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Julie Ann Walker's conclusion to the BKI series~ BUILT TO LAST w/ giveaway

In the epic conclusion to the BKI series, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker delivers her biggest bombshell yet!

Welcome to Black Knights Inc.
What appears to be a tricked-out motorcycle shop on the North Side of Chicago is actually headquarters for the world’s most elite covert operatives. Deadly, dangerous, and determined, they’ll steal your breath and your heart.

After a mission-gone-sideways forces Jamin “Angel” Agassi to change his identity, he’s determined to bring down the world’s worst crime syndicate kingpin once and for all. That’s going to be the easy part. Keeping Interpol agent Sonya Butler from discovering who he really is—and blazing another trail into his heart—is the challenge.

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“Angel,” she whispered, coming up for air.

The way she said Angel, with such longing and desperation, was perfect. Except it wasn’t his name. Not his real name, anyway. And the fool in him longed to throw caution to the wind and tell her the truth, if only to hear her call him Mark one last time.

Years of unquenched desire rode atop his shoulders. A decade of dirty words fell from his lips as he kissed his way back to her ear.

“Tell me you want me,” he commanded, nipping her earlobe.

The way she groaned captured him. Trapped him. Except the truth was, she’d owned him since the moment she opened her mouth beside his table at that café in Paris and asked if he was Mark Risa in sweetly accented Hebrew. He was hers. Always had been. Always would be.

Instinct was his ruler now. Instinct and the memories of all the things she liked. All the things that made her yelp and purr and beg for more. Cupping her breast through the soft cotton of her T-shirt, he thumbed over her nipple, delighted to discover the peak already ruched tight with desire.

She was as responsive as he remembered. Possibly more so.

“Tell me you want me,” he demanded again, needing to hear it. Needing her to admit it.

“I want you. God help me, I do.”

If he’d only heard the desperation in her voice, he might have kept going. Except…overshadowing that desperation were hard notes of guilt.

Reality check.

He pulled back to discover her eyes were glassy with unshed tears. Everything inside him stilled—his heart, his lungs, his blood. Everything except his mind. It raced toward a conclusion he didn’t want to face.

“Are you still crying for him?” he whispered. “This man from your past?”

“No.” She shook her head. Then shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t know. It’s just that you remind me of him sometimes. The way you walk. The way you pop your jaw. The way you kiss except…”

He wanted nothing more than to keep contact with her. But she had withdrawn from him emotionally, and the gentleman in him—a guy he rarely let out to play—demanded he withdraw from her physically. When he stepped back, breaking the connection of their bodies, it felt like everything that was important inside him stayed behind. Stayed with her.

“Except what?”

“Except you’re better at it than he was. I didn’t think that was possible,” she was quick to add. “Because he was the best. The absolute best. And yet it is possible. And I feel so…so…” She swallowed and searched his eyes. “Guilty for admitting it.”

Angel shot a victorious fist in the air. Or, at least, he imagined he did.

Couple of things here… One, good to know that for her, and up until now, he’d been the best. And two, he had learned a thing or two since the tender age of twenty-four. He looked forward to demonstrating each and every new skill.

“Sonya, you are not wrong to want me. Your man is dead.” The lie tasted sour in his mouth. God, don’t strike me down. Not now. Not yet. “But you are still living. Still breathing. You have needs.”

She frowned before ducking her chin and staring at her bare feet. He glanced down too and found, much to his delight, her toenails were painted a familiar hot pink.

So there is some of the old Sonya left

“It feels wrong to want you.” Her blond hair had fallen over her shoulders like the halves of a curtain. “I don’t even know you.”

He didn’t mistake her words. They were essentially the ones he’d given her earlier. Except the difference was that in his case, he had known he was lying.

She lifted her chin, staring into his eyes. “Why? Why do I feel this connection with you? Is it because we’re in the same boat? Because Grafton has us both by the nose?”

“I cannot say.” Another lie. The pile was becoming unwieldy. “But I can tell you I feel it too.”

He thought she would be happy to hear it, but she pressed the heel of her hand to her forehead and blew out a gusty sigh. “I’m tired. I should go to bed. We leave for Moldova in six hours.”

Whoa. What? That was it? She was going to abandon the conversation when it was getting good?

“Good night, Angel,” she said a little breathlessly.

Stay, he wanted to tell her.

No. Screw that. He didn’t want her to stay. He wanted to toss her over his shoulder, cart her upstairs, and throw her on his bed and undress her. He wanted to kiss every inch of her naked body until she begged him to put himself inside her.

Instead, he took a step back and lifted a hand, wordlessly indicating she was free to go.

It took everything he had not to reach for her when she slid past him. Instead, he satisfied himself with watching her hips sway to the feminine rhythm of her body as she walked to the end of the kitchen island. She had filled out some over the years. Not that she’d ever been stick thin. God had smiled the day he made her and blessed her with curves. But what little angularity youth had given her was gone now. Her hips were fuller. Her breasts heavier. Everything about her screamed woman.

At the doorway, she swung around, a question in her eyes.

“Was there something else?” he asked.

“I know you think I’m broken.” The misery in her voice hit him in the place where his shattered heart used to be.

Oh, Sonya. What happened to you?

He wanted so much to take her in his arms and remind her of what she once was. Of who she once was. But all he could give her was one simple truth. “The light only truly shines through people who have been broken.”

Roy Grace's latest case~ DEAD IF YOU DON'T for every lover of procedurals

New York Times and international bestselling author Peter James celebrates his newest addition to the Roy Grace series with one of his deadliest cases yet and every parent’s worst nightmare: DEAD IF YOU DON’T will pique the interest of every crime procedural reader and satisfy everyone who loves to unravel a good mystery that’s full of true-to-life characters.
Even Detective Investigator Pat Lanigan, Office of the District Attorney, NYPD said, “In my thirty-four years of policing, never have I come across a writer who so accurately depicts ‘The Job’.
 
This time around, Superintendent Roy Grace is contacted by successful businessman and compulsive gambler, Kipp Brown, and is brought in to investigate what everyone believed to be a straightforward case of kidnap.  Kipp is having the worst run of luck of his life and it only gets worse when he decides to take his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s Saturday afternoon football match. Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client, taking his eyes off his son for a few moments, and in that time, the boy disappears.  Will this be an open and shut case?  Will Roy successfully solve this mystery or will the investigation bring him into a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where rules are different and nothing is what it seems?

 

Praise for the novels of Peter James

 


“This skillful twister shows why James was awarded the 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger.”

 

Publishers Weekly *Starred  Review* on Need You Dead
“James is a master of constructing the kind of plot that twists and turns, ensnaring the reader in its grasp.”

Booklist on Love You Dead


You can read my review of YOU ARE DEAD here.

And my visit with Peter here.

If you’re a fan of procedurals, you really want to make room on you summer reading list for DEAD IF YOU DON’T.

Peter James has led quite the interesting life…

Peter James is the #1 international bestselling author of the Roy Grace thriller series. He has had 3 smash-hit play adaptations of his work, has hit #1 on the international bestseller list, and was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Before writing full time, James lived in the U.S. for a number of years, producing films including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes.
James’s novella ‘The Perfect Murder’, started its world stage premiere in 2014, and his first Roy Grace novel Dead Simple has now been adapted for stage, and toured the UK in 2015. In 1994, in addition to conventional print publishing, James’s novel Host was published on two floppy discs and is now in the Science Museum as the world’s first electronic novel.
Famed for his in-depth research, in 2009 James was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Brighton in recognition of his services to literature and the community, and in 2013 he was awarded an Outstanding Public Service Award by Sussex Police with whom he rides along regularly. He has also been out many times with the NYPD and the LAPD in the US and with many other police forces around the world, as well as doing extensive research with offenders in prisons and psychiatric institutions. He has served as two-times Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and is a board member of the US International Thriller Writers.
He has won numerous literary awards, including the publicly voted ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards People’s Bestseller Dagger in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize for Perfect People in 2012. James’s novels have been translated into thirty-six languages and three have been turned into films.
All of his novels reflect a deep interest in the world of the police, with whom he does in–depth research and has unprecedented access, as well as science, medicine and the paranormal. A speed junkie, who in his teens was selected to train for the British Olympic Ski Team, he holds an international motor racing license and switches off from work by racing his classic 1965 BMW. James divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill in London and near Brighton in Sussex. DEAD IF YOU DON’T is the 14th book in the Roy Grace series.
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ARISE FROM THE ASHES: Stories of Hope-various authors

Write Now Literary is pleased to be organizing a virtual book tour for Arise From The Ashes: Stories of Hope, Anthology. The tour will run June 26, 2018.

About The Book


Arise from the Ashes, are stories of hope from seven women from all walks of life. These women who have gone through the fire, walked in places that others dare not tread, but women who are not ashamed of their scars and willing to bare it all.

They share their journey of going from trials to triumph and pain to purpose. Arise from the Ashes is filled with inspiration, wisdom and life’s lessons from women
who have endured personal pain and have come through empowered, encouraged and victorious.

Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspiration

Meet Paulette

Visionary and Co-Author

Chapter Title: Losing To Win

Behind her smile is a woman who has learned the real meaning of endurance, faith and tenacity. Bestselling, award winning author, speaker and marketing specialist, Paulette Harper has authored several books, including her award winning novel Secret Places Revealed, and her award winning inspirational book Completely Whole.

Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, The Sacramento Observer and Real Life, Real Faith Magazine.

As an inspirational speaker, Paulette’s presentations are inspiring, enriching and encouraging. Her ability to share and connect with her audience comes from her own life’s journey and experiences. She lives her life based on her motto: Intentionally Living Life on Purpose.

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  Meet Donna

Chapter Title: Unexpected Life’s Transitions

Donna Moses passion is to pen works that will impact the hearts of readers, leading them to Christ. An avid reader, she founded Sistahs in Conversation & Sistahs in Harmony Christian Book Club.
She is a retired nurse, graduate from Sacramento Theological Seminary And Bible College, and a member of Progressive Community Church. A Links Incorporated member, Donna is also a recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award for her community involvement.

Donna lives in Northern California with her husband, Raymond. They have four adult children and nine gifted grandchildren.

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 Meet Cassietta

Chapter Title: Not Forgotten: After the Storm

Cassietta Jefferson is a contemporary Christian author, book reviewer, and blogger. She is the founder of Virtuous Ink Publishing where she seeks to provide her readers with the best in contemporary Christian literature. She earned her Bachelors of Applied Science in Healthcare Administration from Wayland Baptist University.

Cassietta currently resides in Las Vegas Nevada where she lives with her husband of twenty years, retired United States Air Force Master Sergeant Ben Jefferson Jr.

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  Meet Angie

Chapter Title: God Sees What We Cannot See

Angie Jones is passionate about prayer and called to build prayer within the local church. Since the late 1980s, she has been involved with prayer ministries through intercessory prayer as a watchman on the wall, corporate prayer, prayer walks, prayer partners, and facilitating prayer meetings and conferences. She wrote a monthly publication “The Prayer Journal” which included articles on prayer, testimonies and prayer activities.
As a co-leader of Community Prayer Conference Call connecting local churches in prayer, she leads a team of eighty-plus prayer team members and holds prayer trainings within the local church. An advocate for adoption, Angie lives in Fairfield, CA and is the mother of three adopted children.

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Meet Michele

Chapter Title: Back Down Memory Lane

Andrea Mills is a published author of several books writing under her pen name, Michele Mills. An inspirational speaker, visionary, and entrepreneur, she is the Founder and CEO of Love In Spite of Women’s Bible Fellowship, where Jesus Christ is Lord. Women’s ministry leader and Bible teacher, in 2014, Andrea launched the 1st Annual Prophetic Women’s Crusade, which was embraced by the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit, manifested through signs and wonders from God in Heaven.

Andrea resides in Northern California. The mother of two children., Adrienne, her late daughter, and a son, Andrè. She also has three grandchildren: Charnell, Ronal III, and Chase Benjamin.

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Meet Sydney 

Chapter Title: Hope Exists


Sydney Dela Torre is creative, passionate and funny. She has a heart for God that exudes in her writing. Her transparency and vulnerability are on display as she walks her audience through the fragments of her broken life so God may be glorified. Sydney has always been encouraged by others to “share her story.” From after school children’s programs to women and youth groups, her words open the window to her heart. Often witty, Sydney approaches some of life’s toughest challenges with candor, honesty and an understanding that no problem is too big for God.
Personal discoveries, as well as spiritual growth, have proven to be a source of inspiration for her writings. Her works introduce real flawed characters who overcome obstacles through Jesus. Currently penning her first fiction novel, about God’s love and grace breaking down barriers and transforming hearts, she hopes to complete it soon.
Sydney and her husband, William, reside in the breathtaking mountains of Arnold, California.

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Meet Yolando

Chapter Title: Unfailing Love

Yolando Cooksey is a published devotional author in The Upper Room magazine and was recently published in an anthology, The Short and Sweet of It: When the Right Word is a Short Word. She enjoys writing as an expression of sharing her faith and her journey of developing an intimate, personal love relationship with Jesus Christ. Although raised in a Christian home, Yolando did not discover intimacy with God until after suffering several traumatic events in her life. The experiences God allowed Yolando to go through have been her motivation and passion to mentor teen girls and women to find the true meaning of real, authentic, and unfailing love. Yolando’s foundation in Christ has been the guiding light in her writing and making a decision to return to school after retiring in 2015. Yolando is pursuing a master’s degree in Social Work with a goal to counsel at-risk youth and children in the foster system.

Yolando is a mother, grandmother, friend, and most importantly, a daughter of the Most High God. It is her dream that women truly learn who and whose they are!

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Shana Galen's AN AFFAIR WITH A SPARE & giveaway

He’s turned seduction into an art form…
Rafe Beaumont, fifth son of an earl, uses his irresistible charm with the ladies to glean dangerous war secrets. Now he’s putting those skills to the ultimate test: capturing an elusive assassin by seducing his daughter. The problem? She’s entirely immune to Rafe’s flattery.

Never before has Collette Fortier met a man as attractive as Rafe. But her father’s life is at stake, and succumbing to Rafe would be disastrous. But when Rafe turns the tables on her, offering support and friendship instead of a fleeting affair, Collette finds herself tempted in ways she never could have imagined…

“Bright, funny, poignant, and entertaining―everything historical romance fans could ask for.” ―Kirkus Reviews Starred Review for No Earls Allowed

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In this excerpt from An Affair With a Spare, former soldier and charmer Rafe Beaumont and spy Collette Fortier remove their figurative masks.

“Will you bring me here again?” she asked.

“Not if you object. I don’t enjoy standing about in cold gardens in the middle of the night, but it won’t be the worst hardship I’ve had to endure.”

She glanced about his flat, her eyes lingering on paintings and a few of the pieces he’d collected—vases, lamps, and other accoutrement. “It’s dangerous coming here,” she said.

“Because you think I will try to take you to bed?”

“Because I think you won’t.”

Rafe stared at her. Women did this sometimes. As well as he understood them, at times, they still managed to say something that flummoxed him. “I’m at sea here,” he finally admitted. “We are friends, nothing more.”

“Correct.”

“And when I proposed something more, you were not interested.”

“I was interested. I simply did not think becoming your lover a good idea.”

“And now it is?”

“Oh, definitely not.”

He gave her a long look. “My ship is sinking.”

“That’s why you’re dangerous. Because you make me want what I cannot have.”

“Oh, you can have me,” he said, rather too quickly. “What I mean is—”

She laughed. “I thought you didn’t want me anymore.”

Where the devil had she acquired that notion? She was the only woman he did want. “How could I not want you? That has never changed. If you want to change your position on the matter…”

“No. I meant only to say you tempt me. Coming here tempts me.”

“Good. I like to know I’m not the only one tempted.”

She rose, and he did the same. She linked her fingers, looking nervously about.

“What would we do were we hedgehogs, Miss Fortier?”

Her eyes widened. “I don’t—”

“Would you approach me? Would I approach you?”

“The, uh, boar pursues the sow, attempting to mount her.”

“I see. And what does the sow do?”

“She will persistently reject his advances. A high percentage of observed hedgehog courtships do not result in cop-cop—”

“Copulation?”

She nodded.

“I do wonder what tempts a hedgehog.” Before she could answer, he moved closer and placed a finger lightly over her lips. “That was a rhetorical question.”

“I wonder what tempts you,” she said shyly. “Do I tempt you now?”

Washed in the golden firelight, she was lovelier than words. And Rafe knew a lot of words to describe women. With her glossy hair piled on her head and her cheeks tinged pink by the wine and the firelight, she looked young but regal. He dared not allow his gaze to dip lower than her chin. “Immeasurably,” he murmured.

She stepped closer, and he took her hand. It felt warm and soft in his, and he lifted it to his lips and kissed her knuckles. Then, turning it over, he placed a lingering kiss on her palm. Her dark eyes turned even darker when his mouth skated up her flesh to brush against the skin at the inside of her wrist. She must have dabbed scent here because, above the clean smell of her skin, he also detected the fragrance of juniper.

His mouth explored her sensitive flesh until he found her pulse, which fluttered rapidly. She might have pulled her hand away at any time. He held it with the lightest touch, but when he slid his lips higher to the tender skin at the inside of her elbow, she trembled. Rafe’s gaze never left hers when he flicked his tongue out and tasted her flesh.

She inhaled sharply. “You are very good at this, aren’t you?” she whispered.

“If my imaginings count, I’ve had extensive experience touching you.”

“Did you ever imagine kissing my lips?”

He grinned. “Once. Or twice.”

Her free hand wrapped around his neck, sliding into his hair. He straightened and she pulled him close.

When he released her hand to wrap his arms around her, she twined her arms about his neck and looked up at him. Rafe had never wanted to kiss a woman so badly. And he’d never feared doing so before. The last time he’d tried to kiss her, she had pushed him away. What if he kissed her now and frightened her? What if the kiss ruined the friendship, and she wouldn’t see him any longer? Draven would kill him, but even worse, Rafe would lose Collette.

“Kiss me,” she said when he hesitated.

“Are you certain this is a good idea? I don’t generally kiss my friends.”

“Surely you can make an exception for me.”

“Surely.” He bent closer, then pulled back again. “But should I? This might change everything, and I do value our friendship.”

“As do I.” She pressed closer to him, and the air caught in his lungs when her breasts pushed against his chest.

“Then we stay friends,” he said, voice choked.

“Friends who have shared a kiss.”

“Yes.” He brushed his lips over hers, then jerked back again. “That’s actually a new category of friendship for me. Should we discuss its parameters before we go on?”

She sighed, sounding suspiciously frustrated. “No. Just kiss me, Rafe.” But she didn’t wait for him to comply. Instead, she rose on tiptoe and took his mouth with hers. Her lips were soft and gentle but insistent. He couldn’t have refrained from kissing her back if he’d wanted. Kissing her was as necessary in that moment as breathing. And when her mouth became more insistent, he met her demands, kissing her deeper, holding her tighter, teasing her with his mouth until he felt her tremble. He trembled as well. He’d never reacted this way to kissing a woman before. He’d always enjoyed kissing women—some more than others—but he’d never

been so moved, never felt as though he needed a woman like he needed Collette.

“I think this is enough for now,” he said, pulling back.

She blinked up at him, her brown eyes almost black. “Really?”

He ran his thumb across the satin of her cheek, marveling at the silky flesh. “I think it’s for the best.”

“And I thought it best if we continue.”

That was a rather appealing idea as well. Who the devil cared about restraint and all the rest of that rot? She was in his arms and he wanted her and she wanted him…and if he took her, he might just ruin everything. Because he was not who she thought he was.

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Jennifer Hillier's psychological thriller JAR OF HEARTS video, review, character interview, & 3 chpt excerpt

You can read 3 chapters here.

You can read Elise Cooper’s interview with character George Shaw here.

And my thoughts on JAR OF HEARTS

Jar of Hearts  

 

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .
When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.
But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.
To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.
For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.
While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.
How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it? Find out in Jennifer Hillier’s Jar of Hearts. (synopsis from Amazon)
There were parts of JAR OF HEARTS that I skimmed (I’m not that desensitized. There are still places I can’t bring myself to go), but it’s also a compelling read that made me think about so many things.
 
-How do you go on, day to day, living with guilt of that magnitude?

-Is Geo the only person Calvin, in his warped way, ever really loved? My conclusion would be a resounding yes. That in itself is creepy and scary. What about her touched him and exactly what part did it reach? Their relationship fascinated me, perhaps like an accident on the highway. You can’t help but look and wonder.

-Forgiving, is it the only way to move on? Am I capable of that depth of forgiveness?

-They say, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, and that’s so true in JAR OF HEARTS.

-Nature or nurture?  A bit of both?

-Was there any other choice? How far is too far?

-Do we ever really know what we’re capable of until we’re up against it?

My imagination is vivid enough, so I would’ve preferred less of the graphic details, but overall JAR OF HEARTS is thought provoking and compulsive. Just when you think you know, you don’t. That’s always a good thing for me.
3.5 stars

Joanne Otto's THE YOU SONG & DAUGHTER OF JERUSALEM

Write Now Literary Book Tours is pleased to be coordinating a book tour for author Joanne Otto. This is a two-month book tour for her books: The You-Song and Daughter of Jerusalem. This tour will run June- July, 2018.

                                                                      Introducing Joanne

Joanne Otto is a lifelong student of the Bible who has taken four exciting tours of Bible lands and done extensive research, including numerous courses. She has taught foreign languages and English and more recently, as an academic language therapist, has helped dyslexic children strengthen their reading and writing skills. Also a music lover and amateur pianist, she especially enjoys accompanying singers.

Website: http://joanneotto.com/

About the Book

The You-Song celebrates, in a way young children can understand, the unique and vital place each of us occupies in God’s world and encourages them to fill their place in it with joy. Written by a teacher who’s helped many children overcome reading challenges, “The You-Song” is user-friendly, consisting of words that are either familiar or easy to decode. Lavishly illustrated with nearly 50 heart-warming photos, it’s also fun to read aloud to pre-readers.

Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction

About the Book

Daughter of Jerusalem” takes its 21st-century readers on a journey back to the first-century world of a young rabbi named Yeshua—better known to us as Jesus. Mara, the young heroine of this story, gets to mingle with the crowds who come to hear him teach during his visits to Jerusalem and, finally, to meet him face to face in a brief, life-changing encounter—one that comes at no small cost to herself. For middle-grade readers who want to use the book as a springboard for deeper study, there are Bible references and questions on each chapter, as well as a glossary. For others, the story itself will be the full journey.

Genre: Christian Fiction

Purchase Link: http://amazon.com/author/joanneotto

Tour hosted by Write Now Literary Book Tours…. ” We take the stress out of promoting.”

Click here to check out our tour packages.

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Amy Sandas' THE GUNSLINGER'S VOW w/ giveaway

Three runaway brides
Determined to escape their fates

Flee West to find freedom that can only be had

in a cowboy’s arms…

Alexandra Brighton spent the last five years in Boston, erasing all evidence of the wild frontier girl she used to be. Before she settles down, she’s determined to visit her childhood home one final time. But when she finds herself stranded far from civilization, she has no choice but to trust her safety to the tall, dark and decidedly dangerous bounty hunter Malcolm Kincaid.

Now that Malcolm finally has the location his brother’s killer, he has no intention of wasting time protecting a pampered Eastern lady. But something about Alexandra speaks to the heart he long thought frozen—and her slow transformation from proper miss to wild-eyed beauty leaves him shaken. By the time they reach Montana, Malcolm must decide if seeking justice for past wrongs is worth losing a future with the woman he never expected to need…

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After knocking sharply, he lowered his chin, crossed his arms over his chest, and waited. He chose not to analyze why the idea of disturbing her sleep gave him a perverse sort of pleasure.

He was about to knock again, when the lock released and the door opened to reveal a very sleepy— and very undressed—woman blinking at him with wide blue eyes. 

“Mr. Kincaid? Is something wrong?” 

Wrong? Hellfire and damnation. Malcolm could barely think. 

The foolish woman stood there in nothing more than a white towel wrapped around her body from chest to knee. The creamy skin of her limbs and shoulders was entirely exposed, and dark hair fell in heavy waves down her back. She looked soft and feminine and too damned enticing. 

Lust swept hot and furious through him. He ground his back teeth hard to stop his body’s instant reaction to the sight of Miss Brighton in such a state. 

“What the hell are you doing opening the door like that?” Malcolm growled, glancing down the hall to make sure no one else was about. 

Her eyes grew wider as she looked down at herself. A swift blush pinkened her cheeks, and she tried to step back around the edge of the door. “I was in a deep sleep,” she explained. “I forgot I wasn’t dressed.” 

“What if it hadn’t been me knocking?” he asked angrily. 

It was probably his tone that had her lifting her chin and narrowing her gaze. “Well, it is you, isn’t it? And you still haven’t told me why you have come to bother me in the middle of the night.” 

“It’s barely ten o’clock.” 

Apparently over her embarrassment, she crossed her arms over her chest in a perfect copy of his own stance and lifted her brows in question. The action plumped the upper swells of her breasts, and Malcolm’s mouth went bone-dry. 

Forcing his attention back to her face didn’t seem to help much. Not with her eyes all soft from sleep and those lips looking so damn kissable. 

“I’ll take you to Montana,” he said abruptly, trying to shake himself free of the sensual snare he’d walked into. 

Her mouth dropped open in surprise. “You will?” 

Malcolm was tempted to back out then simply due to the strength of his unbidden desire. He did not want to entertain the idea that his attraction to her was growing stronger rather than fading. But it was the damned truth. The journey was going to be torturous in more ways than one. He had no intention of acting on the lust she inspired, but that didn’t mean he didn’t feel it, and it didn’t mean he’d always be able to hide it. 

But he couldn’t in good conscience leave her stranded. Doing so would make him no better than Lassiter, and there was no telling what manner of character she’d end up in the hands of if he wasn’t there to keep her out of trouble. 

“We do things my way,” he stated firmly. “No arguing.” 

She nodded vigorously. “Of course. Whatever you say, Mr. Kincaid.”

Malcolm narrowed his gaze. Her ready agreement was suspicious, but he’d made his decision. “Malcolm,” he muttered. 

Her eyebrows lifted in surprise. Then she smiled, and Malcolm’s gut clenched. The curve of that lower lip was going to be the death of him. 

“All right, Malcolm.” She unfolded her arms to extend her hand. “And you may call me Alexandra.” 

Malcolm knew he shouldn’t take her hand. Not there in the dark while she stood in nothing but a towel, not when desire ran rampant through his blood at the simple sight of her. But she kept her hand extended and lifted a brow as though in challenge. 

He took her hand in his, noting its softness and how easily it became folded up in his larger grip. His bicep tensed with the urge to give a quick and forceful tug so she’d tumble toward him until her breasts flattened against his chest, her thighs bumped his, and her breath spread across his throat. It’d be so easy to take her in his arms and claim her mouth. 

But she was innocent and far too trusting—not to mention way the hell out of his class—and Malcolm had never taken anything from a woman that wasn’t freely given. Miss Brighton was not for him. 

Oblivious to his train of thought, she gave a surprisingly firm handshake. Her smile never wavered as she declared, “You won’t regret this. I promise.” 

Malcom released her hand and stepped back. “Be downstairs by seven o’clock tomorrow.” 

“I will. Thank you, Malcolm.” 

“And ask who’s at your door before you open the damned thing.”

Malcolm held his position until the door closed and he heard the lock click into place. Then he stalked down the hall to his own room, taking slow breaths to rein in his body’s fierce and unwelcome craving. He’d need to see to his own relief tonight. There was no way he was going to start on the trail with that woman wound as tight as he was. 

Not if he hoped to survive the journey.

 

Lynnette Austin's MUST LOVE BABIES w/ giveaway

This baby’s not the only one in need of a cuddle…

Brant Wylder is a bachelor and loving it! He’s in Misty Bottoms, Georgia, property-hunting for his vintage car repair shop when he gets the call. His sister’s been in an accident, and Brant has to drop everything and take care of his five-month-old nephew. That’s the end of the bachelor lifestyle.

Bridal boutique owner Molly Stiles is all business all the time until she sees that Brant’s in trouble. In this Southern town, nobody ever has to go it alone. And besides, how can she resist that beautiful baby in the arms of a beautiful man…?

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Molly stood beneath a magnolia tree, her face tipped to catch the moonlight. The breath caught in his throat, and for one fanciful second, Brant imagined a mythical princess or fairy.

He shook his head. The woman was real, and he wanted a dance, wanted to hold her in his arms. A little flirting? Harmless.

Stepping out of the shadows, he made his way to her.

“Beautiful night, huh?”

“Perfect.” Slowly, she turned, a smile on her face.

“How about a dance?” 

She hesitated.

“I’m not asking for a lifelong commitment, sugar. Just a single dance under the stars. The night’s made for dancing.”

“It is, isn’t it?”

He caught her hand in his, amazed at its softness against his work-roughened one. “In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not the world’s greatest dancer, but you shouldn’t lose any toes.” He glanced at her sequined stilettos, showcased by her cocktail-length dress. “Don’t know how you even walk in those, let alone put on the miles you do, but I have to say that all mankind is grateful.”

Smiling, Molly peeked at her shoes. “They’re awesome, aren’t they?”

He nodded. “You can dance in them?”

“I could run a marathon in these.”

“Okay, then.” The moon shone through Spanish moss that dripped from the live oaks, forming a lacy pattern on the dewy grass.

Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” played over the sound system. Reaching the dance floor, Brant slid an arm around her waist and drew her in, breathed in her scent. He swung her out and brought her back in one smooth motion, felt her quick laugh in the pit of his stomach. The music slowed when the band segued into John Legend’s “All of Me,” and he drew her close.

Molly fit perfectly in his arms. She lived in Georgia and he in Tennessee, and that made her safe. And if the plans he and his brothers were working on panned out? Still nothing to worry about since she lived in Savannah. When she rested her head against his chest, he wondered if she could hear the rapid thump of his heart. Ms. Molly was hot, hot, hot.

His hand slid a little lower, and without missing a beat, she relocated it to her waist.

Molly smelled of a midnight garden with just a touch of naughty. His body responded, and he willed himself to think about something else. “How’s the city?”

“Savannah?” She shrugged. “I live in Misty Bottoms now. I opened a bridal boutique. Today’s bride was my first.” She grinned, dimples creasing her cheeks. 

The dance ended, and he reluctantly released Molly. “I’m driving back to Tennessee tomorrow.”

“Speaking of driving, thanks for taxiing the last of the rehearsal dinner’s partiers home last night. I heard they celebrated pretty hard at Duffy’s.”

“No problem.”

“I need to stop at my car before I go back inside. I left the little silver heart I attach to the bridal gown’s garment bag in my glove box.”

Brant walked beside her in the soft night air, a hand at her elbow, while the band played Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You.”

He lowered his head. “Before we call it a night, I’d love to see the rose garden our friend Cole salvaged.”

“What a mess, but after a lot of hard work it’s incredible again.”

The scent of roses surrounding them, they strolled through the yard. In the silver light of the moon, the flowers glowed and took on an almost magical, fairy-tale illusion. The house shimmered and welcomed, like the true Southern lady she was. Interlacing his fingers with Molly’s, peace enveloped Brant.

They wandered across the expanse of lawn and through the blooms in comfortable silence.

From the parking area, he heard the sound of engines starting, of tires crunching on the long drive. “Looks like it’s about time for lights-out. We’d better head back so you can finish up.”

A slight breeze caused Molly to shiver, and happy for the excuse, Brant wrapped an arm around her and pulled her a little closer, surprised when she didn’t pull away.

Reaching her yellow-and-white Mini Countryman, he made to open her door, then changed his mind, leaned in and gave her a quick kiss, one that should have been impersonal. Friendly. Instead, fire shot through him.

He pulled back, unsure whether he should be relieved or horrified that the expression on her face mirrored his own stampeding feelings. Clearing his throat, he said, “I’m taking care of a few loose ends in the morning, then heading back to Tennessee. And I already said that, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did. The kiss was nice, thanks, but you don’t need to worry. I won’t show up naked at your hotel door.”

His breath caught.

She grinned, and he understood she knew exactly the effect she was having on him.

“I—” His phone vibrated. “Whoops. Sorry, but I’d better take this. My brothers probably forgot something. Organization isn’t their strong suit. If you’ll excuse me.”

“Sure.”

“Hello? Dad?” As he spoke, he made his way to a gnarly old oak. His father’s voice was gruff, almost as if he’d been crying. Panic grabbed Brant by the throat. “What’s wrong?

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COWBOY SEAL REDEMPTION & giveaway w/ Nicole Helm

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Jack Armstrong’s been slowly piecing his life back together after a career-ending injury bounced him from the SEALs. The only trouble is, his family’s on their way to his new haven in Montana…and Jack refuses to let them know he’s still hurting. Desperate, he makes a deal with local bad girl Rose Rogers: in exchange for some extra security, she’ll play the perfect loving girlfriend.  

Rose doesn’t trust any man, much less some tough-as-nails former SEAL. But the more they settle into their ruse, the more things start to feel real, and the more Rose’s true fear surfaces—that she’ll never be good enough for love. But Jack isn’t about to lose Rose. He’s done running when things get tough, and he’s determined to prove—once and for all—that even the most troubled hearts can find their way to redemption.

Three former Navy SEALs 

Injured in the line of duty

Desperate for a new beginning…

Searching for a place to call their own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No man had ever held her close like this. Like you just held a person because you woke up together. And okay, maybe she’d never really spent the night with a guy. The few times she’d allowed herself to be charmed into sex, she’d always vamoosed either once the act was done or once the guy dozed off. 

She didn’t stay. She didn’t do it again. And she did not, God forbid, cuddle. Someone holding her was supposed to be stifling. It was supposed to feel awkward. She was supposed to want to make fun of an act as soft and pointless as this. 

Mostly she wanted to cry again and stay here forever. What was this man doing to her? And why him? Was it the scars—internal and external? The sob story? Or just those eyes? 

“Do you have nightmares?” he asked out of nowhere. 

She shifted in his arms. “Why would I have nightmares?” 

He kissed her bare shoulder. “PTSD.” 

“Hate to break it to you, sailor, but I never went to war.” 

“You survived your own hell,” he said so matter-of-factly, she couldn’t even think up a response. “War isn’t the only thing that stamps itself on you, and death isn’t either. You know, when I was in the rehabilitation center, someone told me foster kids suffer from PTSD at a higher rate than military veterans.” 

“What asshole said that to you while you were in a rehabilitation center?” 

He shrugged. “Mike.” 

“I’d like to wring that little fucker’s neck.” 

Jack’s mouth curved into a smile. “I’d rather you didn’t. My mother likes you, but she wouldn’t approve of that.” 

“Your sister likes me too.” Which she shouldn’t have said or even thought. What did it matter what his family thought? It was a fake like, for a fake her…but she liked them in return. 

Except Dick Bag Mike. 

“My sister worships you and might not care if you wring Mike’s neck.” 

She laughed. Oh, damn him for having half a charming family. Vivian was adorable, and his parents were… 

Well, she didn’t want to think about how lovely they were. 

“You had your own trauma, Rose. I just wondered if it still bothered you. Nightmares. Panic attacks. I’ve done it all, so…” 

Trauma. As though she were a victim. She had been, in a sense, but not like her sisters. They’d all looked after each other. They had put each other first at great risk to themselves. Only Rose had ever taken their father’s teachings to heart. 

Always look out for number one. 

“Just tell me the truth,” he said, and it was all gentle and impossible to fight him off. 

The truth. She didn’t want to acknowledge the truth, but lying to Jack seemed so impossible. “S-sometimes. I’ve had nightmares. Rarely, but sometimes.” 

“Mine have gotten fewer ever since I started talking. I told my sister I loved her last night.” He paused, rubbing his lightly stubbled chin against her temple. “I don’t think I’ve ever done that. And it was something. Telling Madison how much she hurt me changed something. I’ve still got scars, Geiger is still dead, Madison is still married to my brother, but…” 

“But what?” 

“See, that’s the thing. There didn’t used to be a but. It was a list of horrible, dark things, and it ended there. Everything was awful. Now? I still feel beat down by those things, by those hurts and scars, but…there’s a but. There’s more.” 

She wanted to cry. For him. Because of him. She knew what it was like to have a but. Her sisters had always been that. It was so strange to realize that, over the past year as her sisters had been building their lives, she’d lost that but for herself. 

She had her bar, her power, and her freedom. It should have been enough, but the list of bleak was holding her down, and she didn’t know how to be as brave as Jack and believe in a but. 

“I’m not your happy ending, Jack,” she rasped. 

“I don’t believe in happy endings anymore, Rose. Maybe I never did. I do know we don’t get what we deserve, and hard work doesn’t always pay off. That doesn’t change the beauty and hope of having a but.” He smiled then, so open and perfect and beautiful. “I care about you, Rose.” A gesture she didn’t deserve. 

“I wish you wouldn’t,” she whispered. 

“I know.” He sighed and brushed his lips across hers, light and quick. “I have to go do my chores before the family wakes up. Why don’t you come with me?” 

“Come with?” 

“Yeah, you can watch me do manly chores, we can eat breakfast with my family, and then you can head home and get some rest before you have to open the bar.” 

She should refuse, stop diving deeper into this thing that was going to end so very badly if she let him get more attached. 

If you let yourself get more attached. 

“Say yes,” he murmured against her neck, nuzzling there. 

And she was a very, very stupid woman, because that’s exactly what she said