U. It was the farthest thing from Grunewald Castle. A plain brick building with not a single window showing. Looked more like a prison than a Black Swan facility. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t require frills to complete me. It was just an observation. I stopped at the intercom. “Knock. Knock.” “Who’s there?” “Landsdowne.” “Just a minute.” I heard the buzzer and pushed on the door. My first thought was that there was an awful lot of activity for a place that looked so quiet on the outside. I hoisted my duffel up higher on my shoulder and stopped a kid going by. “Sovereign’s office?” “Down one level and turn right.” I nodded my thanks and headed toward the elevators. The central area was impressive with its three-story ceiling, modern gleam and polish. The place looked like a prison from the front, but once inside it was open and light with a view to what appeared to be a park on the other side of tall windows. When the elevator opened, I checked to make sure the down arrow was lit, stepped inside and pushed S1. A couple of girls, well, young women I guess you’d say, got in after me in workout clothes. One of them looked me over, taking in the duffel, “Transferring in?” “Yeah.” She smiled. “I’m Ellsbeth. I work in medical.” The elevator opened. When I realized they weren’t getting off, I finally got the hint and exited. “See you around.” The sovereign’s office wasn’t hard to find. The reception area was glass to the hallway, but I checked the plaque just to be sure. Sol Nemamiah, Sovereign. There was a kid at the desk, young enough to be a student. He looked up when I walked in and dropped my duffel. “Transfer from Berlin,” I said. “Go on in.” He pointed to a closed door. I opened the door, hoping the instruction wasn’t a new-guy-hazing prank. The first thing I saw was a mess of blond hair. I knew he was an elf because he had some of that hair tucked behind the ears. I guess he could have been fae, but I didn’t know of any fae knights. When he turned around, I had three thoughts. That he was just about my age. That his eyes sparkled with elf mischief. And that the only word to describe him was beautiful. Now don’t get me wrong. I have a strong preference for the opposite sex and don’t usually think about whether other guys are attractive or not. But this elf had it going and I would have had to be blind to not notice. I looked past him to the man behind the desk. You could tell it was the Sovereign by the way his jaw seemed permanently clenched. He pointed at the elf. “Rammel Aelshelm Hawking, meet Basil Rathbone Landsdowne.” The elf stuck out his hand. I took it and shook. That’s when it registered. I laughed and blurted out, “You’re P.P.” “Excuse me?” he said, with his brow knitting. I looked at the Sovereign and thought better of saying more. “I’ll explain. Later.” “You two are getting a try out as partners, attached to B Team, starting,” he looked at his monitor, “Thursday. Mr. Hawking, Mr. Landsdowne’s quarters are next to yours. Show him the way.” “Aye,” said the elf as he moved toward the outer office. He held the door open to the hall and gestured toward the elevator. “Welcome to worm patrol.” “Should I complain about the assignment?” He laughed. “I’ve been told that’s what they call rotation in the Big Apple.” “Oh.” Once inside he pushed the third floor button and leaned back against the wall facing me. “So what was the peepee thing?” I grinned. “Not peepee! P. P. Your reputation is widely known. Stands for parties and pussy.” He cocked his head and gave a tiny smile. “’Tis what they say about me?” “Yeah, man. It could be worse. They could be sayin’ you’re a limp dick wanker who’s scared of girls.” He combined a grin with a sly look that I’d come to think of as Ram’s trademark smile. “Spent a lot of time alone as a kid. I suppose there was some pent-up party in me. Maybe I’ve over-compensated. I would no’ want P.P. on my tombstone.” The elevator car stopped and the doors opened. He held his hand on the door seam while I hoisted my duffel and stepped out. I walked next to him down the wide hallway. It was carpeted with a rich red pattern, like a five-star hotel. The plus column features of J.U. were definitely all on the inside. “So,” he continued as we walked, “your name is Basil Rathbone…” “Landsdowne. My mother named me after some famous swordsman.” I chuckled, looking down at the carpet. “Maybe she set me up for this gig. You think?” “Could be. I met a guy named Rathbone when I was thirteen. He recruited me. Big fella. No’ quite a giant, but really big.” “Yeah. That was my uncle. He’s not that big. Matter of fact he’s just about the same size as you and me.” “No shit?” he asked. I nodded. “I guess things looked bigger when I’d just turned thirteen.” He stopped in front of a door with my name on the plaque. “This is you. That’s me one door down,” he said as he pointed down the hallway. “Okay.” I waved my new ID in front of the sensor and heard the internal click. “Dump your stuff and I’ll show you ‘round.” “Sure. Give me five.” The place was a lot bigger and nicer than I expected. In fact, it was a step up. I could stand being called “worm patrol” if all the perks were like that. I followed the elf’s suggestion, dumped my duffel, looked around and walked back out. He was leaning against the wall facing my door looking at his fingernails. He seemed to read my thoughts when he said, “’Twas exactly my reaction when I was moved up here a day ago. ‘Tis the big leagues. Compensation for risk I guess. If we pass probation, we’re goin’ to be knights.” I let that sink in. “Knights,” I repeated. I’ve been lookin’ at that plaque on your door. “What do you go by?” “Basil.” “Noooooo.” He drew the word out, shaking his head. “That will never do. Try it on for size. ‘Hold the fucker at bay, Basil.’ ‘Basil, jump back. He’s goin’ for your dick!’” I had to laugh. It looked like I’d scored a partner who was entertaining. “See? It just will no’ do.” “So you want to rename me? What do you suggest?” “Shorten your limey last name to Lan. I like the sound of it. Girls will, too.” “Oh, yeah? What do you go by?” He smiled. “Ram.” I nodded, somehow knowing that it suited him perfectly. “No promises but I’ll try it out for a couple of days.” Walking out of the elevator into the Hub, I said, “Have you met the guys we’re paired with?” “Yeah.” He didn’t elaborate. So I decided to save the interrogation for later. Ram gave me a tour of the facility. He was thorough when he was on a mission, left no corner unexplored. He introduced me to more people than I could remember then took me back to the Hub. Opening his arms as if he was embracing the space, he said, “The perfect end to the comprehensive tour. The lounge. Off limits to students. What’ll you have?” he asked, sitting down at a table near the double-sided fireplace and gesturing at the bar attendant at the same time. “What do you suggest?” Ram grinned. “Keep it simple. Irish whiskey.” “Oh, no,” I said, shaking my head. “I haven’t eaten in a day. No alcohol on my empty stomach.” “Great Paddy, man! What kind of a shit host am I?!?” “Well…” “Let’s get you some food. What do you…? Hold on. Let me guess.” He tapped his fingers and jiggled his right knee, his brows knitted like he was trying to divine my food preferences. “I’m guessin’ you’re a French dip man.” It wasn’t something I would have thought of, but once he said it out loud, I couldn’t imagine wanting anything else. “Yeah.” I grinned. “That actually sounds great.” “With tomato soup.” “Okay.” The bar attendant arrived. “I’ll have my usual. My friend, Lan here, will have a cup of tomato soup, Caesar salad, and a French dip. Do no’ dawdle and do no’ be stingy with the beef. The lad is hungry and very likely still growin’.” I had my doubts that I was still growing, but I had no doubt that I’d been partnered with a force of nature. But that was okay because he gave every indication of being a force of good nature. It was too soon to judge, but I was already feeling like, when it came to partners, I could have done a lot worse. Only time would tell, but I might have won the lottery. And I might just survive Black Swan, with a guy like him at my side. “So take your mind off your empty belly by tellin’ me about yourself. For starters you sound American. You from here?” “Born in Santa Clara. You know where that is?” “Everybody in Black Swan knows where that is. Crawlin’ with vampire. Where did you do secondary school?” “San Francisco. You?” “Berlin.” “I did my internship there! Must have just missed each other. Es ist eine seltsame Welt.” “Aye. ‘Tis a strange world.” “How do you like it here so far?” “Think we might have landed on our feet.” “Yeah. Seems alright. So far.” The attendant set a whiskey down in front of Ram and put a water down for me. “So. About the other two assigned to B Team?” Ram shook his head. “Met ‘em briefly. My first impression is that they come with sticks up their asses. Sittin’ up just a little too straight if you ask me. One of them is a berserker.” “No way! I thought they were all gone. Stuff of legends and all that.” Ram was shaking his head. “He’s real and big as life. And I mean big! I guess you’ll meet them soon enough if they’re sendin’ us out startin’ day after tomorrow.” “Kinda hard to believe. Goin’ out unsupervised, I mean.” “I hear you. But we have a day to fatten you up for the leeches and maybe get laid a few times.” I spluttered into my water. “A few times?” At that point, I thought he was mostly bluff and bluster, but it turned out that he could have had a new sexual experience every hour if he’d wanted. Girls did things trying to get his attention that made me feel embarrassed for them. The notice he got for being beautiful made it hard to be inconspicuous, which is what works best for vampire hunters. He took to wearing a black knit hat that covered the ears and most of that blondeness. Seemed like those two things combined were like catnip to women. But you know what? After a couple of days I couldn’t even imagine another partner. When Black Swan put us together, they must have used some kind of magic. They knew what they were doing. We complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And it’s no small thing that he made things that should have been drudgery or tedium seem like fun. We needed that counterbalance because there was plenty about our lives that was not fun. It turned out that Ram was kind of right about the other partnership that made up B Team. Storm and Kay were straight arrow types, but I didn’t object to that. Straight arrows are predictable. Well, I mean, so long as they don’t let their berserker out. Certainly everybody can’t be Mr. Party like Ram. Sometimes a situation calls for a serious attitude. Vampire hunting is one of those situations. The most serious one of us, Storm, was the one we started listening to, like our lives depended on it. And I guess they did. Ram was technically the most senior member of B Team because he’d arrived a couple of hours ahead of them, but it wasn’t a distinction he cared about. He seemed more interested in getting the job done and staying alive than being in charge. So I had no problem with his priorities. Kay got stuck with the nickname Ram gave him, just like I did. Not that I’m complaining. I wore the name “Lan” like I’d never been called anything else and the fucker might have even been right about guessing that girls would like it better than Basil. Yeah. Storm and Kay were good guys that I learned to love and they did their share of snatching my hiney from the jaws of death.
Until they didn’t.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eleven romances. Victoria's Knights of Black Swan series won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW. Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild. Her paranormal romances come with uniquely fresh perspectives on "imaginary" creatures, characters, and themes. She adds a dash of scifi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, past life therapists. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners. **Usually. Victoria lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband and a very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog. She answers her own email and is happy to hear from readers. firstname.lastname@example.org
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A DUCHESS IN NAME
The Grantham Girls #1
Releasing on January 18, 2016.
Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham's finishing school, she's been groomed since birth to marry an English titleâthe grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can't matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.
Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he's devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family's fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn't care to know.
Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn't so intolerable after allâbut it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.
Amanda Weaver has loved romance since she read that very first Kathleen E. Woodiwiss novel at fifteen. After a long detour into a career as a costume designer in theatre, sheâs found her way back to romance, this time as a writer.
A native Floridian, Amanda transplanted to New York City many years ago and now considers Brooklyn home, along with her husband, daughter, two cats, and nowhere near enough space.