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What would their heroines do w/ Lisa Renee Jones, Melinda Leigh, and Elisabeth Naughton

This month bestselling authors Lisa Renee Jones, Elisabeth Naughton, and Melinda Leigh are each releasing thrilling romantic suspense novels. But while they write in the same genre, you can expect very different stories.

Lisa kicks off her new Lilah Love series with a bang in Murder Notes. When copycat murders plague her hometown, FBI profiler Lilah Love is sent to investigate. But she returns to find hidden secrets from her past aren’t staying hidden and the danger swirling around her is just beginning.

Elisabeth continues her RITA award Deadly Secrets series with ProtectedFashion designer Kelsey McClane rolls her eyes when her overprotective brothers saddle her with a bodyguard while she is on a press tour, however, she’s more than thankful to have former Army Ranger Hunter O’Donnell on her side when a deadly explosion hits too close to home.

Morgan Dane is back in Melinda Leigh’s unforgettable new story Bone’s Don’t Lie. In this outing Morgan stands by her man as Lance attempts to unearth the secrets of his father’s decades old murder. Morgan quickly realizes that just because the case is cold, doesn’t mean the original killer isn’t out for more blood.

Interested in learning more about these books? Continue reading as the Lisa, Elisabeth, and Melinda play a not-always-nice game of “What Would Your Heroine Do?” that will give you an inside look at their characters and enter the giveaway to win copies of the authors’ full series.

What would your heroine do if she feels like someone is following her, yet she can’t prove it?

Lisa: Well funnily enough in the first book of my Lilah Love series, Murder Notes, Lilah is being followed, but she can prove it as her stalker is quite blatant and goading with their practices. However, if Lilah couldn’t prove it, she would probably cuss a blue streak, as she’s prone to do, and make herself bait in order to lure her stalker out. She’s definitely not afraid of any danger, she is an FBI agent after all, and she loves nothing more than to best someone at their own game.

Elisabeth: This actually happens in Protected! I don’t want to give too much away, but Kelsey would definitely turn to someone she trusts for help. In this case…Hunter O’Donnell…the hero of Protected.

Melinda: The first thing Morgan would do is determine if she was actually being followed. She’d make some turns then see if the car was still behind her. If it was, she would never drive home and lead a potential stalker to her family. Instead, she’d head somewhere public and call PI Lance Kruger. Together, they’d try to trap whoever was following her.


What would your heroine do if the man in her life was injured and in the hospital?

Elisabeth: Freak out. LOL Actually I think her reaction is dependent on how and when he was injured and whether she thinks she’s somehow responsible.

Lisa: Lilah’s man, Kane, is forbidden fruit. He brings out her dark side. He’s on the wrong side of the law. He helped her do something very bad and she wants to blame him, but really blames herself. She can’t really be with him but she loves him. If he were hurt, she’d try to play it cool. She would put on a strong face at first, but she would go to Kane and the minute he catches her showing that she cares, he’d point it out. He’d make her admit it. She’d, in turn, deny her feelings and tell him in no uncertain terms that he’s screwed with her schedule and he better not f-ing do it again. She’d tell him she hates him for making her worry but that means she loves him, and he knows it, too. She’d try to go after his enemy, and Kane, would go after her.

Melinda: Since, Lance frequently gets himself into trouble, Morgan has some experience with this. She is protective and loyal and always wants to be by his side.


What would your heroine do if she receives an anonymous text accusing her of committing a heinous crime?

Elisabeth: Kelsey would be shocked first. Then become angry and want to track down the sender of the text.

Melinda: Having been stalked in the past, Morgan takes threats seriously. She would want to find out who sent her this text. She would try to trace the phone number, enlisting the help of experienced investigator Lincoln Sharp or computer whiz Jenny Kruger if necessary. In the meantime, she’d be extra vigilant — and so would Lance.

Lisa: In the opening Duet that launches the Lilah Love Series, Lilah isn’t getting text messages, but rather notes, left for her. They are very “I Know What You Did Last Summer” since she really did something bad. She isn’t one to be played with though, so Lilah goes on the attack, seeking out her note writer.


What would your heroine do if she wins a surprise trip to a faraway tropical island?

Melinda: Single mom Morgan has not had a vacation in ages. She’d talk her sister into babysitting her three kids and pack her bags! Or… could she save the trip as a potential future honeymoon?

Lisa: I don’t think I can picture Lilah on a vacation, she’s such a workaholic! But as far as her response to winning it, she’d probably say she has far too many dead bodies to deal with and then handoff the winnings to someone else.

Elisabeth: Kelsey is skeptical of everything so I’m pretty sure she’d assume the surprise trip was a scam.


What would your heroine do if she has the choice to confront someone threatening her?

Elisabeth: The answer to this really depends on whether this confrontation happens at the before Protected or after. Kelsey’s journey through the book is really one of empowerment. At the start of Protected I don’t see her being confrontational with someone threatening her, but by the end she really comes into her own. She’s never going to be a kick-ass heroine like some of my other heroines, but she can definitely take care of herself.

Melinda: Morgan comes from a law enforcement family. Her father and grandfather, both former cops, taught her to defend herself when she was young. She would rather not get into a physical altercation unless it was absolutely unavoidable. She prefers to talk her way out of trouble. That said, she carries a gun and knows how to use it.

Lisa: Lilah does this on a daily, if not hourly basis. She sometimes even provokes the threat, so her response would be colorful, as are all of her responses, with a hint of condescending humor and her own threat in return.

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About the Authors

Before topping multiple bestseller lists—including those of the New York TimesUSA Today, and the Wall Street Journal—Elisabeth Naughton taught middle school science. A voracious reader, she soon discovered she had a knack for creating stories with a chemistry of their own. The spark turned into a flame, and Naughton now writes full-time. Her books have been nominated for some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, such as the RITA and Golden Heart Awards from Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Readers Award, and the Golden Leaf Award. When not dreaming up new stories, Naughton can be found spending time with her husband and three children in their western Oregon home. Protected is the third book in her Deadly Secrets series, following Gone and Repressed, which was a 2017 RITA winner in romantic suspense. Learn more about Elisabeth at


Lisa Renee Jones is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the highly acclaimed Inside Out series; the Dirty Money series; the White Lies duet; the Tall, Dark, and Deadly series; and The Secret Life of Amy Benson series. Murder Notes is the first book in the Lilah Love series. Visit her at


Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A lifelong lover of books, she started writing as a way to pre­serve her sanity when her youngest child entered first grade. During the next few years, she joined Romance Writers of America, learned a few things about writing a novel, and decided the process was way more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, She Can Run, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. She’s also garnered Golden Leaf and Silver Falchion awards, along with nominations for a RITA and three Daphne du Maurier Awards. Her other novels include She Can TellShe Can ScreamShe Can HideShe Can KillMidnight ExposureMidnight SacrificeMidnight BetrayalMidnight ObsessionHour of NeedMinutes to KillSeconds to LiveSay You’re Sorry, and Her Last Goodbye. She holds a second-degree black belt in Kenpo karate; teaches women’s self-defense; and lives in a messy house with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs, and two rescue cats. You can learn more about the author at

Ashlyn Chase's HOOKED ON A PHOENIX excerpt & giveaway



Misty Carlisle works as a bank teller in Boston’s financial district. She’s had more rotten luck in her life than most, except when her childhood crush shows up to cash his paycheck. Then her heart races and her mouth goes dry.  

Gabe Fierro is a firefighter—and a phoenix. Like his brothers, his biggest challenge is finding a woman open-minded enough to accept a shapeshifter into her life. When his boyhood friend asks him to watch over his little sister Misty, he reluctantly agrees. But when the bank where she works gets held up, Gabe does everything he can to protect her. The two of them end up locked in the bank’s vault…where things get steamier than either of them ever imagined.

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Misty’s party didn’t break up until after midnight, so she wasn’t surprised when she woke to the sting of the fully risen sun. She sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. The evening came flooding back, especially the part where Gabe made a quick appearance and disappeared like a magician in a cloud of panic.
Her friends apologized and giggled and wanted to run after him, but thank goodness, she talked them out of that.
He would have been mortified. Correction, more mortified. “Should I call him? I was waiting for him to come to me,” she muttered to herself. Well, he’d done that.
He wandered out to the kitchen and made her morning coffee. Her one splurge was good coffee. She’d bought one of those special French presses that made two cups of strong, dark Kona roast. She needed it this morning.
As she waited for the water to boil, she tried to phrase what she would say. Hey, Gabe… Was that you who barely escaped with your underwear last night? She couldn’t help giggling. Maybe she could tease him, saying he could have a part-time job delivering strippergrams.
She shook her head, picturing the big somber guy he’d become handling any of that well. He would probably stammer and change the subject. How had he become so serious? She didn’t remember him that way.
He was always on the quiet side, but with Parker, he was able to talk and laugh. She guessed that in a family of nine, somebody had to be quiet.
But it’s not like he needs to be with me. Well, whatever she said, it had to happen soon. If she
let it go, it would look like she hadn’t cared what her friends did. If the shoe were on the other foot, he’d be right there apologizing for his friends—probably after he knocked down anyone who touched her. That made her smile…then wonder at herself. She certainly wouldn’t want to inspire anyone to violence. But it would be nice to know he cared. A little.
She sighed deeply and finished making her coffee. After a few fortifying sips, she located her phone. On her way to her closet, she realized she had forgotten to charge it. “I guess that dumb landline will come in handy after all, Parker.”
She felt a little foolish talking to her brother as if he were in the room instead of far away. What to tell him had also been weighing on her mind. The tests weren’t looking good. She’d been told there were lesions and she should see a specialist. They needed to know if the disease was active or not.
The disease. Yeah. They’d ruled out everything except MS. They hadn’t made it official yet, but it seemed only a matter of time before they ran out of other tests and explanations.
Suddenly, she felt ill. Nausea was an early symptom, but she hadn’t had that one yet. Chills invaded her, and a sweat broke out on her forehead. She dashed for the bathroom and made it to the toilet bowl just in time. Last night’s pizza made a reappearance along with a lot of pink fluid. Ugh. Too much wine. It must have been the wine.
When she was able to get up, she brushed her teeth viciously, trying to get every crevice and taste bud clean. Then she dressed in jeans and a sweater, her usual Sunday morning attire. Even if she did feel like going to church, which she didn’t, she could go like this. No one got all dressed up at the church she belonged to. Boy, am I feeling lazy.
“Well, I have to call him,” she said and strolled to the living room where she kept the landline on an end table.
After a couple of rings, Gabe answered. “Misty?”
“Yeah, hi. Sorry about last night. Are you okay?”
He laughed. “I’m fine. It was flattering in a bizarre way.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re looking at it like that. I’m really sorry for my friends. When we all get together, we can act a little…wild.”
“You probably needed to go a little wild.”
She relaxed. “I did. But I wasn’t feeling too great this morning. I didn’t think I had that much to drink, but I must have. Oh well. Live and learn.”
“Are you feeling okay now?”
“Yeah. Perfectly fine.”
“Good. Would you like some company?”
Her brows shot up. “Seriously?” That popped out before she had a chance to think it through. Of course she wanted his company!
“Unless you’re busy,” he added.
“No. I was just planning on having a lazy, do-nothing day. I’d welcome your company.”
“Okay. Maybe I’ll bring a board game. Do you still like Risk?”
“You’re kidding. You still have that?”
“Yup. We’re Yankees, Misty. Perfectly good games aren’t thrown away, even if nobody plays with them much. You know the Yankee motto…”
“Yeah, I’ve heard it. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Okay then. Bring it. I guess you got over your aversion to taking a risk?” She almost slapped her hand over her mouth. Did I just say that? Way to sabotage yourself again, Misty.
After a brief pause, he said in a quiet voice, “I might be getting there.”
After he hung up, she ran around like a demon, cleaning up after the party, vacuuming, dusting, and paying special attention to the bedroom. By the time he got there, she was pooped.

Stefanie London's BAD BACHELOR Feature & giveaway

They stopped beside a black car with tinted windows. Out of nowhere, a driver appeared and opened the door for them. Darcy suddenly felt underdressed, which was stupid since they were only going for a ride.

“So tell me: What’s so appealing about Five-Star Darren?” Reed asked as they slid into the back seat. A
glass partition separated them from the driver.

“None of your business.” Oh God, they were not having this conversation. Not while a billion dirty thoughts were driving her to distraction. Damn him, why did he have to mention sex?

Her hormones hadn’t been this rowdy since high school. But the second he got close and his clean, warm scent invaded her nostrils, it was like the sexy bits of her body started doing tequila shots.

“Oh come on, you can trust me. I might even be able to give you some advice.” His brown eyes twinkled.
They were framed by full, thick lashes—the kind of lashes that had no business being on a man.

God, they were far too close in the back seat of the car. Her bare leg was mere inches from his, and the scent of his aftershave invaded her nostrils. It was crisp, clean, with a hint of citrus.

Damn delectable.

“You were late today,” she blurted out, hoping the abrupt change in conversation might steer him away from delving into her nonexistent dating life—and perhaps jolt her brain into not focusing on how good he smelled.

“Half an hour late and I was sitting there, waiting.”

“My meeting ran over and my phone died. I could have gone back to the office to email you, but that
would have meant being later than I already was.” He reached for a bottle of water that sat in a compartment in the door. When he offered her one, she shook her head. “I apologize for keeping you waiting.”

“Thank you. I appreciate it.”

“Now, back to your dating life—”

“No. We’re not having this conversation.” She held up a hand. “Besides, why do you care?”

“Because, after careful deliberation, I’ve decided that you are interesting.”

“Gee, thanks.” Darcy snorted. “I’ll pass on that so-called compliment.”


“You do know ‘interesting’ is usually a code word for ‘weird,’ right? It’s not much better than telling a girl she has a great personality.”

“What’s that a code for?”


He brought the water bottle to his mouth and sipped. Full lips hinted at sinful activities and Darcy tried to quash the flutter low in her belly. He probably knew exactly what to do with his lips too.
Stop it.

“You are interesting…in the non–code word sense. Even if you do think I’m a jerk. And Five-Star
Darren would be a terrible match, for what it’s worth.”

Curiosity tugged at her. She knew nothing about the dating world, and it was clear he was well experienced. Surely there wouldn’t be any harm in gleaning some information from him…for research purposes, of course.

“Why’s that?” she asked.

“All these women have rated him highly, yet they haven’t stayed with him. Why would that be?”

“I don’t know.” She frowned. “Maybe it just wasn’t the right time.”

“For all those women?”

Okay, so that did sound a bit suspicious when he put it like that. “But the reviews—”

“What do the reviews say?”

She pulled up Darren’s profile on the app and scanned down the page. “‘Great guy but the timing wasn’t
right.’” She shot him a smug look. “See? Told you.”

“Keep reading.”

“He’s a total gentleman, but they didn’t have many common interests. Uh, another one says their jobs made dating too hard but that he was a nice person. Apparently, he’s romantic, but there wasn’t enough spark.” Darcy kept scrolling. “He’s kind and funny, a great conversationalist. I can’t see any red flags here.”

“He’s got a small dick.”

Darcy almost choked. “Excuse me?”

Reed shrugged. “Or he doesn’t know how to make a woman come.”

“Stop,” she hissed, the heat flushing through her body in a way that was entirely too pleasurable. Totally, totally inappropriate. “You can’t say that.”

“Why not? It’s just sex. And sometimes you have to look at what people aren’t saying to understand what they are.” He nodded. “Words can be unreliable like that.”

Darcy shook her head and stuffed her phone into her bag. This conversation had shot out of her comfort
zone. Like a whole solar system out of her comfort zone. Listening to Reed talk about sex was… God, she didn’t even know. Her imagination was serving up all kinds of dirty scenarios, but she tamped them down.

Reed was off-limits.

Not only because of the bad reviews, but also because it was clear he could run circles around her verbally. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind that he would do the same thing in the bedroom.

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Everybody’s talking about the hot new app reviewing New York’s most eligible bachelors. But why focus on prince charming when you can read the latest dirt on the lowest-ranked “Bad Bachelors”—NYC’s most notorious bad boys?

If one more person mentions Bad Bachelors to Reed McMahon, someone’s gonna get hurt. A PR whiz, Reed is known as an ‘image fixer’ but his womanizing ways have caught up with him. What he needs is a PR miracle of his own.

When Reed strolls into Darcy Greer’s workplace offering to help save the struggling library, she isn’t buying it. The prickly Brooklynite knows Reed is exactly the kind of guy she should avoid. But the library does need his help. As she reluctantly works with Reed, she realizes there’s more to a man than his reputation. Maybe, just maybe Bad Bachelor #1 is THE one for her.

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Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romances with humor, heat, and heart. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Stefanie now lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband. She loves to read, collect lipsticks, watch zombie movies and drink coffee. Her bestselling book, Pretend It’s Love, was a 2016 Romantic Book of the Year finalist with the Romance Writers of Australia. You can visit her at

Find Stefanie Online:

Website        Facebook      Twitter        Goodreads       Instagram      YouTube


And, get the latest dirt on Bad Bachelor #1 at the site!   

Rita Herron's PRETTY LITTLE KILLERS Spotlight


The predators become prey in a breathless novel of revenge from a USA Today bestselling author.

Still haunted by his wife’s murder—and stained by the blood of avenging it—FBI special agent Hatcher McGee can’t believe he’s being teamed up with rookie agent Korine Davenport. She is his most guilty secret—the one-night stand who almost cost him everything.

Korine has her own demons. As a child, she witnessed her father’s murder, and she’s spent her life waiting for the killer’s return. She and Hatcher are both looking for closure, but the disturbing case that draws them together could be their last.

When the mutilated body of a corrupt Savannah judge surfaces, Hatcher and Korine find themselves on the trail of a vigilante who is showing no mercy. Not for the predators who’ve gone free. And not for anyone who gets in the way.

As the body count rises, and as Hatcher’s and Korine’s own pasts unfold, they must risk their lives tracking a killer they’ve come to understand all too well. After all, the ends justify the means.  Amazon


USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Rita Herron fell in love with books at the ripe age of eight when she read her first Trixie Belden mystery. Although she wanted to be a writer then and actually scrawled her first novel at age twelve, she didn’t think real people grew up to be writers, so she became a kindergarten teacher instead. Twenty years ago, she traded her classroom storytelling and puppets for a computer and now writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job.

Having sold over ninety books to date, she enjoys spinning spine-tingling romantic susp tales filled with murder, mayhem, and spicy romance as well as sexy romantic comedies. Rita Herron currently writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue and she’s writing dark, gritty romantic suspense thrillers for Amazon Montlake.                                    
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Featuring Beverley Oakley's THE ACCIDENTAL ELOPEMENT

Hi Ivy, and thanks for having me here.
In my previous story, Devil’s Run, the two seven-year-olds, Jack and Katherine, stole my heart, I must admit. Katherine is the daughter of aristocratic parents while Jack is from the foundling home and comes to the estate as playmate to Katherine’s bullying cousin, George. While Katherine is naughty and likes to make Jack do her bidding, Jack is good natured but very ethical – unlike George. When they meet as adults, the interplay of these three characters causes a lot of angst before happiness is achieved – for all of them, in fact.
Bullying is a theme in The Accidental Elopement and I’ve tried to show the repercussions within the conventions of a Regency romance.
In the following extract, Jack and Katherine meet having not seen one another since they were twelve years old. Jack is about to leave for the West Indies to make his fortune while Katherine is excited by the social whirl and intends to make a fine marriage during her first London season.
Falling in love with each other is extremely inconvenient for both of them.
The Accidental Elopement by Beverley Oakley

A seven-year secret. A tragic misunderstanding. Can love outwit fate in this tale of misadventure and thwarted dreams?

Earl Quamby’s niece, Katherine, and Jack, a foundling home lad adopted by a local family, have been loyal friends for as long as they can remember.

As Jack is about to leave England to make his fortune and Katherine is being courted by two eligible suitors, they unexpectedly realise their friendship has blossomed into passionate love. A love, they are warned, that has no future.

Despite a brave attempt to defy the forces keeping them apart, tragedy results and the pair is separated.

When chance throws them together seven years later, Katherine, newly widowed, is being pressured into a marriage not of her choosing to avoid scandal and Jack feels he must honour his pledge to the worthy Odette whom he met in India and whose father is dying.

Katherine knows that revealing a long-held secret may win Jack to her but she also knows conflicting obligations from past and present may tear him apart.

Can master matchmakers, Fanny, Antoinette and Bertram Brightwell, outwit fate in its latest attempt to keep these star-crossed lovers apart and deliver them the happiness they deserve?

This is Book 4 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series but it can be read as a stand-alone.

It was as black as a dungeon, here. No candle sconces lit up this part of the house.

Katherine took another cautious step through the darkness, her hands upon the cool plastered walls guiding her away from the lively strains of the polka she’d narrowly avoided having to dance with George. 

She wasn’t frightened of the dark. No one had ever accused Katherine of being fainthearted.

Yet she did squeal with surprise when, turning a corner, her progress was suddenly impeded by a very large object and, with no warning at all, she found herself flying through the air, landing with a painful jarring of her wrists upon the cold, hard flagstones.

“Good Lord!” came a disembodied young male voice in the dark before a groping hand located a piece of Katherine—a carefully arranged ringlet of hair—which caused her to shriek even louder when it was quite unnecessarily tugged. Whether this was to establish who or what she was, she had no idea, and perhaps neither did the tugger, for immediately a profound apology was issued before the groping hand was operating with complete abandon in the dark.

This time it found Katherine’s breast just as the voice said in tones of utter mortification, “Forgive me! Are you hurt? Here, let me help you. That’s what I was trying to do, I promise. I didn’t realise you were on the ground. Take my hand. Really, I can’t apologise enough.”

Katherine had made one unsuccessful attempt to stand, but it was a struggle in her flounced skirt and multiple corded petticoats. She swatted away the supposedly helping hand and hissed something unintelligible—somehow unladylike language seemed less of an offence when she couldn’t see to whom she was speaking.

But when the disembodied groping hand entered her orbit once more, in fact brushing the bare flesh above her garter and getting in a good squeeze of her thigh flesh, her temper, which had never been one of her strong points, snapped, and she lashed out with a sharp slice through the inky air.

A loud yelp made her realise she’d perhaps been a little peremptory and certainly too violent in this unladylike action, and even though she felt disinclined to apologise, she did say, ungraciously, “I’m sorry I hit you, but a lady can only take so much of all this groping in the dark. I mean…what were you doing?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” came the response, now at ear level. In fact, she could feel the soft whisper of breath against her cheek, which made her step back, saying, “I asked first.”

“I was chasing a cat. Bending down, in fact. And then suddenly something crashed into me. Or on top of me.”

“That was me.”

“Yes, of course it was you. There’s no one else here, is there?”

Katherine bridled at his tone. She was unused to being spoken to as if she were at fault when, in this case, she most certainly wasn’t. “I think that’s a very rude response,” she told him. “Just as it was very thoughtless of you to crouch down where anybody could simply crash into you.”

“Anybody—or rather, anybody else—would be carrying a candle. I think I have every reason to be deeply suspicious of the motives of anyone who is not.”

“Well, you don’t have a candle. And I would suspect the truth of anyone hiding away in the dark, claiming they were crouching over an imaginary cat,” huffed Katherine. “In fact, I’d wager there was no cat here at all. No, you were sneaking away from something, weren’t you?”

“And if I was, what business is it of yours? Whoever you are.”

Katherine could not imagine the audacity. “I could ask the same question. You certainly are no gentleman to speak to a lady in that fashion.”

“Since that lady hasn’t bothered to declare herself, I think I could be forgiven.”

“A gentleman would have declared himself first,” Katherine said hotly. “What were you sidling away from? There’s a noisy ball going on in the next room. If you were a gentleman, wouldn’t you be gallantly asking the ladies to dance instead of hiding in the dark? Perhaps there’s someone you’re afraid of seeing? A lady who has expectations of you behaving towards her as a gentleman.” Katherine said this triumphantly before elaborating on her theme. “My guess is that you’ve given some poor young lady the idea that you’ll dance with her all night, and now you’ve changed your mind and are sneaking away.”

“Since you put forward the idea, I’d suggest the reason you’re here is exactly the same. You’re trying to sneak away from a gentleman to whom you’ve already promised two dances. Meanwhile he, poor fellow, is searching for you vainly in the ballroom while you’re here making a mockery of him.”

“He can do that all by himself,” Katherine sniffed. “But I never promised him anything, and I never will.”

“Ha! I was right.” He sounded very pleased with himself. “Well, I feel sorry for this chap without even seeing what you look like, miss. Poor fellow!”

“Poor fellow, indeed. George can pine til the cows come home. I’d even suffer talking to you than have to spend another five minutes with his sweating hands squeezing mine and his moon eyes boring into me…and his horrible, putrid breath choking me and his—”

“Poor George! I was just starting to feel sorry for him until you described the exact George I, too, am so at pains to avoid tonight.” The voice became more confidential, and the mood relaxed.

Katherine crossed her arms and waited for him to speak for she was rather interested in his George, and then quite amused when the voice began to describe the very George against whom she railed.

“Well, you have described my cousin to a very fine point,” she laughed. “And if you are as well acquainted with him as you seem to be, then you obviously know exactly why I am here in the dark.”

There was a small silence. And then, “Your cousin?”

“In my family, there are two Georges: Young George who is the son of my aunt and her husband, Lord Quamby, and Odious George who is his uncle, George Bramley.”

“Then we’re talking about the same George!” The voice sounded stunned.

A quick gasp from both of them was followed up by a delighted cry in unison.



Beverley Oakley is an Australian author who grew up in the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho, married a Norwegian bush pilot she met in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and started writing historical romances to amuse herself in the 12 countries she’s lived as a ‘trailing spouse’ (in between working as an airborne geophysical survey operator, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and writing for her former newspaper).

Her Scandalous Miss Brightwell series was nominated Best Historical Romance by the Australian Romance Readers Association.

Beverley Oakley's DEVIL'S RUN Feature

Devil’s Run

A rigged horse race – with a marriage and a lost child riding on the outcome.

This is book 3 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwells series, though it can be read as a stand-alone.

Can the matchmaking Brightwell sisters avoid scandal and disaster as they try to rescue two tortured souls and unite their passionate hearts?

When Miss Eliza Montrose’s extraordinary bravery wins her the respect of matchmaking queens Fanny and Antoinette Brightwell, the sisters and their bumbling brother decide they must find a worthier suitor for the young woman they’d initially disliked.

But Eliza has her own reasons for agreeing to marry their odious cousin. Reasons that have nothing to do with love!

When handsome, honorable horse owner Rufus Patmore proves Eliza’s perfect match, the Brightwells secretly hatch a plan that involves their cousin and a
horse called Devil’s Run riding in the East Anglia Derby. A horse that is suddenly and unexpectedly inherited by Eliza.

Despite having acted with the best of intentions, the Brightwells discover that fixing the outcome of the race has unintended consequences.

Book 1: Rake’s Honour (Just an FYI, the Kindle version is free for a limited time)
Book 2: Rogue’s Kiss
Book 3: Devil’s Run
Book 4: The Accidental Elopement (preorder now)

What the reviewers say:
“Very intriguing Austen-esque novel with well-developed characters and story line. The best historical romance novel I’ve read in a while.” ~ Amazon reviewer
I started writing Devil’s Run because I couldn’t stop thinking about the infant with the sixth finger who was discovered in the basket in front of the foundling hospital in the previous book, Rogue’s Kiss. There’d only been a brief mention of the mother who was clearly from a good family being forced by an older woman to leave her young son in the basket and this happens in the first scene in Rogue’s Kiss (book 2), as she snatches her child from the basket and runs in front of the carriage in which Thea, my heroine, is travelling – thus setting up the meeting with Thea and her hero in that story. (The child, Jack, features only briefly in later pages of Rogue’s Kiss.)
After finishing Rogue’s Kiss, though, I began to wonder who this young woman was, and whether she’d ever be reunited with her child. Obviously, the answer had to be that she would, but the challenge was bringing her into the orbit of my Brightwell family – two matchmaking sisters and their sinister, conniving cousin George – around whom the story revolves.
Thus, Devil’s Run begins with the self-contained Eliza Montrose visiting Quamby House where Matchmaking Queens Fanny and Antoinette Brightwell – who’ve made rags-to-riches marriages – live.
Fanny and Antoinette dislike her initially for being boring until she spectacularly rescues some children from drowning. This is when Eliza realises that one of these children – on account of his 6th finger – is her lost son. And that’s why she’s motivated to marry awful, conniving Cousin George so she can be close to her secret son. Fanny and Antoinette are determined that Eliza’s too good for George, and of course Eliza’s past and her motivations for marrying George are very secret, but when the Brightwells set up a matchmaking scheme with the very honourable Rufus Patmore who’s arrived to buy a horse, the real action begins.
Here’s an excerpt:

Chapter One

“And there’s nothing else you’d like, my dear? No?” George Bramley found it an effort to keep the syrup in his tone as he straightened up after receiving the polite rebuff.

His bride-to-be had not even looked at him as she’d declined the piece of marchpane he’d been certain would win him at least a smile.

Hovering at her side, he weighed up the advantages of a gentle rebuke, then decided against it. Until yesterday, he’d thought her quiet demeanour suggested a charmingly pliant nature. Now, he was not so sure. In fact, suddenly, he was not sure of anything.

“A glass of lemonade perhaps, my angel? Or a gentle stroll?”

“I would prefer to be left alone.” Miss Montrose waved a languid hand, while she continued to gaze at the still lake beside which their picnic party had situated itself.

George blinked and tried to mute his anger. The languid hand wave had not even been accompanied by a demure thank you as subtle acknowledgement of her gratitude, that not only had Mr Bramley, heir to a viscountcy, stepped in to rescue Miss Eliza Montrose from impoverishment, he was prepared to treat her publicly as if she were as fine a catch as he could have made.

A soft titter brought his head round sharply, but the ladies behind him, bent over the latest Ackerman’s Repository, appeared occupied with their own gossip as they lounged on cushions beneath the canopy that had been erected to protect them from the sun.

Awkwardly, he looked for occupation as he continued to eye his intended with a mixture of irritation and desire—both lustful desire, and the desire to put her in her place.

The idea of the latter made him harden. She was beautiful, this quiet, apparently retiring, young woman who said so little, but whose eyes spoke such volumes. The afternoon sun added a rich gloss to her hair and imbued her porcelain skin with a warm glow. The skin that he could see at any rate.

He pushed back his shoulders. On their wedding night in three weeks, when he’d at last taken possession of her, he’d rip that modesty to shreds. The skin she was so at pains to hide would be his, not only to see, but to caress and taste. When she was his wife, the beautiful, distant Miss Eliza Montrose would no longer get away with paying George Bramley so little attention. No, he’d have her screaming and writhing at his command. He would make her like the things he did to her, or at least show him she did if she enjoyed harmony as much as she appeared to. None of this languid reclining like a half-drugged princess in his presence. He’d keep her on her toes, ready to leap to his bidding at the sound of his footstep. She’d learn to be grateful.

Feeling ignored and superfluous, he turned to his uncle’s detestable wife, Lady Quamby, and said with a smile, “Perhaps you and Miss Montrose would like to accompany me to the turret. Since you appear to have enjoyed this new novel, Northanger Abbey, so much, you might be interested to know there is an excellent view of the ruined monastery not far from here.”

He was just priding himself on being so attuned to the feminine inclination for pleasure, when Lady Quamby half turned and sent him a desultory smile. “Oh, I think Miss Montrose looks perfectly comfortable, and Fanny and I are having such a lovely little coze.” As if imitating Miss Montrose, she waved a languid hand in his general direction. “Why don’t you take Mr Patmore off to see it? The two of you can tell us all about it when you return.”

The fact that Miss Montrose didn’t deign to even speak for herself, much less glance in his direction, sent the blood surging to Bramley’s brain. By God, when he was married to Eliza Montrose, the limpid look of love so lacking now would be pasted onto her face every time he crossed her line of vision. She’d soon learn what was good for her.

He inclined his head, hiding his fury, and was on the point of leaving when Lady Quamby’s sister, Fanny—for he’d be damned if he’d accord the little strumpet the title of Lady Fenton—leapt up from her chair. She’d been poring over the latest fashions, but now she smiled brightly up at him.

“I’ll come with you, Cousin George. We’ll have an excellent view from the battlements of the children learning to row. I told Nanny Brown and the nursemaid they could take them in the two boats if the children had been good.”

Bramley fixed her with a dampening look. In fact, he was about to give up the idea of going up to the battlements altogether when his other guest, Rufus Patmore, suddenly rose and joined Fanny’s side with a late and unexpected show of enthusiasm.

“Capital idea!” declared Rufus.

George flashed them both a dispassionate look. He’d chosen to invite his betrothed, Miss Montrose—whose chaperone was currently tucked up in the green bedchamber nursing a head cold—to be his guest at his uncle’s estate, Quamby House, after receiving intelligence that Ladies Quamby and Fenton would be safely in London with their husbands and children. Instead, the brazen Brightwell sisters—as they’d infamously been called when he’d first made their acquaintance—had altered their plans, and were now in dogged attendance, reminding him as they always had, of some awful tenacious climbing plant, determined to find a foothold wherever they could in order to rise in the world.

Rufus, a last minute addition and acquaintance from his club, Boodles, was here because he’d purchased a horse from Bramley the night before. Now, Rufus was gazing at Lady Fenton with the same dewy-eyed fondness George was used to seeing reflected in the eyes of his uncle, the Earl of Quamby, who called the Brightwell sisters his precious rosebuds. To George, they were common dandelions! And now they had overridden Quamby House, the rambling Queen Anne manor house and estate that would have passed to George the moment his uncle quit this mortal coil, were it not for the snotty-nosed infant Lady Quamby had borne far too early in her marriage to George’s uncle.

George shook his head. He’d changed his mind. Only, there was Rufus already ten yards away, striding across the lawn with Fanny at his side, and George didn’t want to be seen as petulant for having offered the suggestion in the first place. Or have his snubbed and ignored status so much on parade, since the two remaining ladies—Miss Montrose and Lady Quamby—now had their heads bent together in deep discussion, with no apparent interest in seeking his company.

By God, he thought, clenching his fists as he set off after the other two at a brisk trot, theyʾd all rue the day they showed George Bramley so little respect.

About Beverley

Beverley Oakley is an Australian author who grew up in the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho, married a Norwegian bush pilot she met in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and started writing historical romances to amuse herself in the 12 countries she’s lived as a ‘trailing spouse’ (in between working as an airborne geophysical survey operator, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and writing for her former newspaper).
Her Scandalous Miss Brightwell series was nominated Best Historical Romance by the Australian Romance Readers Association.


“Vivid and charming.” —CHARLAINE HARRIS, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author


He’s always been a haven:
For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he’ll do more than heal her battered spirit—he’ll defend her with his life. 
K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe’s very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path—but for all his big heart, he’s never been in love.
Until he meets Sarah Clifton’s haunted eyes. Until he realizes he’ll do anything to save her.
All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there’s no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth…but he’d never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah’s finally ready to face whatever comes her way.
It’s time to take a stand.       Amazon      B&N        iBooks


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A car turned onto the street, and her heart sank even further when she saw the light bar on top of the vehicle. Logan was a police officer. Had Aaron sent him after her? During that horrible dinner, Judd had mentioned that Logan had contacts. Did they include anyone at the Monroe Police Department?
As her brain raced, she’d frozen for a few seconds, long enough for the squad car to pull up to the curb in front of the carport. It was too late to run and pointless to hide. As close as the squad car was, the cop had to have seen her on the carport. A strong gust of wind pushed her off-balance, and Sarah sat abruptly. There might be no escaping him, but at least she wouldn’t be blown off the roof.
As the police officer swung open the driver’s door and got out, unfolding his large frame, Sarah felt her throat tightening. It was the tall, burly cop she’d met after she’d just arrived, the one who was so terrifyingly handsome that it was a struggle to look at him—like a cross between a Viking and a lumberjack. The one who’d watched her steadily and silently with light-blue eyes until he’d quietly left her room. The way he’d looked at her made her illogically worried that he could read all of her secrets and was just waiting for her to confess.
Once Grace had introduced him as a cop, Sarah had sealed her lips together, afraid that something incriminating would tumble out of her mouth. It didn’t matter that she’d done nothing wrong, that she was an adult and legally couldn’t be forced to stay with her brother—much less marry creepy Logan. There was something about him that still made her…not nervous, but jittery. No, she thought, jittery isn’t right, either. He made her feel too aware of him.
He immediately looked up at her, confirming her suspicion that he’d known she was on the roof even before he pulled up. As he walked closer, he held her gaze, silently as he had before. Rather than ordering her off the roof or yelling at her to get down, as she’d expected, he circled around to the side of the carport. Instead of climbing on the car, as she had, he reached up and grasped the edge of the roof and hauled himself up with an ease that Sarah envied. Once he was up, he sat a few feet away from her.
She eyed his profile as he looked out over the street. What was he doing? If he was going to arrest her, to take her into custody and hand her over to Logan, she wished he’d just get it over with. Sitting next to him, waiting for him to do something, was making her muscles painfully tight.
When he hadn’t said anything for several minutes, Sarah knew she had to break the silence. If one of them didn’t talk, her head was going to pop like an overinflated tire.
“Sorry.” The word came out too softly, and it squeaked in the middle. “There were elk.”
He turned his head to look at her.
“They were fighting?” Clearing her throat, she tried to make her words sound more definite. It was hard, though. His continued silence was freaking her out. “I was afraid of getting caught in the middle, so I climbed up here. Did someone call you?”
His chin dipped down in a nod. Even though he hadn’t actually said anything out loud, the gesture was a huge relief.
“I was going to get down, but I was worried they’d come back. Then I heard your car engine, and…well, you arrived.”
It was a weak finish, she knew, but there was no way to explain her terror at hearing a car, not without telling him too much about her former life. After all, she still didn’t know if he was one of Logan’s contacts. Even if he wasn’t, if a fellow cop arrived and said something awful—like that she wasn’t mentally sound or that she’d committed a crime—Otto would believe the police officer over some woman he’d just met. Sarah had been sheltered, but she’d read books and watched TV. She knew that cops were loyal to each other.
“Is it strange?” Now that she’d started talking, she didn’t want to return to that unnerving silence, the one that made her think he was reading her thoughts with some magical, gorgeous-cop superpower. He cocked his head slightly, as if in question. “Strange that the elk are in town, fighting in the middle of the street? I’m new to the mountains, but it seems weird to me. I mean, squirrels can hang out in town, or rabbits, but elk right here next to all these houses? That seems wrong.”
His lips twitched in something that might have been a start of a smile. There was another pause, long enough for Sarah to think he wasn’t going to answer. Was this some strange interrogation technique? He refused to talk until she spilled all of her secrets? If so, it was surprisingly effective. His silence made her want to open her mouth and let everything inside her head spill out. Quickly, she sealed her lips together. Sharing her thoughts with this cop would be dangerous—very, very dangerous.
He cleared his throat and she jumped. “It’s not strange. Not here, at least.” His voice was a bass rumble, not loud but big and full. It fit him.
“Oh.” Relief flowed through her when he finally spoke. For some reason, hearing his voice made her warm and brought that same not-quite-jittery feeling she’d experienced before. Not able to hold his gaze, she glanced down at his car. “I probably should’ve just stayed where I was, then. If it’s normal and all. Those antlers crashing together was just very…loud.”
There was another pause, although it wasn’t quite so long this time. “You were smart to move out of the way.”
“Good. I mean, thank you.” Silence settled over them again. “Why are you here, then?”
“We got a call that you were up here.” He met her gaze, and she couldn’t manage to look away. “I, ah, wanted to make sure you were okay.”
It wasn’t what she’d expected, and it wasn’t what she was used to. No one ever worried that she was okay. His concern sparked a warm glow in her belly. She smiled, and his gaze dropped to her mouth. “Thank you. I’m okay.”
His eyes snapped back to hers. “Good.” There was a short silence. “Do you need help down?”
“Yes, please.” She glanced at the ground below. Now that the scare was over, she wouldn’t feel right climbing onto the car, and it was a long drop for her five-foot-nothing self. “Just a hand down, though. Don’t call the fire department or anything. That could be embarrassing.”
His mouth quirked again. “I won’t.”
Moving over to the edge of the roof, he swung his legs off the side and lowered himself down. Once again, he made it look so effortless that Sarah felt a little silly for asking for help. She followed, turning onto her belly and letting her legs slide over the edge. His hands steadied her, sliding from her calves to her thighs and then gripping her waist. It was a strange sensation, his firm grip both comforting and slightly dizzying, and it made her pause.
“I’ve got you,” he said in his low, steady way, his fingers wrapped almost all the way around her middle.
It was crazy to trust this stranger—this cop—but Sarah couldn’t help herself. Just from their short conversation, her gut told her that he was nothing like Aaron or Logan or any of the petty, vicious people who had populated her previous life. Maybe he was conning her, but Sarah suspected he was honestly good.
Closing her eyes, she let go of the roof. Just as he’d promised, Otto carefully lowered her down. Even after her feet were securely on the ground and he’d released her, Sarah could still feel the warm impression of his hands pressing into her skin.
“Would you like a ride home?” he asked, and she realized that she’d been staring at him.
Ripping her gaze from his face, she glanced around. “I think I’ll finish my walk. It looks like the road is elk-free. They probably went to the diner for breakfast.”
That almost-smile came and went quickly, but it still gave Sarah a charge that she’d caused it. As she started to walk back toward Jules’s driveway, she expected to hear the squad car engine roar to life, but the morning stayed quiet. The wind had dropped to a gentle breeze, and the rising sun warmed her. When she reached the turnoff for her driveway, she couldn’t resist—she glanced behind her.
Otto was still parked by the carport. She wondered if he was watching to make sure that she made it home safely. The thought gave her a warm thrill, but she quickly quashed it. Monroe was just a temporary stop on her road to freedom. She needed to focus on building her new life, not on a Viking-lumberjack cop with steady blue eyes and huge, warm hands.
At the memory of his firm grip, another frisson of excitement whirled through her. This time, she let it stay. She’d enjoy it for a few moments, she promised herself, but then she would do her best to avoid Officer Otto Gunnersen. With a final glance at the surprisingly intriguing man behind her, she strode up the rutted dirt driveway, smiling.


Juliet Lyons' THAT KILLER SMILE Spotlight & Dating the Undead Giveaway

Vampire Catherine Adair gave up trying to find her perfect match ages ago. But that didn’t stop her from founding London’s super successful vampire dating site. When a smoldering vampire overlord from her past launches an interspecies speed-dating service, Catherine vows to crush the competition….

Ronin’s new venture is purely about getting Catherine’s attention. He hasn’t stopped thinking about her ever since the night she gave him the cold shoulder. Nobody gets away from Ronin McDermott that easily…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks 

JULIET LYONS is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has received millions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over the world. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Find Juliet Online:
Website      Facebook     Twitter    Wattpad.    Goodreads

For a few seconds, I’m lost for words. But as I stare between the bag on the floor and Ronin’s chiseled face, it all becomes clear.
“This is about you wanting me to owe you, isn’t it?” I hiss, fixing my gaze on his left ear. It’s a trick I learned from the last time we met. If I don’t look directly into his eyes, there’s less chance of being drawn into their swirling, blue depths.
He smiles, shaking his head. “You’re unbelievable, do you know that?”
“Pfffft,” I erupt. “I’m unbelievable? I’m not the one trying to tank my business by spreading rumors and launching a dating service. I’m not the one going out of his way to ensure our paths keep crossing in the worst possible ways.”
He frowns, displaying the first sign of irritation since I crashed into the room. “I’ve already told you, mo chridhe, it wasn’t me who started those rumors. And as for the speed dating, well, it was a free country last time I checked. I’m offering you the cash because the fella was injured in my club. Which means technically he’s my responsibility. If you don’t take the money now, I’ll have someone deliver it to his lawyer’s office later. I have their address now, after all.”
He waves the letter in the air like a victory flag.
“I’ll call them up,” I blurt out, voice quavering. “I’ll tell them you’re a madman and not to accept it. I’ll say it’s not your money at all, that you conned the life savings from some poor old man with dementia.”
Ronin arches a brow, tucking the letter into an inside pocket of his jacket. “That’s some novel you’re writing there, Catherine, but I doubt they would argue if I write them a Coutts check, do you?”
I’m all out of ammunition. “I loathe you.”
For a split second, his cocksureness wavers, the steely-blue eyes darkening. But only for a moment. “The problem isn’t me, Catherine,” he says, edging closer. “The problem is you.”
I straighten up. “That’s the most irritating thing about you, Ronin—you always think you know better than everybody else. I’m not sure whether it’s because you’ve been around longer than the rest of us or because you’re just a massive asshole. Either way, you don’t know the first thing about me.”
He flashes a cocky grin, raking his gaze over me as if he has X-ray vision. “You don’t loathe me, mo chridhe. You just can’t get over the fact you’re an uptight puritan who loved the kind of sex I gave you that night we spent together.”
I let out a high-pitched laugh. “That’s right, Ronin. Let’s not forget for one second that the world revolves around you and your penis. Actually, I’m surprised you’re even bothering to get dressed these days. I would have thought you’d have developed a penchant for silky, red pajamas and slippers by now.” I motion to the cigar on the carpet. “Looks like you’ve nailed the smoking part, and God knows the Playboy bunnies must be hiding around here somewhere.”
He scoffs. “Jealous?”
“Please, you’re not that good in bed.”
Except he is—or was. Better than good. But I can’t think about that right now. Or ever again, actually.
“Paulo was right about you,” he murmurs. “You are a mad bitch.”
I close the distance between us in a single stride and smack him across the cheek. It’s like hitting stone. He doesn’t so much as flinch. For some bizarre reason, this ignites a hot stab of lust in the pit of my stomach. His scent—a masculine blend of whiskey, leather, and woodsmoke—infiltrates my senses. I’m transported back to that night some years ago when we went at it like two wildcats in his bed.
I never wanted to come up for air.
I’m standing too close to use the ear trick. His eyes drag me in, two penetrating blue flames, dark with anger. I gulp, allowing my gaze to wander over his chiseled-from-rock cheekbones, rosy Celtic skin, copper hair slicked back from a noble forehead. He may be an ***, but there is no denying his beauty.
For what feels like an eternity, neither of us move. We remain locked onto each other, energy—good and bad—swirling between us like thick fog.
Quite without thinking, I hiss, “***.” After spending my human life afraid to speak, I never managed to rewire the connection between my brain and mouth.
His blue eyes flash. At once, his lips are on mine and his arms are around my waist. Instead of struggling, I mold myself into the hard contours of his body, my tongue sliding over his, my hands pulling him closer, and I hate myself—Lord, how I despise myself—for how good it feels. It’s as though he brings a magnifying glass up to all the base urges I long to forget, including this—an utterly ridiculous sexual attraction to a demon playboy who’s murdered God knows how many during his thousands of years on earth.
I don’t pull away. I can’t. He absorbs me like a drug. Before I can help myself, my fingers are tangled in his thick, red hair and I’m allowing his hands to cup my ass, grinding against the hard rope of an erection bulging beneath his trousers. We devour each other, eyes and mouths open, until I’m no longer sure where he begins and I end.
But then he takes his mouth from mine, trailing kisses from jawline to neck. Along with the rasp of stubble, I feel a scrape of fangs, sharp as knives, glide across my skin. I shove him away, panting slightly, averting my eyes to the lacquered walnut desk in the center of the room. If I don’t stop this now, I’ll end up sprawled across that table just like all the other women he’s had in here. The worst part is, I’d enjoy it.
“Consider the debt paid,” I say.



Enter to win a copy of the first book in Juliet Lyons’ Bite Nights series, Dating the Undead

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Rebecca Drake's JUST BETWEEN US Spotlight


Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.  

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend. 

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage. 

About the Author

REBECCA DRAKE is the author of the novels Don’t Be AfraidThe Next KillingThe Dead Place, which was an IMBA bestseller, and Only Ever You, as well as the short story “Loaded,” which was featured in Pittsburgh Noir. A graduate of Penn State University and former journalist, she is currently an instructor in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. program. Rebecca lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two children.



“A twisty, domestic thriller […] tense, bombshell-laden, and action-packed.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Female friendships flourish, then falter, under the weight of chance events underlaid by secrecy and deceit […] Drake shows a sure hand in spinning suburban thrillers.” —Booklist 

“Fans of Liane Moriarty and B.A. Paris are going to love this twisty, diabolical suburban thriller. Clear your evening, you won’t be able to put it down.” — J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Lie to Me

“Rebecca Drake’s Just Between Us is a stunner – a tense, twisty thriller about four ordinary women that begs the question: When a friend is in trouble, and all you want to do is help, how can everything go so terribly wrong?” — Karen Dionne, author The Marsh King’s Daughter

“Rebecca Drake’s Just Between Us is a riveting thriller that reveals the dark heart beating in the middle of American suburbia. Every character in this rich novel has a secret, and the secrets get deeper and darker as the pitch-perfect plot unfolds. This is a stunning story of friendship and the tangled lies that bind four women together. Don’t miss it!” — David Bell, author of Bring Her Home


Title: The Last Wolf

Author: Maria Vale

Series: The Legend of All Wolves #1

Pub Date: February 6, 2018

ISBN: 9781492661870


For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.

If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.

But if she stays…

Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…

Buy Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound



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In which Silver, in an act of mercy, kills her former shielder

The circle of wolves in the Clearing tightens around Ronan, and for the first time since my Dæling, I am deeply grateful that I am not Pack. I am just a guest and don’t have to be part of this.

But when I start to lope away, Ti doesn’t move. He doesn’t understand what is happening, so I nip at his pant leg. The Alphas of each echelon are taking up their positions at the front of the circle. Everyone wants this over with quickly.

Opening a passage for Charlie, John nudges Ronan’s father toward his son. In its mercy, Pack law allows First Blood to Ronan’s family, so that when the Pack eviscerates him, Ronan won’t feel anything. I plant my front paws and pull Ti harder, because I really don’t want to watch Charlie rip out his son’s throat.

Ti doesn’t move.

John nudges Charlie again, but Charlie just stares at Ronan, his head cocked, his mouth open. Then his eyes roll around the circle searching for help he won’t find, because to be on Pack land as an exile is bad enough, but the only response to an attack on a pup, is a Slitung, a flesh-tearing, and every wolf shows teeth. Charlie throws himself on the ground in front of John, his feet up in the air, his hips shimmying back and forth in a clownish show of submission.

John snaps at him.

Charlie follows our Alpha around, one ear up, the other down, his mouth open in a rabid leer, until with a quick look over his shoulder, John signals Tara to drag the broken wolf away from the Pack. Tara grabs his muzzle tight in her powerful jaws and drags him off mewling. I run beside him whimpering too, begging Charlie to come to his senses long enough to do this last kindness. He seems not to even see me, more interested in the furry thing following behind him. As soon as Tara lets him go, he starts to chase his tail, barking.

Tara turns her back on him with a growl and a dismissive kick of rain-sodden soil. She heads back to the Pack, which clears a path for her. As John’s Beta, Tara has a place of honor, but she also has a place of responsibility and is expected to be right up front for the Slitung. I stick to her slipstream and push through to the whimpering Ronan.

Rubbing my muzzle against his, I turn to John, my body down, my head between my paws. I’m not sure he will accept my claim to First Blood, but I have a better chance if I at least smell like the wolf who had been my schildere but who never wanted to be my mate.

Then John’s nose bumps against mine, telling me to get up. With a quick snap of his jaws, the Pack retreats, giving us room. John is a good wolf and a great Alpha and, if given a choice, will always choose mercy.

First Blood allows for one bite only, and if Ronan decides to fight me, I doubt I’ll be able to make the kill. But after everything that has happened, the once-upon-a-time Alpha of the 14th Echelon seems to understand that his luck is not going to change again.

He lies back with his chin stretched high, staring at the mountains and the pinpoints of stars and the real world, the world of men, that he so wanted to be a part of.

Opening my jaws wide, I gently take his throat between them. It’s what we do, and it means trust me. It means I see you at your most vulnerable.

I bite down fast and hard on the cartilage tube, giving it the same fatal break I would for a deer. Ronan struggles a little, and blood spurts into my mouth. I curl my tongue against the back of my throat, because I don’t want to swallow this blood. I don’t want to be nourished by this death.

The pulse of his blood slows, but I don’t lift my head until it stops.

Before I even stumble out of the way, the Pack surges forward, eager to be done with this particular bit of ritual butchery.

I race for Clear Pond, my paws sinking through the cold, thick mud and dying sedges until I am in deep. Pushing the air out of my lungs, I sink and stay down until my own throat is on the verge of collapse, and the blood that had already started to stiffen on my muzzle and chest and legs begins to melt away from my fur. Maybe there was so much that all of Clear Pond is tainted, but no matter how many gulps of water I take, my mouth still has the sharp, metallic tang of blood, and there’s something stuck in my teeth.

I start to change, and as soon as I’m finished, I pick at the thing with my fingers until it comes loose. I don’t look at it before throwing it into the weeds. I think the change was a mistake though, because in skin, I feel the intense cold of the schist on my naked body and the icy water running from my hair down my back and the taste of death in my mouth. I can’t stop shivering. I try to get wild again, but my muscles are spasming so hard that I can’t. I lurch up on all fours and then to my legs and stumble only a few steps before collapsing again, my head on my knees.

A warm coat that smells like angelica and green corn and the earth before a storm settles around my shoulders. “Put it on,” says that quiet voice, and Ti lifts me, guiding my arms into the sleeves, and then pulls me close to his even-warmer body. He says nothing, just holds me tight, letting me shiver against him.

“I killed him,” I finally stutter.

He lifts my sodden hair out from under the collar of the coat.

“Yes, you did. And if you hadn’t, he would have died in pain and the whole Pack would have had the burden of it. Now only you do.”

Ti doesn’t say that I wasn’t responsible or that I shouldn’t feel guilty, but rather that it’s a burden worth carrying and one that I’m strong enough to bear. His faith calms me in a way that no amount of coddling ever could.

It’s one of the things I love about him….

“I can’t get the taste of blood out of my mouth.”

He doesn’t respond. I guess he didn’t hear, or knowing him, he did hear, but doesn’t think there’s any point in responding. It doesn’t matter. I settle my head back on his chest and listen to his heartbeat.

Did I say love?

He frees one arm and lifts my chin. It’s dark for my poor human senses, but he’s not like me and the nearly full moon lights up the green glow of the lucidum in his eyes.

He hesitates, his lips hovering above mine, like a boy nervously contemplating his first kiss. But I know what he’s hiding, and I stretch up as high as I can and wrap my arm around his neck, feeling the shape of his skull under the roughness of his cropped hair. I feel his mouth against mine, firm and ripe and warm and still closed.

Nuzzling the seam of his mouth, I catch his lower lip gently between my fangs, pulling him closer. I know you, Tiberius. I know the wildness that you’ve always hidden there, but I am not human and I want the untamed, inhuman sharpness of your mouth.

I let go and lick my lip before gently circling his, my breath feathering his sensitive skin.

Finally, his lips open softly and I seal my mouth around his, because this is his first kiss and mine too, and I am his shielder in all things.

Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly,

Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at