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Out Now! – A Harmless Little Ruse (The Harmless Series) by Meli Raine (@meliraineauthor)

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Release date: November 18, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Political Thriller

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She has no idea what she’s doing. Loose cannons never hit their targets.

And they take out plenty of collateral damage.

Four years ago Lindsay experienced the unspeakable right before me, and I couldn’t stop them.

But that’s all changed now.

When her father, Senator Bosworth, contacted me to ask — demand — that I protect her, it was a second chance. A shot at redemption.

An opportunity to right an unspeakable wrong.

Controlling Lindsay as she seeks her revenge on the monsters who hurt her won’t be hard.

Containing my own out-of-control feelings for Lindsay and keeping up this ruse of cold-blooded distance will be.

Even harder than admitting to her what really happened that night four years ago.

It turns out I don’t have to, though.

Someone else did it for me.

And I’ll make sure they regret it.

* * *

A Harmless Little Ruse is the second in this political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine. This series includes:

A Harmless Little Game (Now available)

A Harmless Little Plan (release date December 13, 2016)

Buy links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2cga1oy
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bTKvob
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2c7NTO2
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2bFqy3B
B&N: http://bit.ly/2bLP57p
iBooks: http://apple.co/2bFecym
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2bFeogT
Google Play: Coming Soon
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2faA9EL

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Author Bio:

Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them.

Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://meliraine.com/

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/beV0gf

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/meliraine

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/meliraineauthor

Excerpt:

I wake up to an empty bed.

It’s not mine.

Lindsay’s gone.

I can feel a change in the air. I jump to my feet, instantly alert, blood pumping to arms and legs that are battle-ready. Her bedroom room smells like lavender and beeswax, mingled with the hot scent of sex. I swear her heat still lingers on the sheets. The ceiling fan is still, the room crackling with silence.

I grab my gun belt and —

What the hell?

My weapon is missing.

Gun’s gone.

Lindsay’s gone.

Oh, shit.

She didn’t?

She did.

“Gentian,” I bark as I shove my earpiece in. “Where’s Lilac?” Lilac’s her code name.

“With you,” he responds.

“Negative.”

Dead air.

“Gentian?”

“I don’t know, sir. No one’s seen her. Last we knew, she was locked in her bedroom with you.”

No trace of irony. No hint of teasing. If he had even one whiff of either, he’d have his ass handed to him.

And he knows it.

“She’s gone, Gentian. Find her.”

“Yes, sir.”

The instant flurry of activity in the house matches my organs. They rearrange themselves inside me as I assess the situation, which is pretty fucking simple.

Lindsay stole my gun and ran away.

Doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Last night was the first time in four damn years that I slept. Actual REM sleep. The night those bastards tortured us was the first night of my new life.

A life without sleep.

And last night?

I slept like someone who had finally come home.

“Jesus,” I mutter to myself. “Great job, Drew. She totally snowed you.”

I have to hand it to Lindsay. She fooled me. I believed her act the entire time. She managed to outwit us all.

Damn smart woman.

Damn dangerous, too.

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Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Out Now! A Harmless Little Game (The Harmless Series) by Meli Raine (@meliraineauthor)

Release date: October 18, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Political Thriller

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Description:

Four years ago I lost my virginity on live, streaming television.

Too bad I wasn’t awake for it.

The video went viral. Of course it would. A Senator’s daughter on camera? Wouldn’t you click “share”? Besides, that’s what three of the four guys in the video did.

Share.

They shared me.

But that fourth guy? The nondescript one in the background in the upper left corner of the screen, just sitting on the couch? The only one who did nothing?

Not one single thing.

That was my boyfriend, Drew.

And that was the last time I saw him.

Until today, when my father—now on a path to the White House—hired him as head of security for my new team as I return home after four years of “recovering” in an undisclosed location that involved white lab coats, needles, pills and damage control.

You see, the other three guys never went to jail. Never had charges pressed.

Never faced consequences.

Until today.

Game on.

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* * *

A Harmless Little Game is the first in this political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine. This series includes:

A Harmless Little Ruse (release date November 18, 2016)

A Harmless Little Plan (release date December 13, 2016)

 

Buy links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2edOSLx
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eoILbY
Nook/BN: http://bit.ly/2bNpPAM
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2bNpGh4
iBooks: http://apple.co/2bNpEFI
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2dP1zPO

*****

Author Bio:

Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them.

Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://meliraine.com/

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/beV0gf

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/meliraine

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/meliraineauthor

*****

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Excerpt:

“I’m sorry,” he says. My ear is pressed against his broad, hard chest. I feel the words more than I hear them. The vibration and cadence make it clear he’s apologizing. Heat radiates off him like he’s the sun and I’m in his orbit.

I break away. I’m not his moon.

“You should be sorry,” I snap, marching toward my destination, fighting the soft ground. I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want to do this. Not now.Definitely not right now. I haven’t seen him for four years. Four long, painful, horrible years. More than 1,400 days of waking every morning knowing I wasn’t with him. Knowing he sat there that night and did nothing while three men raped me. Degraded me. Used and abused me and enjoyed it.

My body goes into a full-blown supernova, skin on fire at the thought. My rage cannot be contained by a mere mortal body.

I turn around. He’s right there, following me.

“Go the fuck away, Drew. I told you. I hate your guts. Leave me alone.”

At least, I think that’s what I say. My mind can’t process words and thoughts right now. I am fixated on the red door at the back entrance of the house, the sprawling mansion that is the only home I’ve ever known, aside from Daddy’s townhome in Washington D.C. If I can make it to that red door without Drew touching me, if I can make it to my bedroom and to my medications where I can take enough to fall asleep, maybe I can get my brain to work again.

And stop the flood of emotions that are making me crazy.

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Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Beck (Hollywood Hitmen, Book 1) by Maggie Marr (@maggiemarr)

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Blurb:

Hot Hollywood Nights… Box office breaker, Natalie Warner might be the Princess of Tinseltown, but she’s a starlet with a bad attitude, a frightening past, and a stalker. Former SEAL Beck Tatum has a mission and no patience for Hollywood bad girls. He must protect Natalie and stay out of her bed–both missions seem nearly impossible.

Natalie Warner can’t ignore the risk any longer. A star on the rise, her latest film is on track to be the biggest box office breaker of the summer but Natalie isn’t safe. Someone is after her. Could it be her angry addict father or her mother who always wanted to be a star herself? What about her ex-boyfriend who just did time? The Studio refuses to ignore the threat and forces Natalie to take on a bodyguard, but that bodyguard comes in the shape of rugged, irresistible Beck Tatum, because whoever is after Natalie isn’t going to stop until someone makes them.

A question, wrapped in a riddle, Beck Tatum doesn’t know what part of the government he worked for before he lost his memory or what exactly his mission was. He can remember that he loved and that he lost that woman as well as his memories on that final mission. Now with a second chance, he’s assigned to protect a high-value asset. Rich and entitled but yet kind and vulnerable, Natalie Warner isn’t the spoiled rich woman Beck expected. But falling for her would put her life on the line and Beck isn’t about to lose anything else.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2czmNko

iBooks: http://apple.co/2cEjhnx

Nook: http://bit.ly/2cUBjnK

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2caDAcO

*****

beck_1400Excerpt:

Beck welcomed darkness. The night was a cloak of anonymity that provided him with a freedom the daylight never did. When he chose to be, Beck was soundless in his movements. Swift and stealthy under the cover of night, he could move before anyone knew of his presence. You didn’t get nineteen confirmed kills without embracing silence.

He entered Natalie’s bedroom. Moonlight glanced through the window and shone on her face. Her dark hair lay like liquid night on a pillow. Those perfect lips barely parted. Her sleep was peaceful. Restful. A thought . . . a memory . . . a moment from before, with Marisol, flashed through Beck’s mind like lightning in a summer sky, then was gone.

Natalie was tough. She might appear like a sexy girly-girl, but with all the treachery she’d endured from her family and friends, she’d developed a thick hide to survive and thrive.

Beck circled the room. Tested the locks on the French doors that led to the balcony. Her room was on the second floor, but if a person was determined they’d find a way to get inside. He scanned the bathroom. Pretty damn swank. Next was the walk-in closet, which was bigger than his last apartment and filled with more shit than one of those fancy-ass high-end department stores.

He circled back to the bedroom and stopped beside Natalie’s bed. She had no reason to trust Beck. All the people in her life had failed her when she’d trusted them. Why would she expect anything different from him?

Because Beck wouldn’t fail. Not again. Not this time.

“What are you doing in my room?”

“My job.”

*****

Author Bio:

Maggie Marr is the author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She writes smart, sexy, women and the men they love. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart at ICM, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a motion picture literary agent. As well as writing, she maintains a boutique legal practice dedicated to the needs of creatives & entrepreneurs. She is the current President of Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) and legal adviser to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). Maggie loves all things pop culture and when she isn’t taking care of her clients or writing she can be found reading, chasing kids, or exercising her rescue pup

Social Media:

Website:  http://www.maggiemarr.net/

Newsletter:  http://www.maggiemarr.net/about/newsletter

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/maggiemarrbooks

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/maggiemarr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30741954-a-forbidden-love

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Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Lindsay Cross and Her Men of Mercy Series

LindsayCross_RedemptionRiver_HRTitle: Redemption River, Men of Mercy (book 1)

Author Name: Lindsay Cross

Series Name (or Stand Alone): Men of Mercy book 1

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: October 21st

Publisher (or Self): Cypress Bend Publishing

Word Count: approx. 74,000

Heat Level: Hot

Blurb:

Hunter James didn’t want or need redemption.

Until one mission turns his world upside down.

He left Mercy to fight for his country and escape a broken heart. Years later, he is hard. Cold. A man without mercy.  Part of an elite Task Force, he tracks a brutal terrorist to his home town. And runs into the woman who betrayed him…

Evangeline Videl was destroyed when Hunter left. Determined to move on, she finds another man, but discovers too late the monster hidden beneath his smooth smile. Struggling to find the conviction to live, Evie finds her life spinning out of control.

Then Hunter returns…

Forced to band together to find the terrorist before its too late, Hunter and Evie must learn to forgive or risk losing the promise of redemption and their lives…

 

 

Excerpt:

“Hey.” His Southern drawl put Matthew McConaughey to shame. Slow. Sexy. And familiar.

Her gaze traveled up the muscled torso to a pair of dark chocolate-brown eyes.

Holy crap.

“Hunter James.” His name breathed past her lips on a whisper.

For the second time that night her heart stuttered and her stomach clenched tight.

Hunter blocked her path, his towering six-foot-four frame packaged in a tight-fitting black T-shirt and jeans that showcased his muscles. His arms had to be twice the size they were the last time he’d been here. His gaze twice as intense. Her reaction twenty times that.

According to the town gossips, he’d been back in Mercy for a couple of weeks, but so far he’d avoided her. And she’d prayed daily he would stay away. Every time he came home on leave, he seemed to make it a point to show up here. At her bar. With another woman on his arm. Making sure she saw he’d moved on. And each time her heart broke a little more.

“Need some help?” he asked.

Her brain took a full minute to kick into gear, then another minute to reconnect to her mouth. “What?”

“You look like you could use some help. Can I do anything?” His serious voice passed through lips that were way too tempting.

She couldn’t think. The man standing before her had gone AWOL with her heart over five years ago, like the tail end of a twister after a storm. Part of her had been happy he’d left. The other part had been devastated. Their love had been wild and crazy, but ultimately destructive.

She noticed the knotted wood cane leaning against the table beside him. “What’s with the cane?”

Hunter grinned and shifted his weight to the side. “What’s with the wet clothes?” He extinguished his cigarette and stepped away from the doorway leading to the upstairs apartment, his limp noticeable.

Evie crossed her arms over her chest, the action squeezing more beer out of her bra. Her lips pressed into a tight line and she forced herself to answer, “Wet T-shirt contest. It’s a new thing we’re trying.”

Evie straightened her arms, clenching and unclenching her fists at her sides in time with the ticking in his jaw. A couple day’s stubble graced the hard planes of his face, only a little shorter than the black hair buzzed close to his scalp. He looked as if he’d been chiseled from steel.

Hunter leaned in close and Evie’s stomach knotted. Lust built inside her, pushing against her dam of resistance. “I bet you won.”

He wasn’t staring at her chest, she had to give him that. No, his target appeared to be her mouth. His head lowered to hers and her mind went blank. If she had been thinking like a full-grown woman, she would have jerked back before his lips made contact. But tonight her brain had pointed and aimed but failed to fire.

 

LindsayCross_ResurrectionRiver_HRTitle: Resurrection River, Men of Mercy (book 2)

Author Name: Lindsay Cross

Series Name (or Stand Alone): Men of Mercy book 2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: October 21st

Publisher (or Self): Cypress Bend Publishing

Word Count: approx. 85,000

Heat Level: Hot

 

Blurb:

Ranger James accepted his best friend’s death like a good soldier. With guilt. Regret. Vengeance. But a forbidden desire keeps pulling him from his mission…

Desire for his best friend’s widow.

Killed in Action. That’s why Rachel Carter’s husband wasn’t coming home.

A war widow, alone and broke, Rachel struggles to revive her family’s crop dusting service to survive. Now she takes to the skies to find escape. Escape from the pain. From the guilt. From the earth-shattering desire for her husband’s best friend.

Rachel and Ranger can’t fight the attraction between them any longer. But one fateful night cleaves their new found love in two…

Can they find the will to fight for true love? Or will an evil so shocking destroy their lives for good?

 

Pre-Buy/Buy Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26101086-resurrection-river?from_search=true&search_version=service

Excerpt:

Rachel spun around, the yellow airplane a perfect backdrop to her beautiful face. “What are you doing here?”

Ranger let his gaze travel from her scruffy boots, torn jeans and gloriously figure hugging tank, to the top of her dark red head. Her pink cheeks flushed.

“Like what you see?”

Ranger approached, her green gaze turned wary. Good. She should be worried. She’d doused him in chemicals. His skin still itched. He reached forward, plucked an oil stick from her ponytail and sent her hair spilling to her shoulders. He caught the brief scent of flowers and oil.

Rachel grabbed her hair, lips parted. Angry. Stubborn. Sexy.

He held up the stick right in front of her face. “Oil stick.”

Rachel snatched it from his fingers and tossed it across the room. “I told you to stay away from me.”

Ranger shrugged, his brain still caught on the image of her jean-clad ass hanging out of that airplane. Forget Sports Illustrated. He had farm fucking fantastic right here.

“Don’t you think dropping that all-natural excuse for chemicals on me is a bit dramatic? If you want to get me naked all you had to do is ask.” Ranger gestured to himself, sweeping his hand from his head down to his torso, Rachel’s eyes followed.

That definitely wasn’t desperation or anger in her gaze.

The desire he’d been trying to hold in check for months reared up inside him.

“You think I want to see you naked?” Rachel snorted, lifted her chin. “Besides, I figured anything would be an improvement to your normal smell.” So much for her vulnerability.

The wind picked up, blew into the hangar. Ranger shifted, praying the wind wouldn’t open the fly on his boxers, and almost covered himself. Almost. Until he remembered she was the reason for his stench. Instead, he stood tall. “You’ve never had a problem with the way I smelled before.”

“My manners were just too good to say anything.” She strode past him, punishing him with the sexy sway of her hips.

Dammit, he was so hard up for her, even her walk had his mind blanking. He stood there, nearly naked, and drenched in herbicide, and she walked past him like a stranger on a sidewalk.

Running from him. Again.

“Rachel Ann.” He didn’t yell, but she stopped mid-stride. Turned. Lips parted.

“You did that on purpose,” Ranger said. She’d been hard headed even in high-school, when he tried to break up with her, explaining that he needed a little space to see if life in Mercy was what he really wanted. Jumping on the marriage and kids bandwagon at eighteen years old had scared the shit out of him. But he’d obliterated any chance for reconnecting with Rachel when she’d seen him making out with Tonya at the football game senior year.

He hadn’t thought that leaving her to sow the wild oats of his youth would be a self-fulfilling prophecy of regret. Or that his best friend would move in on Rachel so fast and fill the void that Ranger had left in her heart.

“You bet your ass I did.”

“What the hell for?” He couldn’t get her smell, her taste, her touch out of his head. But she’d dumped shit on him for the last time.

Her eyes narrowed and her lips flattened. “I warned you.”

Yeah, she’d warned him to stay away from her. He’d stayed with her for weeks, helping her after the funeral. She’d healed physically, but remained an emotional tomb.

“I promised Shane, if anything ever happened to him, I’d look out for you.” He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss that angry expression right off her face. He’d wanted her since high-school, but when she’d married Shane, he’d vowed to put those feelings away. Forever. But the attraction hadn’t disappeared. And he knew it never would. “I know the chemistry between us is weird. Scary. But dammit it’s real and it’s here and now. You’re just flying through the clouds because you don’t want to see what’s on the ground right in front of you.”

If he hadn’t been studying every minute expression on her face he would have missed the brief flash of vulnerability in her gaze. Then her anger slid back in place. “The only thing I feel is annoyance. Are you so desperate that you have to chase after what you can’t have? You dumped me first, remember?”

Him? Desperate? No. He’d never had a problem getting women. Until Rachel.

If he hadn’t been so young and stupid he would have been the one she’d married. Not Shane.

Now all he could think, all he could see, was the small sprinkle of freckles across her pert nose. He could be on a mission in a third world country or down the road. It didn’t matter. She affected him.

He had an all-consuming need for his best friend’s wife. He hadn’t counted on lust eating him alive.

But he had honor. He had loyalty. Ranger had vowed over Shane’s grave to take care of Rachel.

 

LindsayCross_RecklessRiver_HRTitle: Reckless River, Men of Mercy (book 3)

Author Name: Lindsay Cross

Series Name (or Stand Alone): Men of Mercy book 3

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: October 21st

Publisher (or Self): Cypress Bend Publishing

Word Count: approx. 78,000

Heat Level: Hot

 

Blurb:

They say you can’t go home again. Jared Crowe never wanted to.

Home meant facing memories of abuse and neglect. Of dark closets and evil nightmares. Of his own relatives intent on killing him. But now his brother’s kidnapping forces him to face those demons. Only this time, Jared isn’t a scared little boy. He’s a full-grown Special Forces operative bent on revenge.

As a little girl, Sparrow Pickney risked her life to free two abused boys. As a grown woman Sparrow needs to earn a place in her adopted family’s business or be forced into a life of degradation. The chance to prove her family loyalty comes when she catches Jared spying on the compound and captures him.

When Jared sees his captor, he realizes she’s the girl of his dreams and vows to rescue her from a life of poverty. What Jared doesn’t know is Sparrow may not be the savior he remembers…but the one responsible for abducting and torturing his brother.

Jared is determined to find the truth. But that truth may be more than his heart can take.

Pre-Buy/Buy Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26872928-reckless-river-men-of-mercy-book-3

 

Excerpt:

It had been nearly twenty years since he’d seen her, but Jared could never forget those golden eyes. Eyes that had haunted his dreams ever since. Had she joined up with Kay? Or was she simply one of those poor souls struggling to survive?

The thought of Sparrow slowly starving filled him with a sense of guilt. He should have made her leave with them. Even though they’d been children when she’d freed them, Jared had been big enough to drag her out, whether she’d wanted to go or not.

She leaned over him, reaching for his hands. Her floppy hat fell down, blinding her, and she ripped it off and tossed it across the room. Long caramel-colored hair, full of sun-kissed highlights, waterfalled down the sides of her face and tickled his nose. Her scent surrounded him now, flooding his senses. Honeysuckle and wildflowers. His cock swelled in an instant. Jared gnashed his teeth together, trying to quell his intense reaction to her nearness.

Sparrow leaned down further and her loose tank top gaped open, treating him to a glorious view of surprisingly plump breasts cupped in a plain sports bra. His gaze locked onto her beaded nipples through the cotton. Fuck he wanted to rip that bra down and reveal what was hidden beneath. The loose manly clothes she wore made her look stick thin, but womanly curves were concealed beneath them.

Sparrow sighed and sat up straight, leaving rope dangling uselessly on his wrists. Jared gripped the metal headboard with his hands, waiting for her next move. She stood there for a moment and studied him, trying to decide what to do. Well, he wasn’t going to help her out one little bit.

“Keep your hands right there, got it?” Her voice was stern.

“Yes ma’am.” He had no intention of acting up. Yet.

She placed a knee on the mattress, and in one swift movement straddled him, settling on his belly. Jared groaned and closed his eyes thankful she hadn’t sat down lower on his body; otherwise, she would have gotten her own surprise. She leaned over him spreading her knees wider up his chest. His eyes popped open, unable to resist another view of her bare skin.

“You can stop with the theatrics right now, I know I’m not big enough to crush you.”

If only that were his problem. Her shirt dipped down even more and he fixated on the pale mounds of her breasts straining against the material of her sports bra. It was a crime to lock those beauties up in serviceable cotton.

She should wear nothing but pure silk and lace, perfect for him to rip off her body.

Her hair curtained around him again, and her soft lips parted in concentration as she worked. He was aware of every inch of exposed skin—from the graceful hollow of her neck to her supple forearms peeking out from the rolled up sleeves of her checkered work shirt. Even more aware of the intense heat radiating from her core, pressed so intimately to his chest.

“There. All done.” She sat back, a satisfied smile on her lips.

Jared tugged on the rope. He’d completely zoned out on anything other than her straddling him. It didn’t give an inch—the knot she’d tied was worthy of a professional. A small ounce of foreboding seeped into him. “Where did you learn to tie knots?”

“Trapping. Working snares. Been doing it since I was a kid.” Her words were so matter-of-fact, he had no doubt she spoke the truth. Holy shit. He yanked on the ropes, but they didn’t move.

“Impressive.” Jared wriggled his fingers and wrists, testing for any weakness. He found none.

“Might as well stop struggling. Nobody’s ever been able to get out of one of my knots. And I used my new rope too, so it wouldn’t snap easy.” She made a snapping motion with her fingers, the emphasis driving in just how stupid his plan had been. He should have used that easy opening she’d given him with the gun.

His foreboding turned to real worry. He had to get out of here to rescue his brother. Hoyt’s life depended on him. If he couldn’t get free… “Nice, now what?”

“Now you tell me who you are and why you’re here.” Sparrow sat back on her heels, the curve of her ass grazing the tip of his cock. He clenched his muscles, fighting to free himself from the pull of lust.

Remember, you’re the soldier trained in interrogation techniques. Now he just had to stop thinking with his dick for long enough to find out where Hoyt was being held. “My name is Jake.”

She tapped her chin, staring down at him.  Once again he was enthralled by the intense color of her eyes. They were golden, almost like a cat’s, with a darker brown ring around the edges. “Jake. You don’t look like a Jake.”

He enjoyed hearing the name on her lips. Would enjoy hearing his real name even better. Her soft accent and long vowels stretched it out slow. Sensual. “And what do I look like?”

“I don’t know. Killer? Tiger?”

“That’s what people name their cats.”

“True. Why are you here?”
“Why did you take me hostage?” he countered.

“You were spying on my family. Only our enemies do that.” She shifted, brushing against his tip again. Fuck he wanted to rip free of these bonds and throw her down beneath him. Where was his detached logic now? Something about her was making him lose control.

“I have no interest in you. I was looking for a family member who went missing, know anything about that?” He studied her reaction intently, watching for any flash of awareness, but she didn’t give away anything.

“Haven’t seen anybody new around here in a long time, and I would know. Sorry, but you plopped down on the wrong piece of land.”

“He told me he was coming here.” Not really, but Jared knew without the slightest shred of doubt that Hoyt had been taken by the Crowes. Miss Kay wanted to finish what she had started all those years ago, even if Jared didn’t know why. It was bad enough his parents had died when Jared was only nine, Hoyt six, but to have his aunt try to murder them….

Jared yanked on the bonds again, testing the bed frame. It screeched but held firm. Shit.

“What does he look like?” Every time Sparrow moved or shifted he felt her. Desire was holding him hostage as much as the damn ropes. Got to get free. Got to find Hoyt.

“What do I get if I tell you?”

“What do you get? You get to live.” Her brows shot down as if confused.

“You won’t kill me.”

“Try me.”

“How about we make a little trade—you give me something, I give you something.”

“Give? What do you want?” She laid her palms on her thighs, kneeling over his body, the position incredibly erotic.

Blushing aside, maybe she wasn’t so innocent after all. He had a plan and she was part of it. He knew he could get more information out of Sparrow than her giant ass brother. And he’d find it a hell of a lot more enjoyable too. “Kiss me.”

She stopped moving all together and her eyes narrowed in on his mouth.

“Give me a kiss and I’ll sing like a bird.”

 

 

lindsaycrossAuthor Bio: Lindsay Cross is the award-winning author of the Men of Mercy series. She is the fun loving mom of two beautiful daughters and one precocious Great Dane. Lindsay is happily married to the man of her dreams – a soldier and veteran. During one of her husband’s deployments from home, writing became her escape and motivation.

An avid reader since childhood, reading and writing is in her blood. After years of reading, she discovered her true passion – writing. Her alpha military men are damaged, drop-dead gorgeous and determined to win the heart of the woman of their dreams.

 

Author Social Links:

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Reading in the Sunshine! The Executive Decision Box Set: A Solstice Bargain!

086Here comes the sun! Happy Solstice everyone! And here’s a little something to fill those long extra hours of sunshine. Sunshine and long days and heat … oh so much heat! The good news keeps getting better! Not only is the Executive Decision Box Set still a bargain for a scorching summer reading binge, but it’s climbing the Amazon erotic romance chart as well!
If you like romance with a twist of suspense and a whole lot of sizzle, then you’ll want to grab up The Executive Decision Box Set now!

The Executive Decision Box Set includes the first three novels of the series. That’s three full-length novels to heat up your UK summer at 99 pence, or to make you US summer sizzle at $1.54.  Go ahead and treat yourself to a steamy Solstice read-a-thin!

 

 

And today, to celebrate Summer Solstice with all those extra hours of reading time, I’m going to tempt and tease you Exec Box setever further by offering up the first chapter of the first novel as a tasty appetiser.

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Happy Solstice! Enjoy!

The Executive Decision Box Set is a binge reading must for those who like an intense, fast-paced story with hot romance between characters who are more than up for the task.

 

 

An Executive Decision – Book One in The Executive Decision Series

AED new coverOverworked CEO Ellison Thorne has no time for sex, let alone romance. The only answer, at least where his retiring business partner Beverly is concerned, is a no-strings sex clause in her replacement’s contract, designed to make Ellis’ busy life easier – and hotter. But she’s joking, right?

When Dee Henning takes over Beverly’s job, sparks fly between her and Ellis, but work takes priority in driven Dee’s life too. Can one night of passion in a Paris hotel room prove Beverly’s Sex Clause is their secret to success in the boardroom and the bedroom, and what will happen if that private clause becomes public knowledge?

 

Identity Crisis – Book Two in The Executive Decision Series

This romantic suspense novel is recommended to hopeless romantics who know love triumphs over all.

IC new coverTess Delaney is the hottest property in romantic fiction, but the reclusive Tess has a secret – she’s really the alter ego of Garrett Thorne, bad boy brother of business tycoon Ellison Thorne. When Tess is nominated for the Golden Kiss Award, Garrett recruits PR specialist, Kendra Davis, to keep his secret and be Tess for the awards despite their mutual animosity.

Hatred turns to scorching passion, but when Tess is stalked by a rabid fan, an identity crisis is eclipsed by a battle for survival. It seems Tess, the woman who doesn’t exist, just might understand Kendra and Garrett’s hearts better than they do.

 

The Exhibition – Book Three in The Executive Decision Series

TE new coverSuccessful NYC gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, is ex-fiancée to one Thorne brother and ex-wife to the other. Though the three have made peace, Ellison Thorne’s friend, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, still doesn’t like her. When Stacie convinces Harris to exhibit his work for the opening of her new gallery she never intended to include him in her other more hazardous plans. But when those plans draw the attention of dangerous business tycoon, Terrance Jamison, Harris comes to her aid. In the shadow of a threat only Stacie understands, can she dare let Harris into her life and make room for love?

 An Executive Decision Chapter 1

Dee gave herself one last inspection in the mirrored walls of the elevator. No tell-tale trembling or sweating; the stage was fright all hidden beneath a well-polished exterior. How could she be this tense? She’d been in business with the big boys long enough to have nerves of steel. But this was Ellison Thorne she was meeting. The man was in a league of his own. She’d waited three years for this opportunity, and she was determined he wouldn’t see the mass of quavering jelly beneath the calm.

When she reached the executive suites, Beverly Neumann beckoned Dee into her office. ‘Ellis is stuck in traffic. He figures it’ll be at least another half hour.’

‘That’s too bad.’ Dee tried to mask her disappointment. She had a meeting with a potential head of marketing for Sportwide Extreme Adventure immediately after this, so there’d be no lingering if Ellis didn’t arrive before her hour was up.

‘I know he’ll do his best to get here,’ Beverly said. ‘He’s dying to meet the woman who threw a drink in Terrance Jamison’s face at Jasper and McDowell’s big New Year bash last year.’

Dee blushed. ‘Not funny, Beverly. I nearly lost my job over that.’ She still couldn’t figure why the man hadn’t sued her ass off or ruined her career or had henchmen break the legs of her family and close friends. Even now it made her nervous that he’d taken it so graciously.

‘And if you had, there’d have been ten companies in line to hire you, including Pneuma Inc,’ Beverly said. ‘It was so worth it. If only I’d had the presence of mind to record it all on my iPhone, you’d have been the queen of YouTube. You seldom get that caliber of entertainment at a corporate New Years party.’

Dee glanced at the front page of The Oregonian lying on Beverly’s desk. There was a photo of Ellis shaking hands with the governor. The caption read, Ellison Thorne, a force of nature working for nature. She studied the image, one of many she’d seen of him. Though there was a warmth about him in the photos, it was never blatant, always slightly distant. She was familiar with that distance. She’d been accused of it herself by colleagues who just didn’t understand her sense of focus.

She lingered over the photo admiring again the short brown hair with its patina of bronze, which laid bare the strong geography of his face. The well-defined jaw and firm brow created a fortress, of sorts, keeping his emotions and thoughts from the prying hordes. From it, he looked out on the world through dark amber eyes that never missed anything and never gave anything away. Heroes were like that, she thought, and she had idolized him and his company for a long time.

It was through Beverly that Dee occasionally caught more intimate glimpses of Ellison Thorne. No doubt he’d be appalled if he knew. But that was a part of her meetings with the woman that Dee always looked forward to.

Beverly nodded to the seat in front of her desk. ‘Might as well relax. He’ll get here when he gets here.’ She turned her attention to the forest of plants behind her desk and began misting the broad leaves of something that must have come straight from The Little Shop of Horrors. Thanks to Beverly’s insistence that a green work place actually be green, the whole ten-story cantilevered edifice that was the Pneuma building was one colossal hanging garden. It was healthier that way, she’d said.

Dee sat down a safe distance from the sinister-looking foliage. ‘You don’t need to go to the rainforest. You’ve got a AED_teaserjungle right here in your office.’

‘You sound like Ellis,’ Beverly said.

‘Is he still giving you a hard time about your trip to Brazil?’

‘One minute he’s treating me like an old lady, saying it’s too dangerous for someone my age to go trekking through the jungle, and the next he’s telling me I’m too young to retire and he absolutely can’t run the place without me for at least five more years.’ She brushed pollen from the jacket of her power suit. ‘Five more years! Do you have any idea how much life a person can miss out on in five years?’

‘So what will you do?’ Dee asked.

‘Well,’ Beverly rearranged the leaves of a large fern as though it were her favorite child, ‘first I’m going to Brazil. I haven’t had a real vacation in longer than I care to remember. And when I get back, if he doesn’t find someone to replace me while I’m still here to help train them, that’s just too damned bad, because in exactly one year, I’m out of here.’

‘Good for you. Life’s too short not to go for it when you get the chance.’

‘Yes it is, isn’t it? And speaking of going for it,’ Beverly sat down in her chair and leaned conspiratorially across her desk, ‘I hear the accountant over at Ab Con – what’s his name, the one with the dark hair that always looks like someone’s been running their fingers through it, I hear he sent you flowers.’

‘I recruited the best finance manager in the history of finance managers for Ab Con, Beverly. I earned every one of those flowers.’

‘Earned the flowers?’ Beverly frowned at her and clucked her tongue. ‘What part about the man being hot for you did you not get, sweetie?’ Before Dee could cut her off at the pass, Beverly was on a roll. ‘Honestly you’re hopeless, Dee Henning. I understand your focus, your drive to succeed, really I do, but I gotta wonder how you even call it success when you’re so wrapped up in your work that the only way you’ll ever get laid is if they put it in the job description. And frankly, if I had my way and I were running the business world, sex would be a contract requirement.’

Dee rolled her eyes, but Beverly clasped her hands on top of her desk, doing a fair imitation of a psychoanalyst. ‘I worry about you, Dee. I really do. Not having time for sex just isn’t healthy.’

‘You’re probably right, it probably isn’t –’ Dee change the subject by shoving a half a dozen files across the desk at Beverly. ‘– but it’s also not healthy for Ellis not to have a replacement for his retiring executive assistant.’ The title, executive assistant, was entirely misleading. Dee knew that Beverly, not Ellis, had chosen it. And though technically she was his equal in the business the two of them, along with Wade Crittenden, had begun thirteen years ago, Beverly preferred to work quietly with no pompous moniker to live up to. She wore the title proudly and carried the incredible burden it entailed with panache and enthusiasm. Dee was certain that whoever took up Beverly’s weighty mantle would inherit the humble title as well as its prodigious responsibilities.

Just then Beverly’s Blackberry buzzed. ‘Damn!’ She punched in a quick reply. ‘Ellis says the traffic’s at a standstill. I was really hoping the two of you would finally meet before I head off to Brazil.’

Dee buried her disappointment. Meeting Ellison Thorne was not the real reason she was here, she reminded herself. IC_teaser2She still had work to do. She nodded down at the files of resumes of Beverly’s perspective replacements. ‘Best get to it then, hadn’t we?’

But Beverly pushed the files to one side and picked up right where she’d left of. God, the woman was tenacious! ‘Seems to me the obvious solution is to include sex in certain job descriptions, like for an executive assistant, or a secretary, or any position where two people work closely. That’d be a good start, don’t you think?’

‘Great idea. Maybe I’ll find myself a nice male secretary.’ Dee gave the door a quick glance, certain she’d heard someone approaching. There was no one, but in any case, she was sure that wouldn’t have stopped Beverly.

‘I think that would be a wise decision for a busy executive. And I doubt you’d have any shortage of applicants. Ellis wouldn’t either, and the benefits to both of you – well, I think you’d be amazed. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I personally can’t see a down side.’ Beverly continued her speculations. ‘Just think of how much more relaxed the two of you would be if you and Ellis had a reliable source of stress-free sex available when you needed it. Imagine how much more focused you’d both be if your junk wasn’t interfering with your brain.’

Dee straightened in her chair. ‘My … junk does not interfere with my brain.’

Beverly leaned over the desk like an accusing lawyer. ‘Ah, but how do you really know that, since you’re not getting any?’

‘Beverly –’

‘The Executive Sex Clause could reduce sick days.

‘I’m never sick.’

Beverly came around the desk and laid an unsolicited hand on her forehead. ‘I’ve been thinking you look a little pale, and you feel a bit warm to me.’

Dee brushed her hand aside. ‘I’m fine. I don’t need the sick days I’ve got, and I bet Ellis doesn’t either.’

‘A good thing, since you wouldn’t have time to take them if you did. Forget sick days, think of the increase in productivity, the boost to creativity. Think of the serenity in the work place. That’s gotta be worth something. The possibilities are endless.’

‘My productivity’s fine and I’m very creative. And I work at Jasper and McDowell. Serenity isn’t part of the package.’ This conversation had gone far enough, farther than Dee wanted, and she really didn’t have time to wait any longer for Ellis. It looked like the long awaited meeting with the force of nature would have to wait for yet another time. Dee nodded to the folders on Beverly’s desk. ‘As interesting as the idea of a Sex Clause might be, if you insist on deserting Ellis, I need to do my job and find someone who can take your place, which won’t be an easy task.’

When the meeting finished, Beverly walked her to the door, glancing down at her watch. ‘Sorry you missed Ellis. But you know how it is with busy executives, it’s catch as catch can, isn’t it?’

Dee had the distinct feeling the woman wasn’t talking about work. She said her good-byes and promised they’d get together when Beverly returned from Brazil.

‘I missed her again didn’t I? She’s going to think I’m avoiding her.’ Ellis dropped into the chair in front of Beverly’s desk and flipped absently through the files Dee Henning had just left. ‘It’s not her that I’m avoiding; I’m avoiding your silly retirement plans.’

‘You won’t be laughing when you come in here some morning and find my desk empty. You’ll be SOL big time, boy.’

Ellis pulled one of the files from the stack and handed it to her. ‘Here. Here’s my choice. Why not Tally Barnes? She’s about as qualified as anyone, I guess.’

She shoved the folder back at him. ‘You know why not Tally Barnes, now stop being a smart ass.’

He offered her an amused chuckle. ‘Who are you kidding, Beverly? You love this place and you know it. You’re not going to retire. How many false alarms have there been now, three? Four? I’ve lost count. Face it; you’ll work here until you drop dead.’

‘Believe what you want, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.’ She pulled a manila envelope from the top drawer of her desk and handed it to him.

‘What’s this?’

‘My replacement. Since you won’t help, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. She’s been right under our noses all along.’ She rubbed her hands together with a shiver of anticipation. ‘Come on, humor me.’

Still holding her in a disapproving gaze, he took the envelope as though he half expected it to be booby trapped. He opened the clasp then slid the contents from inside and gave it a glance. ‘Wait a minute. This is a file on Dee Henning. You can’t be serious. You want a head hunter to take over running half of Pneuma Inc?’

‘Don’t be such a snob, Ellis. It’s not like she’ll be taking over tomorrow. I’ll be here to train her up to suit your persnickety standards.’

‘Then why not promote Tally Barnes? I don’t see what you have against her. She always seems fine to me.’ He nodded to the top file in the stack Dee had brought in. ‘She already works for Pneuma Inc, and she’s a lot more qualified. You could train her up.’

‘Oh she’s already convinced she’s a shoo-in. Hell she’s already planning to redecorate my office. Wouldn’t be too TE_teasersurprised if she has plans for you too. Don’t give me that snooty smirk. She’s a trouble-maker, Ellis. Oh she’s great at ass-kissing, and that’s why Tally Barnes always seems fine to you. I don’t like her and I don’t trust her. You know I’m a good judge of character. Trust me on this; she’s not right for my job no matter what her resume says.’

‘Suit yourself.’ He returned his attention to Dee Henning’s details. ‘How did you get this information anyway?’ The file was too thick for a simple resume, and some of the pages looked like hand-written notes photocopied. Others were odd sizes, some were written on post-it notes, and the whole packaged smacked of Beverly’s scheming.

‘Portland’s a small city.’ Suddenly she seemed particularly interested in the leaves of a thriving Christmas cactus sitting on the edge of her desk.

‘Beverly?’

‘I’m friends with Irv McDowell, okay? At least I think we’re still friends.’ The look of driven-snow innocence gave way to something just slightly this side of devious.

‘You’ve been head-hunting from the head head hunter? Dee Henning’s Jasper and McDowell’s star recruiter. Surely Irv didn’t give you this willingly.’

Beverly ignored the question and nodded at the photo he now held in his hand.

‘She’s exactly what you need on all counts. Though it’s true she’s only a few years out of grad school, what impresses me is her accomplishments during that time. She reminds me of you back in the early days – young, hungry, dedicated… And pretty. Don’t give me that look, Ellis, you’d blush if you heard some of the juicy conversations about you I overhear in the ladies’ room.’

He pretended to ignore the photo. ‘Your delusions aside, it doesn’t matter — that she’s good looking, I mean.’

‘And that’s why you’re drooling over the photo? I may be old, Ellis, but there’s nothing wrong with my eyesight.’

He put the picture of Dee aside and flipped through the file. ‘What all do you have in here anyway?’ He read out loud from the photocopied pages. ‘Classically trained, voice and piano? Oh, that’ll come in really handy here at Pneuma Inc. In fact, I was just thinking of requiring it for all new employees.’

‘Stop being an asshole. It’s just background information, just stuff that’s good to know.’

A hand-written note stated that both of Dee’s parents were musicians. Her father had sung in the chorus for the Paris Opera. Her mother was a soprano, who went to Paris on some summer program, and nine months later Dee came along. Ellis suddenly felt like a voyeur. ‘This is none of our business.’ He tried to shove the file back at Beverly, but she refused it.

‘Oh for chrissake, Ellis, there’s nothing in there I haven’t already wheedled out of the girl over coffee or drinks. Don’t be such a wuss.’

‘I’m sure she didn’t give you the copy of her finances over coffee and drinks.’

‘Oh that. Just tells us that we can’t appeal to her with money alone.’

‘Clearly she doesn’t need it,’ he said. He was surprised to find someone so young had such a good portfolio. She obviously knew how to make money work for her. She wasn’t exactly rich, but give her a few more years, and she would be.

‘My point exactly. Musicians tend to be poor, and I think our Dee has taken it upon herself not to follow in her parents’ footsteps.’

‘If the need ever actually arises for me to interview her, what makes you think she’s even interested in working for me? She’s got a growing career with Jasper and McDowell, and as you said, she’s making very good money.’

Beverly frowned. ‘Jasper and McDowell is a means to an end. Surely you don’t expect someone with her talent to settle in there permanently, do you? It’s the experience of working here with you that’ll appeal to her. She’s a perfectionist, never does anything half-assed. She’s always striving to be the best. She’s driven, just like you are. Remember that when you interview her.’

He shuffled pages. ‘What did you have to do to get this stuff, tie Irv to a chair and beat him with a tire iron?’

‘It’s amazing what a man will tell you over a couple of drinks.’

‘You got him drunk.’

‘It wasn’t that hard. He never could hold his booze. I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out sooner. She’s perfect for my job.’

Ellis looked down at the resume. ‘She’s not perfect for your job, Beverly. She’s too young, too inexperienced, and this is not even her area of expertise.’

‘The woman’s a head hunter, Ellis. She has to be competent in lots of areas. Besides, we’ve always been risk-takers at Pneuma Inc, and those risks have always paid off. I’ll train her myself, and you’ll see, within a few months she’ll be able to run this place on her own.’

‘An opportunity she’ll never get because you’ll never retire.’

‘Forget about my retirement, Ellis. It’s time. You know it is. We need someone in training for when the inevitable happens.’172

He gave up pretending to ignore the photo, which was definitely the nicest thing he’d looked at all day. Short, dark hair framed blue eyes, a straight Roman nose, and a full-lipped smile that suggested competence, with a touch of mischief. So this was what Dee Henning looked like. He’d often wondered.

‘Hire her, Ellis. It’s not just that I’m retiring, but I’m old. Hell I could drop dead anytime, then what?’

‘Oh for chrissakes, Beverly, we both know you’re too damned ornery to die. You’ll outlive me. But I tell you what, if and when you do drop dead, I’ll hire her. Hell, when you drop dead, I’ll give her your job on a silver platter and train her myself, I promise. Now can we get back to running the business here?’
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The Romance Reviews

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