Excerpt: Becky’s Kiss by Nicholas Fisher

Title: Becky's Kiss Author: Nicholas Fisher Format: Print Length: 180 pages Publisher: Vinspire Publishing, LLC Publication Date: November 30, 2015 ASIN: B016NGFXI8

Title: Becky’s Kiss
Author: Nicholas Fisher
Format: Print Length: 180 pages
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: November 30, 2015

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It could not be worse for ninth grader Becky Michigan on her first day at a new school, sitting in beet juice and staining her white jeans in a classroom about to fill up with students. In the nick of time, a gorgeous blonde boy named Danny comes in and offers his oversized baseball jersey so she can cover up, get to the office, and change. By the time she pulls the shirt over her head however, he has mysteriously disappeared.

Becky scours the school in search of her dream-athlete and wonders why after contact with him she has magically gained the ability to throw a fastball ninety miles per hour! Instead of finding the answer, however, Becky’s new skill pits her against the school bully and the entire varsity baseball team. That night, after her exciting showdown in front of the entire school, Danny shows up at her bedroom window. If she will agree to meet him behind the school at midnight on the ball field at the edge of the woods, he promises to reveal a secret meant to alter the past and change her life forever.

Excerpt from Becky’s Kiss:

Something was wrong. Something was wet.

She’d sat in something.

“No,” she moaned, standing, arching back, straining her glance, rubbing with both hands and bringing them up before her all greasy and red.

 It was beet juice, she could smell it…those awful disgusting beets she had seen at lunch in the steamtable pan second to the end, floating in a greasy puddle of scarlet broth. Clearly, someone had snuck some out in an eyedropper or a monkey dish and doused the chair, ha ha, and to make matters worse she wearing white pants!

What was she going to do? The clock on the wall read 1:15 p.m., and in less than a minute the halls would be packed with students, jostling, joking, pushing, and laughing. Could she make it to the office before the bell? Doubtful. And she wasn’t sure of the way. She didn’t even know if the trailers were connected to the second or third floor, and she couldn’t remember whether it was the auditorium or the shop that you had to detour around and on which side either one sat. Oh, this was a mess!

Becky looked for something to wipe her hands on, and of course, there was nothing. She was holding her hands away from her body now, looking all around, seeing everything all at once and registering little, trying not to scream.

There was a clicking noise. Shoes. Out in the hall and closing.

Becky froze. She would move the chair to the back corner and sit! Yes! She would park herself right back in that puddle of beet juice all through health class. She wouldn’t budge until everyone had gone to their busses. If the teacher told her to get up she’d refuse, stay ‘til midnight if she had to, outlast everyone.

She didn’t sit back down, however. Somehow, she just couldn’t move.

The clicking had made its way right up to the doorway now, and in a scattered kind of a way, Becky tried to determine what type of person walked that way. Someone in heels, someone haughty. One of the popular girls. One of the older popular girls. Or maybe an administrator. She hoped it was the third choice, but didn’t look forward to any of the encounters.

He came around the corner, a kid wearing a back-turned cap, gray baseball pants, and a long, untucked yellow t-shirt, green lettering going across in a cursive slant spelling out ‘Newtown Edgemont’ then fading off after the letters ‘Bic..’ Whatever that meant. The sound had been his cleats, and he had probably gotten out of his last class to help set up for the first fall ball practices or something.

Becky stood there stunned, for he was the most beautiful boy she had ever seen in her life. Dirty-blonde hair, drawn cheeks, and eyebrows that arched in a way most girls would kill for. And his crystal blue, almond-shaped eyes had a softness to them, a kindness, a familiarity like the tree in your back yard and the tire swing hanging from it.

“Are you all right?” he said. He was looking at her hands. She shook her head slightly. No, you’re warm, keep guessing. He put his knuckles up, pointed down a finger, and twirled it slowly, like ‘turn around.’ She did it and then turned back. If he was laughing, she would simply shrivel up and curl like a cinder.

“Gosh,” he said evenly. “They got you with a diaper rash something good.” He took the towel that had been slung around his neck and tossed it to her. “Go ahead. Pat it and blot it out best you can.” He looked at the clock. “And I think you’d better hurry.”

Becky widened her eyes and tilted her head expectantly. Now her hand was up, knuckles high and index finger twirling so he’d turn and give her a second. She couldn’t believe that she’d suddenly gained the confidence to be cutsie, especially with the hour glass nearly depleted so to speak, but she had and he politely looked off behind him.

She blotted. Wiped her hands off. Threw the towel in the trash.

“What now?” she said. He looked back, and if there was even the hint of a smile in his eyes, Becky knew that this weird, delicate moment would shatter.

He certainly didn’t smile.

He took off his shirt and gave it to her.

“I get them extra big and long whenever we win a tournament,” he said. “Go ahead, put it on. It’ll get you to the nurse at least, and if you soaked up the extra back there real good it shouldn’t cauliflower through.”

Becky Michigan didn’t waste any more time wondering if this boy was going to smirk at her.  She slipped her head through the collar, thinking about the way the inside of his shirt smelled faintly of Old Spice, same as her Dad used, and she was thinking about the way the fragrance brought up images of porch swings and prayers and sunsets and goodness, all of it welling up inside her like some sweet longing that made worries like pants-stains drift to the edges like corner shadows. She pushed through her elbows and pulled through her chin, eyes closed, daring herself to next let her gaze drift down from his glance a bit so she could really take a look at that muscular little ‘V’ he had going on.

“Well, how do I…?”

Her voice died on the air, and her mouth closed. Slowly, she straightened and smoothed down her new tournament shirt, then gathered her hair, pulled it through, and let it fall down across her shoulders.

Her problems were solved. Now she could go to the nurse without anyone bothering to glance at her.

Her real issues had only just begun. Gone were the images of sunsets and porches. And the boy of her dreams had vanished.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Final Debt (Book #6: Indebted Series) by Pepper Winters

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final debt

Title: Final Debt Series: Book #6: Indebted Series Author: Pepper Winters

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“I’m in love with her, but it might not be enough to stop her from becoming the latest victim of the Debt Inheritance. I know who I am now. I know what I must do. We will be together—I just hope it’s on Earth rather than in heaven.”

It all comes down to this.  Love versus life.  Debts versus death.  Who will win?

final debt teaser

Excerpt from Final Debt (Book #6: Indebted Series):


Cut’s voice physically hurt me as he forced me to my knees. The ballroom splendour mocked me as I bowed unwillingly at the feet of my executioner.

Velvet and hand-stitched crewel on the walls glittered like the diamonds the Hawks smuggled—a direct contrast to the roughly sawn wood and crude craftsmanship of the guillotine dais. No finesse. No pride. Just a raised podium, framework cushioning a large tarnished blade, and a rope dangling to the side.

“Don’t do this. Cut…think about what you’ve become. You can stop this.” My voice mimicked a beg but I’d vowed not to beg. I’d seen things, understood things, and suffered things I never thought I would be able to endure. I refused to cry or grovel. I wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.

“In five minutes, this will all be over, Weaver.” Cut bent to the side and collected a wicker basket.

The wicker basket.

I didn’t want to think about what its contents would be.

He placed it on the other side of the wooden block.

My lungs demanded more oxygen. My brain demanded more time. And my heart…it demanded more hope, more life, more love.

I’m not ready.

Not like this.


“No. No more talking. Not after everything you’ve done.” Ripping a black hood from his pocket, he didn’t hesitate. No fanfare. No second guesses.

I cried out as the scratchy blackness engulfed my face, tightening by a cord around my throat.

The Weaver Wailer chilled me. The diamond collar that’d seen what I’d seen and whispered with phantoms of my slain family prepared to revoke its claim and detach from around my neck.

This was it.

The Final Debt.

Cut pushed my shoulders forward.

A heavy yoke settled over the top of my spine.

I closed my eyes.

I said goodbye.

I waited to die.

final entire series

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 Indebted Epilogue (Indebted #7)

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About the author and where to find her:

Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex… her books have sex.  She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.

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Review: Playing with Seduction (Book #3: The Players Club Series) by Erika Wilde

Title: Playing with Seduction Series: Book #3: The Players Club Series Author: Erika Wilde Format: Kindle Edition, 151 pages Published: October 19, 2015 ASIN: B01258E2G2

Title: Playing with Seduction
Series: Book #3: The Players Club Series
Author: Erika Wilde
Format: Kindle Edition, 151 pages
Published: October 19, 2015
ASIN: B01258E2G2

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Kendall Shaw loves her job as a boudoir photographer. When she enlists hot, gorgeous, 100% alpha male, Jase Burns for a custom photo shoot for a romance novel cover, she quickly discovers that he only took the job to get close to her. But her painful divorce has made her wary of men, and especially one who is eight years younger than she is.

The moment Jase sets his sights on beautiful, sexy Kendall, he wants her. Despite their mutual attraction, she’s rejected his every advance. But Jase loves a good challenge, and one steamy, seductive night at The Players Club changes everything between them.

Kendall has never experienced such overwhelming passion, or been pursued so tenaciously. Jase is addicting, in every way, and she soon finds herself falling for a man who doesn’t fit into her ideal future.

Can Jase convince Kendall to let go of her past and take a risk on a second chance at love—with him?

Source: Netgalley and Purchase

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Review:

Jase Burns is taking a lot of crap from his co-workers.  Sure, he’s good at his job and likes to play just like the rest of the men, but Jase is the only one among the group who has taken up modeling.  Jase will continue to take the crap as long as it means he can keep seeing Kendall Shaw.

Kendall Shaw is in her prime and she is looking for forever.  Her boudoir photography business is booming, her circle of friends is tighter than ever, and she knows exactly the type of man she is looking for and Jase Burns isn’t that man.  Oh, sure, Jase is hotter than hell and willing to model for her but he’s far, far too young for her.  Kendall has already been traded in for a younger model once before and she has no interest in a younger man who will most assuredly get bored with an older woman and trade her in.  Her best bet is to get Jase out of her system, continue on with her search to find the perfect man via the online dating world, get married and have the family she has always wanted.

Um, Jase isn’t OK with Kendall’s plan and though he isn’t quite ready for the whole marriage and kids thing, he is interested in more than a one night stand.  First up on his plan of seduction, show Kendall what sex with him can be like and then maybe, just maybe he can convince her to stick around for something more than just the physical.  The night of seduction at the Players Club goes beyond well and Kendall is on board with a friends with benefits arrangement but she makes it clear, Jase is far too young for her for the long term and once the fun is done, she’s going after her forever man.

Um, Jase still isn’t OK with Kendall’s plan . . .

The Bottom Line:  I’ve been a fan of Erika Wilde since the beginning of the Marriage Diaries and I have loved pretty much every read since that first book.  That is, until now.  For the first time, I’m only OK with an Erika Wilde read and I think it is because of how short Playing with Seduction is.  Jase and Kendall’s story and relationship simply goes too fast and doesn’t have enough time to really unfold as it deserves too.  We’re talking speed of light fast, folks.  Jase is such a good guy and I would have really liked to have a lot more of him and his back story.  Hell, I would have liked even more of his current story.  Kendall is just an alright character for me and though I understand her hesitation to be with Jase, her protestations and excuses wear thin after a while.  The sex is quite good as always and Jase is quite good but Kendall is a no-go for me.  At the end of the day, two out of three ain’t bad and that gets me to three stars.  I sincerely hope Playing with Seduction is just a bump in the road (nearly every series has one) and the fourth book will be back to the standard I have grown accustomed to from Erika Wilde.

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Review: When We Fall (Book #2: Take the Fall Series) by Marquita Valentine

Title: When We Fall Series: Book #2: Take the Fall Series Author: Marquita Valentine Format: Kindle Edition, 202 pages Expected publication: December 8, 2015 by Loveswept ASIN: B00TCI48YA

Title: When We Fall
Series: Book #2: Take the Fall Series
Author: Marquita Valentine
Format: Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Expected publication: December 8, 2015 by Loveswept

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The last time Piper Ross saw her best friend’s sexy older brother, Jase Simmons, he was being taken away in handcuffs. Seven years later, two things haven’t changed: Piper is still head-over-heels in love with him . . . and Forrestville’s chief of police—Piper’s dad—still hates his guts. So when Piper sees a chance to get close to Jase, she makes her move—literally. As his new roommate, and as the office manager of his tattoo shop, Piper won’t be satisfied until Jase knows that she wants to be his.

The quintessential good girl, Piper is pure temptation for Jase. The only reason he’s always kept his distance is because she’s the last person he’d ever want to hurt. But once he realizes that Piper is ready to take the leap, everything just makes sense. Suddenly Jase feels like a new man—until nasty rumors start swirling and Piper’s heartless father stirs up even more trouble. Now Jase must convince Piper that she wasn’t wrong about him . . . because falling in love never felt so right.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

You would think at some point I would get tired of being an author’s bitch but I’m not there yet with Marquita Valentine.  When We Fall is yet another reason I am going to continue to be Valentine’s bitch. 

Since Piper Ross decided to defy her disgustingly rich, image-conscious, need-to-rot-in-hell parents, her life has been both far better and far worse.  On the far worse side, she no longer has access to their money which means she can’t pay for school and she has to live well below the standard she is used too.  On the far better side, Piper is now her own woman, she has some really amazing friends, and the guy she has been in love with since she was a teenager just gave her a job and a place to live. 

Jase Simmons has spent the past several months making up for the seven years he spent in prison.  That’s a lot of partying, a lot of drinking, and a lot of sex.  Trouble is, that life style isn’t what Jase really wants and what he really wants is Piper Ross, a woman he considers himself nowhere near good enough for.  Piper is innocent where Jase is tainted, Piper is sweet where Jase is harsh, Piper is pure where Jase is so far from pure.  Even knowing all of that, Jase still wants Piper with a passion he never thought possible.  Jase also wants a better life than he ever thought possible for himself.  With Piper by his side, Jase feels like he has something and someone to work for and he begins to do so the second he becomes well and truly involved with Piper.

As Piper begins to work her way into Jase’s world, her suspicions about him are confirmed.  Underneath all the bravado is a good guy with the capacity to love her in a way no other person ever has.  Jase’s every action speaks to his goodness and his feelings for Piper even if he can’t admit them out loud just yet.  In no time flat, Piper and Jase are completely involved with one another and happy to be so but others aren’t quite so excited about their relationship.  Though she has severed virtually every tie with her parents, Piper still has to deal with them from time to time and when they get wind of her relationship, all hell breaks loose.  As if things couldn’t get any worse, Piper is attacked after meeting with her parents and when Jase comes to her rescue, his past comes back to haunt him.  In order to get to their HEA, Piper and Jase are going to need a whole lot of luck!

The Bottom Line:  Jase Simmons is some kind of hot and his actions toward Piper makes him all the hotter.  From the moment Jase decides to go all in with Piper, he is there for her 110% and no one had better get in his way.  Jase lays claim to Piper in some very primal (yet tender) ways and Piper soaks up every second of her man’s attention.  As the plot unfolds, Piper really comes into her own and with Jase’s support finds her own voice and a reserve of strength even she didn’t know she had.  As Piper’s confidence grows, she puts everyone in their place and defends her man and her choices at every turn.  In this particular instance, I absolutely loved seeing everyone getting exactly what they deserved!!

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About the author and where to find her:

author - Marquita ValentineNew York Times Bestselling Author, Marquita Valentine, writes sexy heroes that make you swoon and sassy heroines that make you laugh. She’s the author of the bestselling contemporary romance series, Holland Springs, and the new adult romance series, Boys of the South.  Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man—and if that doesn’t work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Awaken (Book #2: The Slumber Duology) by Christy Sloat

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Title: Awaken Series: Book #2: The Slumber Duology Author: Christy Sloat Format: Paperback, 250 pages Published: November 17, 2015 by Anchor Group Publishing

Title: Awaken
Series: Book #2: The Slumber Duology
Author: Christy Sloat
Format: Paperback, 250 pages
Published: November 17, 2015 by Anchor Group Publishing

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“Happily ever after is hers for the taking.”
Once upon a time I found myself locked away in Spindle Ridge Asylum, punished for a murder I didn’t commit. It was all part of Maleficent’s evil plan. I didn’t remember who I was then … now I do. My name is Aurora, and I am the rightful queen of this realm. Armed with my memories, I’m ready to take charge of my kingdom once more. Happily ever after evades me, yet I long to claim it with my true love, Sawyer, beside me. That fairy tale ending seems impossible with him locked in the thralls of a sleeping curse. As much as I’d love to sit by his bedside and eagerly await a cure, I must first travel into the terrifying Dark Woods to stop Raven from stripping me of all that is rightfully mine. I am not only a queen, but a warrior who will fight for her kingdom. Some may die. Blood will be shed. But when this ending comes, I will settle for nothing less than a blissful ever after.

Excerpt from Awaken (Book #2: The Slumber Duology):

I took a breath and let all of my energy go to my fingers.

My body still.

My heart beating a mile a minute.

The next breath would be a release.

Focus. Focus.

The next breath came, and with my fingers, where all of my strength remained, I let go. The arrow flew through the air, the only thing moving. I was still as I watched it slam into the target. It hit very center of the target just like I wanted.

“Yes!” I shouted.

Sawyer would have been so proud of me.  And just like that my excitement was gone. My mind now on him as he lay up in a bed, alone.

“Rory, don’t do this to yourself,” Gray said holding my arm. She knew what practicing archery did to me. She knew that I was great at it, but also that every time I did something fantastic, I missed his touch. She knew all of this without me even telling her a word because she knows me best.

“I have to go, Gray. I have to go see him and tell him about this,” I said, fighting the tears.

“No. You don’t have to go, you want to go. You’re running away, and I won’t let you,” she said sternly.

I tried to fight, but she won as she pulled me harder and into her arms.

I cried softly as she assured me we would find a way to wake him.

I pulled away and questioned, “Will we? It’s been two months and Merryweather and Flora have not sent word. They haven’t sent word because they haven’t found anything!”

Gray kept her calm face, even though I was breaking apart inside.

“Merryweather and Flora will find something, Rory. They will. We have to have faith in them. You, above all, should trust that they will not return until they find a cure for him. Look at all they did for you when you were trapped here.” Guilt slammed into me as I thought of Merryweather and how she did protect me when she took my memories away. Flora was always protective and never harsh in any way. Even when the other nurses were awful to me—like Betty or Raven—Flora, Merryweather and Fauna were kind and gentle. Always.

They were the three best fairies I had ever known, besides Gray, and here I was being ungrateful.

“Sorry,” I muttered. “You’re right. I’m just … I’m breaking inside, Gray.”

She smiled kindly and said, “And I break inside for you. But now is not the time to lose it. Now is the time to stand up and fight back, Rory. Do it for him. Because you know if he could he’d tell you to put yourself back together and defeat her.”

A smile formed on my wet lips. I wiped the tears away and picked up my bow.

I looked across the yard to where my arrow had flown. I was growing stronger as each day passed. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that I was going to kill Raven when I had the chance.


About the author and where to find her:

 Christy-Sloat-201x300Christy Sloat is a SoCal born girl who resides in New Jersey currently with her husband, two daughters and Sophie her Chihuahua. Christy has embraced the love of reading and writing since her youth and was inspired by her grandmother’s loving support. Christy passes that love of reading, writing, and creativity to her daughters, family, and friends. When you do not find Christy within the pages of a book you can find her being mommy, wife, crafter, and dear friend. She loves adventurous journeys with her friends and can be known to get lost inside a bookstore. Be sure to venture into her Past Lives Series, The Visitor’s Series, and watch for many more exciting things to come.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Denial (Book #1: Careless Whispers Series) by Lisa Renee Jones

denial lisa renee jones

Title: Denial Series: Book #1: Careless Whispers Series Author: Lisa Renee Jones Format: Paperback, 336 pages Published: November 24, 2015 by Gallery Books ISBN: 1501122851

Title: Denial
Series: Book #1: Careless Whispers Series
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Published: November 24, 2015 by Gallery Books
ISBN: 1501122851

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Ella Ferguson awakes alone in Italy, unsure of who she is, and a gorgeous man has claimed her as his own. He’s tall, dark, and sexy, with money and power, the kind of man who makes a girl want to be possessed. And he does possess her, whispering wicked wonderful promises to her, stealing her trust and her heart. Soon though, the past finds her, yanking her from a cocoon of passion and safety. Everything is not how it seems. The truth will shatter her world, but it can set her free, if it doesn’t destroy her first.

denial teaser 2

Excerpt from Denial (Book #1: Careless Whispers Series):

I couldn’t sleep. I meant to go to the kitchen and then I ended up here because I wanted . . .” His reaction cuts like his anger. “Just never mind.” I try to move around him but his hands press to the wall beside me, caging me, and now I’m angry. “Are we doing this again? Don’t bully me. My stupid flashbacks are doing a fine job of that on their own. I said I’m sorry. Just let me go back to my room.”

“You wanted what?”

“I wanted you to do what you swore you could,” I blurt, having nothing to lose when everything is already gone.

“Only I don’t want you to fuck me until I can’t remember my name. I want you to fuck me until I stop thinking about that man and the gun. Because you were right. Memories are the enemies that never die. But I know you don’t want—”

His hand slides under my hair and he drags me to him, my hand flattening on the hard wall of his chest. “I do want. So fucking bad it’s killing me.”

My palm is directly over his heart, and I can feel it racing, the air around us crackling with barely contained passion. “I don’t need a hero to save my virtue tonight. I need you. So please. Fuck me and then fuck with my head so no one else can. Let me choose my own sins.”

He is stone, unmoving, his body steel, his expression unreadable, the sexual tension crackling between us. “You want sin, sweetheart,” he says. “I’ll give you sin.” His mouth closes down on mine, his tongue licking into my mouth, wicked with demand, and I can taste his hunger, his need. A deep, aching need I want to fill.

denial teaser 5

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About the author and where to find her:

lisa renee jones bioNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland, Austin Powers, Must Love Dogs) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.  Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.  Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.  Lisa loves to hear from her readers.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Desert Wolf (Book #8: Wolves of Willow Bend Series) by Heather Long



Title: Desert Wolf Series: Book #8: Wolves of Willow Bend Series Author: Heather Long Genre: Paranormal/Shifter Romance Published: November 24, 2015 Publisher: Self-Published Print Length: 90K Format: Paperback and Digital Print ISBN: 978-1-517315-795

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Cassius, Alpha of Sutter Butte, leads the most ruthless and dangerous pack in the United States. A pack comprised of misfits who didn’t fit in their previous packs, cast offs discarded by their packs and forgotten wolves who rose to create a pack more than a century before it utter defiance of the order of the day. Sometimes pitiless and cruel, he wants more for his people than a yearly bloodbath as they fight for a new place, a better spot in the pecking order. To change his pack, means to change himself and he will find rebellion on all sides, not the least of which is his own defiant heart.

Sovvan Stark, Omega of Delta Crescent, lives a cherished, beloved life in the center of her pack, a delicate and hard won balance. Though she is not the only Omega, she is the most experienced with the tremors of pack upset when power shifts from Alpha to Alpha. When her Alpha approaches her about Sutter Butte’s request, Sovvan considers the matter for several long months. While she might hold within her the key to helping the Sutter Butte Alpha, the undertaking could very well kill her.

Accompanied by a single Hound, Sovvan begins a journey to help Cassius rebuild the foundation of his pack, but first she will have to transform him…

Excerpt from Desert Wolf (Book #8: Wolves of Willow Bend Series):

Heat rolled in waves from the blacktop of the old highway. Around him, the desert sprawled in its painted glory, seemingly melting into the horizon where it kissed the sky. The colors streaked past him as he accelerated, blowing past the old trading posts and bypassing the interstate with its smoother surface and promise of civilization in the distance. If one sought to journey through the decades, the old highway east of Holbrook was the place to start.

Sweat slicked his back beneath the leather jacket and the motorcycle vibrated between his thighs. Clocking over a hundred, he barely noticed the machine’s growl echoing his wolf’s. Cassius Lucera del Alba, Alpha of Sutter Butte squinted to catch sight of the town he sought ahead.

Though town was a generous description for the collection of ramshackle structures—of which a filling station with a decrepit market attached and a lone bar were clearly detailed. Time hadn’t forgotten the town, it had left it in the dust by doing a hundred and sixty and never looked back. If the location had a name, no map detailed it, not even Google. The poor bastards didn’t even have a ghost to call their own.

Though they might when he finished.

He didn’t slow until he reached the main drag, all eighty-five feet of it and parked his bike in front of the bar. A handful of vehicles were scattered amongst the cracked pavement and gravel. Three he recognized, two he didn’t. Like the bar, the cars were in sad shape and far more popular in earlier decades. Killing the engine, he dropped the kickstand and slid off his baby. Road dust coated her paint and chrome. With a stroke of his gloved hand over the seat, he promised her a bath later.

Leaving the bike, he strode toward the building. No one moved outside, but one wolf stood inside the filling station. He was a smart wolf, he’d spotted Cassius, yet didn’t reach for a phone or make any move other than retrieving his newspaper and flipping it open.

Inside, the cool air rushed over his sweaty face like a sweet kiss. The scents of stale beer, body odor, remnants of the blood spilled throughout the years, and fear stained the experience. The population of the bar—easily a dozen wolves though Cassius scented at least four more in the back—glanced up from their places scattered around the room. Three played pool, four others huddled around a card game while the rest sat in various spots including two at the bar drinking. A couple in the corner paused with her hand down his pants. The bartender—a tall, broad wolf with a balding pate and a world-weary expression raised his eyebrows in silent inquiry.

“Beer. Cold.” Cassius said, and the bartender nodded. A moment later, he set a tall bottle of Corona on the weathered bar top. The sides frosted and a hint of vapor escaped the top. Condensation formed almost immediately on the sides, slicking along the glass in rivulets.

Stripping off his fingerless gloves first. Cassius set them on the bar. Next, he peeled off his jacket. The old leather moulded him perfectly after the many years he spent wearing it. Only after setting it on the bar next to his gloves did he peel off three one hundred dollar bills and lay them next to the bottle. The bartender didn’t say a word as he took the bills, tucked them into his pocket then locked his register and exited through the double doors behind the bar.

Leaning against the aged wood, Cassius swept the room with his gaze. “If any of you are still sitting on your asses, disobeying the direct orders I sent out when I finish this beer, I’ll kill you.” He didn’t raise his voice. Shouting accomplished nothing. Yelling indicated the battle was lost before it began.

Chair legs scraping across the floor splintered the silence. The couple in the corner disengaged. The she-wolf grabbed her purse as she stood. Boots striking the floor punctuated her exodus. No sooner did the door slam shut behind her than the four wolves playing cards toss them down, abandoning their game. The men muttered, but they divvied the pot, then bowed their heads to him one at a time before hurrying out.

Tipping the bottle up, he took a long pull of the cold drink. It soothed his parched throat. One of the pool players threw down his stick. One of the wolves tried to stop him with a hand on his arm, but he shook it off. Then like the other wolves before him, he hurried out the door.

From nearly twenty to only ten—behind feet stomped on the stairs followed by another door slamming. Make that eight. One of the upstairs wolves strode into the bar, and stood in the center of it. Surprise filled his scent at the emptiness in the room. The others waited, their attention divided between Cassius and Finch.

Stupid fucking name for a wolf. Another long pull from his beer, and Cassius was three quarters finished. One by one he met the gazes of the wolves around the room. The smarter ones lowered their eyes immediately, the dumbasses fought to hold his gaze—even Finch.

Focusing on him last, Cassius studied him. Fresh beads of sweat began to trickle along Finch’s cheeks. The wolf swore, then stomped out and slammed the door with enough force, one of the hinges cracked.

Then there were seven.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

Other books in the Wolves of Willow Bend Series:

WOLF AT LAW: (Prequel) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | ARe

WOLF BITE: (Book #1)  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

CAGED WOLF: (Book #2)  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

WOLF CLAIM: (Book #3) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

WOLF NEXT DOOR: (Book #3.5) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

ROGUE WOLF: (Book #4) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

BAYOU WOLF: (Book #5) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

UNTAMED WOLF: (Book #6)  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

WOLF WITH BENEFITS: (Book #6.5) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

RIVER WOLF: (Book #7) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

SINGLE WICKED WOLF: (Book #7.5) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe | iBooks

About the author and where to find her:

Heather LongNational bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.

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