BOOK BLITZ- Solitary Man by Diana Benefiel

 

 

Title: Solitary Man
Author: Diane Benefiel
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 6, 2016
Blurb
On a battlefield in Afghanistan, Sgt. Ryder Bronson makes an oath to protect his dying friend’s wife from a rogue cop—and from the passion that will threaten to overwhelm them both.

 

ALONE…

 

After surviving a deadly Taliban attack on his unit, Sgt. Ryder Bronson returns home to fulfill a promise—to keep his dead friend’s wife safe from a scandal so dark that it threatens her life. But protecting her from a distance is essential. To be in close contact with Brenna McMurtrey means fighting the guilt and desire waiting to destroy him. Being honest with her would reveal more than his heart can bear.

 

TOGETHER

 

Over a year after the death of her husband, Brenna is finally ready to move on. Yet, just as she begins to push past the grief and start living again, danger rises at every turn. Several close calls prove she is the target of a sinister scheme. Nowhere is safe, especially not home. Her next-door neighbor appears to be watching her, a handsome if bad-tempered stranger who seems everywhere at once—and whose gray eyes hold an ocean of tragedy. Even if he is capable of protecting her, a part of Brenna will still be in jeopardy. The part that believes she can never love again.
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Excerpt
Trying to shake off the hollow feeling, she clicked through more photos. One grabbed her attention, had her frowning. It was a selfie, Kenny outside on a blazingly bright day, standing in front of a tent and holding up a thermometer showing the temperature at 122 degrees. But it was the man standing several feet behind him that had her peering closely. Out of focus, the soldier stood in profile, sunglasses on against the glare. An army t-shirt revealed a muscular build and dark hair cut military short. She studied the photo but couldn’t be one hundred percent sure. It could be him, but maybe not. She clicked the mouse to move on to the next image.She’d almost gotten to the end of the file when she found the image she’d been looking for.

Kenny had sent it after he and his sergeant had met with tribal leaders. Out of respect for their hosts, he’d said, the soldiers had dressed in the loose-fitting garb commonly worn by Afghan men. Both looked sunburnt, Kenny’s light brown hair nearly bleached blond by the sun. The wind had obviously been blowing; she could see dust billowing behind them, and they’d pulled white fabric from their tunics over their mouths and noses. She couldn’t look away from the man standing next to her husband. Slate gray eyes unrelieved by blue over sharp cheekbones. Ryder Bronson looked at her out of the photo, his arm slung loosely around Kenny’s shoulders.
Oh God. It was him. He’d served with Kenny and never said a word. Warring emotions drove her to her feet. Brenna hit print before storming out of her house and across the yard. Fury propelling her, she ran down her driveway to the gap in the split-rail fence and crossed onto Ryder’s property, the sheet of printer paper clutched in her hand. She approached the house and heard music, gritty metal, reverberating loudly through the late afternoon. At his front door she raised a fist and pounded. “Ryder! I want to talk to you!”
Waiting, barely able to contain the emotions surging inside her, she was afraid she would explode into a thousand pieces if she didn’t find a target for her anger. Ryder Bronson made a perfect target. When the door remained firmly closed, she seethed. She’d just bet he was hiding in there like a coward. “Ryder!”
Sucking in a deep breath, she tried to calm her racing heart. Even the knowledge that if she saw him in that moment she’d do more damage than Wade had inflicted didn’t deter her. About to knock again, she suddenly realized that the music wasn’t coming from inside the house, but from behind it. She strode around the side of the house to an open gate. Stepping through, she rounded the corner to the backyard then drew to a halting stop.
A sunroom had been built onto the back of the house and the windows were open to the outside, exercise equipment arranged around the room. Her attention zeroed in on Ryder, standing with his back to her at a chin-up bar. She stepped closer, stopping just outside the window, the music drowning out any sound of her approach.
His shaggy hair reached almost to his shoulders and he wore only a pair of athletic shorts riding low on his hips. He raised his arms, gripped the bar and, muscles bulging, sweat glistening, pulled himself up, held, then lowered back down. He had a beautiful back with wide, muscular shoulders tapering to a taut waist. A tattoo of an army insignia rippled on his right shoulder blade as he repeated the process without pause. Dismayed, Brenna realized she’d gone from raging anger to a belly-deep hunger in under ten seconds.
She wasn’t about to admit to that hunger being lust, but it sure felt like it. She tried to bring back the fury. Feeling anything close to lust for a man who wasn’t her husband, for a man who’d lied to and confused her, only made her angrier.
Wavering, unsure whether to confront him or just go back home and eat a gallon of ice cream, she found the decision made for her. A dog let out a bark from inside the room and Ryder dropped to the floor and turned to the window. He caught sight of her as two dogs tore out of the open doorway, barking furiously.
“Bruno, Winnie, shut up!”
Brenna put out a hand to the dog now busily sniffing her shoes, glad to have something to look at that wasn’t Ryder’s chest. The music cut off and in the sudden silence she lifted her head. He walked to the doorway, gaze locked on hers, wiping the sweat dripping from his forehead with a shirt wadded in his hand. A rough scar marred the skin high on his left shoulder. Throat dry, she swallowed convulsively at the play of muscles as he shook out the shirt. He raised a brow in question. “Want water?”
She shook her head. He pulled the shirt over his head before crossing the room, where he reached into a mini fridge. Returning to the doorway, eyes on hers, he tipped back the bottle, throat working as he swallowed. Screwing on the lid, he stepped across the threshold.
She took a hasty step in retreat. “Never mind. I changed my mind. I don’t want to talk to you.”
“Then why are you here?”
“Because I was going to talk to you and now I’ve decided it’s not a good idea.” It really wasn’t a good idea because confusion, need, and anger all mixed together to make her feel like a seething mess.
“Chicken.”
“Chicken? I am not chicken.” She backed up another step. “I just made a mistake coming over. People make mistakes all the time. I bet you even make mistakes. I came over to talk to you, and now I’ve decided not to.”
A shiver raced down her spine and she realized her emotions were too close to the surface. “I’m so mad at you it would be better not to talk to you right now.” Still in retreat, she held up a palm when he moved closer. “Go back to doing…” she fluttered her hand and gulped a breath, “to doing that, that muscle thing, and I’ll go back home. I’ll see you then. I mean, not then, but later.”
“Do you know you talk too much when you’re nervous?”
“I’m not nervous, I’m mad.”
“I think you’re nervous. You may be mad too, but I think you’re more nervous than mad.”
“I should know whether I’m nervous or mad. Never mind. This was a really bad impulse. Good-bye.” She turned to flee but he reached out and grabbed her hand. When she stilled, he wasn’t looking at her face. He stared at her arm, his thumb brushing across the sensitive skin where the bruises left by Wade’s fingers showed as dark smudges. Pulsing energy followed his touch along her arm. She was surprised there weren’t little crackles of electricity wherever his skin contacted hers.
“I need to go.” She felt her belly quiver.
“What’s a really bad impulse?” Even as he said the words he took the crumpled sheet of paper from her other hand. She held her breath as he let go of her and opened it. He stood motionless, studying the image. Steady eyes raised to meet hers.
“I’ve wondered if you’d figure it out.”
The soft-spoken words let loose something inside her, a wall that had held back all of the anger over Kenny’s death and the feelings of betrayal by Ryder. Without conscious thought, she raised a fist, pulled it back, and landed a solid punch in his stomach. He let out a grunt.
“You lied to me.” She let loose with another punch but this time her fist slapped into his palm as he caught it. She pulled back her left and let fly, striking him on the shoulder.
“Damn it, stop hitting me.”
She hiccoughed, then gave up trying to hold back the tears. “I don’t hit people. I never hit people.” Tears streamed down her cheeks, and she punched him again, attacking with emotions too long pent up. “You lied to me,” she sobbed. “You lied. You knew Kenny and you didn’t tell me.” She jerked her right hand free of his grip. Her breath heaved as she redoubled her efforts, fists pounding against his chest. He quit trying to stop the blows, instead pulling her closer, arms encircling her shoulders and making it impossible for her to get any leverage behind the punches.

“Shush, Brenna, darlin’.” He uttered the soothing words, hands moving in calming movements over her shoulders and down her back.

“Don’t you ‘shush, Brenna’ me. I’m on to you.” Her words were muffled because he’d pulled her against his chest, locking her arms against him, her cheek resting over his heart. He held her close and she took a deep breath to steady herself, his scent filling her head. Even when her mind screamed that this wasn’t right, that he wasn’t Kenny, for just a moment she let herself give in to the overwhelming need to be held. She wrapped her arms around his waist and hung on, eyes squeezed shut as a last shudder shook her body.
Author Bio

Born and raised in Southern California, Diane Benefiel likes nothing better than summer. For a high school history teacher, summer means a break from teenagers and early mornings spent immersed in her current writing project. She writes what she loves to read – emotional, heart-gripping romantic suspense novels. With both kids living (mostly) out of the house, in addition to writing, she enjoys camping and gardening with her husband. Diane is an active member of two RWA chapters, East Valley Authors and Orange County. She loves hearing from readers.

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RELEASE BLITZ- Gutted by A.F. Crowell

 

 

 

Title: Gutted
Series: Torn #5
Author: A.F. Crowell
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Blurb
KILLING THE LIE

 


Barb and Viper had an explosive relationship from the moment they met. She looked past his MC affiliation and saw through his rough and possessive exterior. Then she fell. Hard. Just as she let down the wall around her heart, he was gone. It’s taken her nearly two years to feel human again, and she’s barely recovered.

Cole Ellett, road name Viper, is back. But his lies remain. Never a member of an outlaw MC. Never murdered. Undercover for the Department of Homeland Security, his job forced him to disappear. But now he’s back for Barb, who is everything he’s ever desired. No matter that his life is still in danger and that their relationship was like a house built on sand. No matter that she’s locked her heart away for good. He will reignite her spark and bring back the fire that burns only for him. Theirs is a love that will never die.

 

 

Purchase Links

 

AMAZON US / UK

 

Excerpt
“Right. Remind me to ask about that later. I’m gonna go try to talk to Barb,” I said as I practically leaped from the chair and bounded up the first and second flight of wooden stairs.

“Good luck,” Jaxon muttered on my way out.

I was going to need all the luck I could get.

Once I reached the master bedroom on the third floor, I looked across the room at the closed white door leading to the bathroom. My heavy boots betrayed my attempt at being quiet. As I stilled, I could hear a low, deep growl coming from the other side of the door.

Fuck. He was in there with her.

“Who’s out there?” She asked through the wooden door.

“Babe, it’s me,” I replied and the growling got a little louder.

“I told Lei I didn’t want to see you. Leave. Me. Alone.”

“You know I’m not gonna do that. I’ve waited almost two years to see you. Hold you. Feel your hair between my fingers. I need you to at least let me try to explain. Please, baby.” Yeah, I was groveling. I would have gotten down on my knees and kissed her feet if that’s what it took. Anything for a chance.

“Leave Cole. There’s nothing you could say to me right now that’ll make me change my mind,” she sobbed and the rift in my chest widened a little more.

“Please, Barbara. I’ll stay out here and explain. You don’t have to see me, just give me a chance. I didn’t have a choice. I was under orders.”

“No, you’re not listening. You don’t get a chance to explain why you left me, or a chance to explain why you allowed me to think that you were dead. You don’t get a fucking chance to tell me why you let me grieve you for a year and eight months. Fuck you, Cole. You don’t get a chance. Now leave me the fuck alone or so help me God, I’ll open this damn door and let the dog out.” The fire in her voice shot straight to my cock. Fuck me, she was hot when she was pissed.

I was quiet for minute and waited for her anger to fade. My girl would get mad fast then soften a little. I knew she was trying to cover.

Even though I couldn’t see the hurt, I could hear it. Her cries and gasps for air damn near killed me. Maybe she did need more time than I was willing to give her.

“I know you’re still there, Cole. Please,” she sniffled as her breath hitched, “please just leave. I can’t deal with you right now.”

Her words were like a sharpened Ka-Bar to the heart. They opened me up and drained every drop of blood coursing through my veins.

In all of my preparation for this day, I never imagined it would be this awful.

She fucking hated me.

 

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AMAZON US / UK

 

AMAZON US / UK

 

AMAZON US / UK

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Author Bio

 

A.F. Crowell lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and two sons. They have two dogs, Diesel, a German Shepherd rescue and Dez, a black Labrador Retriever. She shares her love of books with her children, who have a head start on becoming life-long readers.

Romance fiction hit her radar when her husband forced her to watch Twilight one weekend when they were snowed in. That was it! From there her love grew; Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, YA and Dystopian are her preferred reads.

Author Links

TWITTER

 

 

Giveaway

COVER REVEAL- His Redemption by A.F. Crowell

 

 

 

Title: His Redemption
Series: Torn #4 
Author: A.F. Crowell
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: October 4, 2016
Blurb

There aren’t many people Brody Davis let get close, with good reason; his life seemed to be one epic mistake after another, and here he was again, swooping in to save the one woman who might be his redemption.

Never Trust…


Since his parents’ deaths, one person has kept Brody Davis afloat, his surrogate mother, Jane. Knowing he owes her big time, when her gorgeous niece needs a place to stay, Brody tries not to alienate the one person who has loved him unconditionally. But sometimes lust, love and destiny run roughshod over good intentions, especially when danger threatens everything he holds dear.

A Beautiful Stranger 

Emmery Lennox has a single focus in life. Her career. When her dream becomes a nightmare, she runs back to family and into the home of a devastatingly handsome and domineering man who challenges everything she believes about herself. Murder, mayhem and vicious cartels aren’t the only things that threaten them; her body has betrayed her brain, and her heart is on the line. Yet, together they might wind up saving each other.

 

 

Pre-order Link
 

US: http://amzn.to/2avY4i3

UK: http://amzn.to/2aDtXjM

Excerpt

After I grabbed a bottle of water, I made my way across the living room to the couch. I hadn’t had a chance to catch the scores from the football game tonight. Just before I got to the couch, I kicked the edge of the coffee table.

“Son of bitch,” I cussed, hopping on one foot. Why the hell is this table so far out? Damn the motion sensors. Jane must have turned them off again. I grabbed around on the table and found the remote. Falling backward on to the sofa, I landed on something.

“Ahhhhhh,” a woman shrieked as she scrambled backward pulling the blanket up around her chest as the television lit the room.

Emmery.

“Holy fuck,” I yelled, jumping up. She scared me as much as I apparently scared her. “What are you doing?”

“Uh, what the hell does it look like I’m doing? Yoga? I was sleepin’ you ass. What the hell are you doing? Why’d you sit on me?” She released her grasp on the chenille blanket, revealing a tiny beater that showed half her stomach. She rubbed her hands over her face and repositioned herself on the sofa.

“I didn’t see you, I swear. Someone turned off the motion sensors.” Slowly it dawned. “And I’m guessing that was you,” I muttered as I moved down toward the opposite arm and sat. Still way drunk, I couldn’t face the stairs although my bed beckoned. Pressing the remote, I surfed until SportsCenter appeared on the screen.

“What are you doin’?” she slurred, trying to lie back down. Apparently, Emmery was pretty tanked herself.

“I’m watchin’ TV, what does it look like? Yoda? I mean yoga.” Fuck, I was too drunk to even make sense as I tried to be a smartass like her. Glancing from the television to Emmery, I saw that she’d already passed back out.

Drunk off my ass, I still couldn’t help but admire how truly sexy she looked with no makeup, hair a mess, tiny beater, boxer shorts scrunched up and passed out on my couch. I savored this moment – she was quiet. And, it gave me the opportunity to memorize the full lips and high cheekbones set under olive, flawless skin. God, she was gorgeous. And half naked. Shaking my head, I tried to clear the wicked scenarios that had taken root and began to play out in my brain.

Also Available

 

 

AMAZON US / UK

 

AMAZON US / UK

 

AMAZON US / UK

 

Author Bio

 

A.F. Crowell lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and two sons. They have two dogs, Diesel, a German Shepherd rescue and Dez, a black Labrador Retriever. She shares her love of books with her children, who have a head start on becoming life-long readers.

Romance fiction hit her radar when her husband forced her to watch Twilight one weekend when they were snowed in. That was it! From there her love grew; Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, YA and Dystopian are her preferred reads.

Author Links

TWITTER

 

 

Giveaway

BOOK BLITZ- With Vengeance by Brooklyn Ann

 

 

Title: With Vengeance
Series: Hearts of Metal #2
Author: Brooklyn Ann
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: May 18, 2016
Blurb
Katana James is about to become the studio guitarist for her favorite heavy metal band ever—and meet the musicians, music, and man of her dreams.

SHE MEANS BUSINESS

Twenty-three year old Katana James can shred on the guitar. Not that anyone would know, as she’s spent most of her time working on a popular news and gossip website for Heavy Metal fans since her own band broke up. But her dreams are in reach when she gets an audition to play with her favorite band, Bleeding Vengeance. Kat won’t let her gender, her anxiety disorder, or even the pranks of a malicious stalker stand in her way. The only thing to threaten her focus? A growing fascination with the group’s brilliant, mysterious bass player.

HE OFFERS PLEASURE

Klement Burke has always been the heart, soul and brain of Bleeding Vengeance. He’s the kind of rock star who stays in the shadows, a perfectionist more interested in satisfying his brain than other parts of his body. Until he auditions Katana James. At first it seemed a perfect idea, as he’s been aware of her talent for some time. But meeting her in the flesh ignites thoughts far from professional. Despite the conflict of work, the odds against her falling for a geek like him, and a secret he’s been hiding, his heart, body and soul now belong to Kat.

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK
Excerpt
He
had to be near six and a half feet tall, way taller than he appeared in their
album pictures or on stage. Long, sandy blond hair caressed his shoulders,
curling slightly at the ends. His blue-green eyes danced with mischief and
intelligence. Some strange, intense feeling tightened Kat’s stomach and chest,
making it hard to breathe.
She
stared for what felt like an eternity, her heart pounding before she recovered
herself and nodded. “Yes, I’m Katana.”
Klement
gave her an unreadable smile and gestured for her to follow him to where the
rest of the band waited, including Cliff Tracey, the lead singer and her
biggest crush. Kat didn’t know what would be worse: Klement rejecting her, or
humiliating herself in front of Cliff. Sucking in a deep breath, she squeezed
the handle of her guitar case in a death grip and followed.
The
bassist’s long strides led to small break room where three men lounged, men
she’d only seen from a distance on stage at concerts and up close on posters on
her wall. Roderick Powell eyed her up and down with a friendly smile.
“’Ello,
love. So you’re the one who’s going to help us make this album?”
His
British accent made her want to melt into a puddle. She nodded and shook his
hand, hoping she didn’t look too star-struck. “I’m Katana James.”
“Roderick
Powell.” He continued to scrutinize her. “You look too little to be behind
those blistering samples we heard.”
Behind
her, Klement laughed. “Yeah, she is pretty short.”
“Five
feet.” Kat managed a nervous smile before her gaze strayed to the front man of
the band. Cliff Tracey stood only five feet away. Her breath halted as she took
in the sight of his rich chestnut curls, chocolate eyes and sculpted jaw. The
man was too beautiful for words.
His
gaze swept her from head to toe as he shook her hand, making heat rise to her
cheeks. “So you’re ‘Metal-Kat’ from
Metalness.com. You’re even better-looking than
your partner. But you look too cute for this work.”
A
line from the Rudolph Christmas special rang in her head. He thinks I’m cute!
She
choked back a giggle. She could do that later when she called Kinley and told
her how it went.
“That’s
right.” Roderick leaned forward. “I love that site. You give us good promo, and
your memorial post for Lefty did him justice.”
“Thanks,”
she murmured. “Kinley wrote most of it, since…uh, she was there with you guys
when it happened. I just filled in the background.” Kat looked down at her
feet, feeling depressed and awkward at bringing up that tragic day when Lefty
had been found dead from a cocaine overdose in his hotel room during the band’s
tour with Vici
ӧus. Kin had called
her both right after it happened and then at the memorial service, knowing Kat
wished she was there herself to honor
the memory of her idol.
The
fact that she was here to replace their fallen comrade and her idol struck Kat
again full-force. She didn’t want to usurp Lefty. She wanted to honor his
legacy. She prayed they would see that.
Cliff
stepped closer to her. “The part you wrote was the most beautiful.”
Kat
shivered at his proximity and husky voice. “Thank you.”
Klement
made an impatient sound behind her. “Let’s get rolling.”
She
snapped to attention, ashamed of her giddy distraction. She was here to work,
not flirt with a potential colleague.
Cliff
grinned. “Open up that case, sweetie. Let’s see what you got.”
Kat
smiled back, hoping she wasn’t blushing, and opened her case to reveal her
vintage Gibson Flying V.
Cliff
nodded in approval. “Good choice.”
“Lefty
played a Gibson V.”
Klement’s
soft voice washed over Kat, tremulous with sorrow. The grief in his eyes gave
her an unreasonable urge to hug him.
“I
know,” she whispered. “He was my hero.”
They
exchanged a long look, and Kat was struck by the sincere respect in the
bassist’s eyes. In all her twenty-three years, no one had ever taken her so
seriously before. Even Kinley often rolled her eyes at her, accusing her of
being too girly. Kat wanted more than anything to be worthy of this respect.
She
was led into the recording room.
“So,
where do I plug in?”
He
handed her a giant set of headphones and gestured to the center of the room,
where speaker cabinets were arranged along with a set of whammy pedals. “Right
here.”
Kat
hooked up her guitar, and Klement showed her where to plug the headphones so
she could hear the music and instructions from the console station behind the
glass. “We’ll be back there keeping an eye on things, but try to pretend you’re
alone.”
Easy for you to say, she thought.
Roderick
and Cliff were already in there. They waved at her from the window. Klement
nodded and strode off, leaving her alone in the chamber feeling like a zoo
exhibit. Kat swallowed, mouth dry.
The
bassist’s voice echoed in her headphones, alarmingly intimate in her ears and
somehow familiar. “We’re going to start with ‘Sorrow’s Harvest.’ Are you
ready?”
She
nodded with a confidence she didn’t feel.
“Remember,
just like you’re at home practicing….”
Klement’s
voice faded out. Something about the echo made Kat think of her IT guy again. But
he couldn’t be—
The
thought broke as music began to play through her headphones.
The
song sounded almost the same as it had on the MP3 sent her to practice with,
only the scratch guitar section was gone and Cliff’s voice sounded more pure.
Closing her eyes, Kat struck the first chord just in time. The faces of her
audience faded from her awareness as fierce concentration overtook her being,
focus on touching each string at the right time, adding the correct pressure,
making her instrument sing. Like an auditory engineer, she focused on one note
and then the next until the song finished and triumph straightened her spine.
She hadn’t messed up. In fact, she’d sounded pretty good.
Clapping
echoed in the headphones, jolting her back to reality.
“Bloody
well done, love!” Roderick said.
Cliff
stared at her through the window with increased interest. “Where’d you learn to
play like that?”
“I…uh…”
Kat shrugged. “I just keep trying until I get it right.”
Klement
shook his head. “It’s not where she learned it, it’s why.” He looked at her
long and intently. “Why do you play?”
She
gave him a direct stare through the glass. “I love music.”

He smiled with such
understanding and satisfaction that her body warmed. “That’s right. Now let’s
see how well you learned the new songs.”

 

 

Also Available

 

 

AMAZON US / UK

 

Author Bio
Formerly an auto-mechanic, Brooklyn Ann thrives on writing Romance featuring unconventional heroines and heroes who adore them. After writing historical paranormal romance in her critically acclaimed “Scandals with Bite” series and urban fantasy in her “Brides of Prophecy” novels, she now explores the chaotic realm of heavy metal music— a difficult world to find love in.

She lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with her son, her cat, and a 1980 Datsun 210.

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BOOK BLITZ- A Hero to Hold by Sheri Humphreys

 

 

 

Title: A Hero to Hold
Author: Sheri Humphreys
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
 Release Date: June 9, 2016

 

Blurb
Disillusioned by the scandal that took her husband and standing in society, Viscountess Charlotte Haliday will return to London and come face to face—and mouth to mouth—with a wounded war hero, the best man she has ever known.

 

 

STANDING TALL

 

 

Viscountess Charlotte Haliday has lost her illusions. Scandal took her position in society and the husband she thought she loved, and his mysterious murder followed shortly thereafter. But now is the time to return to London, time to find whatever small portion of happiness remains to her.

The first step will be proving she is her own person, unafraid of the lies and deceit that came before. Then she will defy her father and all others who try to steal her independence. Never again will Charlotte have a husband or seek the perfect marriage of her best friend Jane, but perhaps she will dare the wrath of the gossip-mongers and indulge her tiniest desire. To do so will bring her face to face with a stranger in an alcove. It will lead to learning Mr. David Scott is not only a war hero soon to be awarded the Victoria Cross, but also the most formidable man she has ever met. Broken in every way except the ones that count, he just might make her believe in love. And only she can show him that he is not alone.

 

Purchase Links

 

Excerpt

 

“Lady Haliday, what a pleasure.”

The malicious edge of humor in the baroness’s voice made her words a parody, and resentment speared Charlotte. “You’re a poor liar, Lady Garret, and you really needn’t expend the effort. I’m immune to your poison.”

The baroness noticed their silent companion, whose gaze was fixed upon her. “What, no introduction, my lady?”

The man did not react in any way. Well, Charlotte decided, at least he dealt out rudeness impartially.

The man shot her a look, brows lifting as if in question—as if he knew her and was silently communicating. Following blind instinct, Charlotte settled herself next to him on the empty half of the settee. She felt immediately and impossibly steadied.

Lady Garret’s mouth firmed, and her attention returned to Charlotte. “I’m surprised to see you here, my lady. Especially tucked away in a corner with a gentleman. It’s been a mere eighteen months since your husband passed. I’d go so far as to say this makes a mockery of his memory.”

Charlotte schooled her expression to one of polite interest. She would not show Lady Garret even an inkling of distress.

“I’d guess your actions will provide society with some entertainment,” the baroness continued. “A bit of a scandal is always appreciated. At least, it amuses me. It might even inspire me to pen another novel.”

A slow smile curled her enemy’s lips, and a quivering beset Charlotte deep inside. She kept her vision fixed on the baroness’s glittering eyes and wrapped her hand around the edge of the divan seat, anchoring herself. Over and over, for the past year she’d imagined this meeting. God willing, she would prevail.

She leaned back against the divan and forced her shoulders to relax. She had to appear confident, so she concentrated on keeping her voice composed. “I’m no longer that naive young woman you manipulated and tried to destroy. This time I won’t stand by while you spread lies about me. I’m not afraid of you, and I won’t crumble.”

The gentleman beside her turned his head, the chilly look gone from his eyes. Like heat from the sun, waves of quiet strength radiated from him and emboldened Charlotte. She marshaled her thoughts, leaned forward just enough to lend emphasis to her words, and continued with a harder voice. “You tell lies about me again, and I’ll make sure all of London is familiar with your machinations and your wicked soul. Until then, I’ll leave you be.”

Lady Garret’s eyes narrowed to mere slits. “How dare you threaten me?”

Charlotte did not look away. Didn’t this woman understand that she had already been consumed by the fire of scandal and risen from the ashes?

“You can say whatever you like about me,” she vowed. “You can tell all of London you saw me walk naked down the center of Regent Street. I don’t care. If it happens again, this time I won’t hide myself away—and I’ll make sure no one believes you.”

She felt the man sit straighter beside her, and a sudden desire to do something actually outrageous overcame Charlotte. To do something worthy of gossip, possibly even scandalous, and to do it without a care for the watchful eyes of Lady Garret. The thought left her giddy, and Charlotte closed her eyes to steady herself. Such an act would prove beyond all doubt that she had no fear of the baroness.

The gentleman beside her still radiated waves of quiet heat. His hand rested on the divan, and before she could consider the wisdom of her idea, Charlotte found herself caught up in it. She placed her hand atop his and laced their fingers. He tensed, and her heart began to race. What was she thinking? And yet, her daring thrilled her as nothing ever had, and when Charlotte looked at Lady Garret and saw the baroness struggling to hide her surprise, suddenly she was sure.

“At least this time,” she announced, “what you write will be based on truth instead of falsehood.”

In the grip of something foreign and reckless, Charlotte turned to the gentleman, gazed into his eyes and curled her hand around the back of his head. He resisted a bit as she drew him near, but she couldn’t afford to hesitate now. She didn’t relent.

 

 Author Bio
After a satisfying career as an emergency room nurse, Sheri closed the book on her diverse nursing experiences and followed a lifelong love for writing and historical romance to a new vocation as an author. She lives with a Jack Russell mix rescue, Lucy, in a small town on the central California coast.

 

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