Secrets and Sins: Malachim is dark, dangerous and delish

Secrets and Sins MalachimChances are excellent you won’t be putting Secrets and Sins: Malachim down for something as trivial as eating, or sleeping. Nope, it’s going to take something a lot bigger to pry this one out of your hands.

In this, the second book of the Secrets and Sins series, Naima Simone grabs you by the throat from the opening line and just refuses to let go. I won’t mislead anyone, the first chapter is dark and ugly, setting the stage for a heroine with a very long way to go before she can find anything resembling a happily ever after. For some readers that sort of thing isn’t what they want to see when the crack open a romance novel. But as much as I enjoy a great fantasy book, I really love to dig into stories that reflect real life. Malachim hits reality out of the park while maintaining the romance arc.

Danielle is an abused wife until the night she realizes she is only one moment of crazed madness away from death. She puts her abusive husband behind bars, divorces him and flees, creating a new identity for herself in another state. She begins life over again in Boston, where she meets Malachim, a lawyer on the edge of losing everything and in desperate need of a paralegal. Out of options and despite her apparent lack of experience, he offers Danielle the job.

Sparks fly between the two from the start, but each has reasons to hold back from exploring their feelings. Both are keeping deadly secrets and both are harboring emotional damage. Each has their past come crashing in one brick at a time until the world seems to be crumbling down around them. Since I don’t do spoilers here, I’ll just leave it there.

Luckily for you, Ms Simone has three more books in the series, beginning with Gabriel, followed by Malachim, Raphael, and finally Chayot. Each is connected as the four men are all best friends, but each also works as a stand alone story. 

One more thing makes this your Friday Read this week. Malachim is free (as of this posting). So go! Get thee post haste to the nearest book purveyor of your choice and grab a copy!

Oh, and if anyone can tell me where I have to go to find that man on the cover, I will be forever in your debt. Not for ME, I’m happily married! It’s for my Man Candy board on Pinterest…there’s an opening.

Can’t have an open space on a Pinterest board…right?

Happy Friday reading everyone and enjoy the weekend!

 

 

Secrets on the Sand by Roxanne St Claire

We all have authors who can be counted on to deliver on pretty much every single book. You don’t even have to read the back cover, just grab and go. Roxanne St Claire is one of those authors for me.

Edge of Sight - The Guardian AngelinosShe first hooked me with her Guardian Angelinos romantic suspense series. Then I found and promptly fell in love with the Bullet Catcher series. At this point she has so many books out I’ve given up counting and that suits me just fine. It’s always good to know that when I finish reading a story, more are waiting!

My current favorite is one I didn’t expect, a light contemporary romance set on a beach, with a billionaire geek for a hero. Yup, apparently I have taken a minor detour from brooding, emotionally damaged men with tats to spend some time drooling over an uber rich guy, in a suit, who is a wiz with numbers. I know! Who saw that coming??

Well actually anyone who knows Roxanne’s writing would see that coming. She does emotionally deep, intense characters as well as anyone out there, a skill she uses with a bit more restraint but just as effectively in light contemporary romance. So as deeply, madly in love as I am with my messed up book boyfriends (hey, someone has to love the broken ones!), I am utterly charmed by the hero of Secrets on the SandBook 1 in the Billionaires of Barefoot Bay series.Secrets on the Sand

With a name like “Ezekiel” (known in school as “Ezekiel the Geekiel”) you’d think Zeke, as he is now known, would have a very long road to trudge before climbing the mountain to Hot Stud status. Secrets on the Sand blows that premise right out of the water. This time it’s the guy whose is “all grown up” and filled out in all the right ways. Zeke has never forgotten the beautiful girl he went to school with, the way he felt about her, or the time she stood up for him when no one else did.

Amanda (Mandy) hasn’t fared as well, and has been reduced from the prettiest girl in school to a maid struggling to make ends meet. They reunite when she has to clean his suite at an exclusive beach resort. Divorced from an abusive, controlling man who left her broke, Mandy’s one goal beyond survival is to never trust a man again. Especially a rich man.

I’m going to stop right there, because some secrets are best revealed in their own sweet time.

If you’re looking for a great beach read, and you know the clock is ticking on what’s left of summer, Secrets on the Sand will not disappoint. Oh yeah, and there’s one more thing…

Right now, its free. So run your little fingers right out of here and get yourself over to the e-book supplier of choice and grab it while the grabbing is good.

After that you can slather on the sunblock, set up your chaise lounge and sip something sweet and summery while you read. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

 

Retro Read: The Crossroads Cafe

It’s the last Friday of the month which means it time for a Retro Read! These are stories that have been around a while, not old enough to be classics, but way too good to forget about. Some stories might not completely follow today’s writing rules, some might be a bit long, or takes a bit more time to develop. But they all have one thing in common, they’ve earned their place on the keeper shelf.

The Crossroads Cafe

 

This month’s Retro Read is “The Crossroads Cafe” by Deborah Smith. Breaking all sorts of “rules” (although talented writers can certainly scoff at such things!) the story opens with a prologue of a scene that actually happens later in the story. Believe it or not, this isn’t confusing and it works as the first line grabs and draws you right in:

 

Before the accident, I never had to seduce a man in the dark. I dazzled millions in the brutal glare of kliegs on the red carpets of Hollywood, the flash of cameras at the Oscars, the glare of sunlight on the beaches of Cannes. Beautiful women don’t fear the glint of lust and judgment in men’s eyes, or the bitter gleam of envy in women’s. Beautiful women welcome even the brightest light. Once upon a time I had been the most beautiful woman in the world.

Now I needed the night, the darkness, the shadows.

“Put the gun down,” I ordered, as I let my bra and sweatshirt fall to the ground.

The story is told in alternating first person points of view by the two main characters, Thomas and Cathy.  Both are tragically damaged in different but very public ways, one physically, one emotionally.  Their worlds collide when they both end up in the small town of Crossroads, North Carolina in the Blue Ridge mountains. Taking a huge secondary role is Delta, owner of the Cafe, the emotional hub of the small town, and the inadvertent reason Thomas and Cathy are living in Crossroads.

Filled with quirky yet down to earth, realistic secondary characters who have their own baggage and scars, the story runs an emotional gauntlet from tragic to humorous and everything in between. The growth of the Crossroads Cafemain characters,  innocently narcissistic to fully rounded, tragically suicidal to accepting and forgiving of self and others, is a tour de force for the reader and a classic lesson in character arc 101 for a writer. Nobody escapes unscathed, but there is plenty of natural humor sprinkled strategically to lighten the mood and counteract what could have been a painful read.  There are a multitude of social and personal issues woven into the fabric of the Crossroads Cafe, along with the romance, and Deborah Smith did a masterful job of approaching harsh subjects with an unflinching yet extraordinarily sensitive hand.

The HEA is here, tempered with reality, making this story heartwarming and easy to love, just like Delta’s biscuits and gravy. The Crossroads Cafe is a keeper on my bookshelf, a terrific read and a reminder that while we all have our scars, what really matters is how we choose to carry them. As they say at the Cafe…

“The Lard Works in Mysterious Ways”

 

Wendy Sparrow Gets Past My Defenses

Wendy SparPast My Defensesrow delivers a sexy and fun paranormal romp with a twist in her June release, Past My Defenses. The heroine, Vanessa (Nessa) is a shape-shifting Lycan heroine with some pretty serious allergies. After a run through pollen infested woods, a tangle with a cat triggers a reaction that knocks her out.  She wakes up to find herself locked in a cage and scent mated to a very puzzled but completely intrigued human, Dane. No fast talking on her part will convince him that he didn’t see what he just saw as she shifted into her human form. Her very naked human form. 

Sparks fly and the tension builds as they are caught between the pack’s Alpha leader, poachers and the irresistible bond growing between them.

Dane is strong, sweet and sexy, and not afraid to challenge Nessa’s alpha ruler when it comes to matters concerning her. He’s everything readers want from their literary hero. In this story however, it is Nessa who captures my heart and carries the day. Quirky, flighty and carrying a short fuse, she checks off character flaws like a how-to list from “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days”. It’s no secret I love me a damaged hero but they are a lot more prevalent  than damaged heroines, hence my fascination here.

Bless her little furry heart, Nessa and her list of issues are right up my alley. At times she’s enough to drive a man, human or wolf, bat shit crazy and she doesn’t hesitate to go her own way when she feels she must.  That makes her interesting and someone I can relate to.

Granted, it might make also her my long lost sister… but that’s a blog post for another time.

Vanessa is the fastest Lycan around. In wolf form, the only threat she can’t outrun is her allergies. After a feline dander-bomb takes her down, she wakes up naked in a cage staring at a hot park ranger who had no idea what he’d trapped. But ooooh, he smells so good. Mine.

Dane hoped to tame the silver wolf in his kennel, but all bets are off with the deliciously sweet Vanessa on two legs. Her temper makes his pulse race, and he can’t escape the feeling they belong together.

They’re hot as a forest fire even before they scent-match, but Glacier Peak’s Alpha considers Dane a danger to the pack. Meanwhile, Lycans are being poached, and Vanessa has been targeted. Dane will have to keep her close to protect her, but with Vanessa in heat and mad to mate, who will protect him?

Tawny Weber Has The Best Four Pack In Town!

A Seal's Seduction Tawny Weber has four stories that add up to some of the best reading you can find, perfect for a long, sultry July 4th weekend spent lying on the beach. That’s right, instead of a single book I’m suggesting you pick up four of them in honor of the holiday and of course, the military. There could also be a teeny bit of truth to the rumor that I’m a huge fan of Tawny’s and I kinda, sorta devour her books as fast as she can write them.

The Uniformly Hot stories have Seal heroes, men with smoking hot, hard bodies and actual functioning brains!  Men who take their creed “Failure is not an option” right into the bedroom and A Seal's Surrenderstraight into a woman’s heart…and maybe a few other places *wink*

Hold on while I pause to catch my breath here…

What makes this series even better you ask? I’m happy to tell you! She’s got at least five more books in the works and it’s quite evident she plans on going through the entire Seal team, the hussy! I can’t begin to tell you how happy it makes me knowing more Seals are deploying soon to a Kindle near me.

A Seal's SalvationSo if you’re interested in grabbing a few books to hold you over for the long weekend, or looking to start a new series that just keeps getting better with each installment, I’m recommending you start with “A Seal’s Seduction” followed by “Surrender“,  “Salvation” and “Kiss“.  The writing is great, the stories are tight and the characters are yummy. I even like the heroines, and you have no idea how much of an effort that can be for me at times!

These stories fall into the category of what I like to think of A Seal's Kissas “contemporary realistic fantasy” and THANK GOODNESS for that kind of story! Who doesn’t need some fantasy now and then/every weekend??

Besides, how many times in life can you combine the pleasure of picking up an entire weekend of great reading AND doing something patriotic? Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Most of us will be getting together with family and friends today. There are many places in the world where this can’t even be imagined, where freedom can’t even be conceived as a dream. I’ll take a moment today to reflect and be thankful I live here.

I will also take time to remember our military men and women. Many of them will be away from home and the celebrations. They’re in combat zones and diplomatic posts, on ships, submarines and foreign shores all over the world, protecting us and others. They sacrifice a lot, sometimes everything, and they deserve, at minimum, our thoughts and best wishes for a safe return. So I’m saying thank you to each and every member of our armed forces, men and women whoever you are, wherever you are, for your sacrifice, your dedication and your service. Please stay safe.

Another thanks goes out to Tawny, and all authors of military hero books for reminding us of our soldiers, and giving us great summer reads in the process. The tagline for the Uniformly Hot series really does say it all, not just about her books, but also the real men and women who inspire the stories…

“The few, the proud, the sexy as hell.”

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Fireworks

Thanks to Public-Domain-Image.com for the great photo

Liliana Hart scores with Cade MacKenzie

Cade is a very good score indeed for all you readers looking for a new man to keep you company this weekend, delivered at high intensity by Liliana Hart.

SmokeCade: A MacKenzie Family Novel” was my introduction to the fast and furious world of the MacKenzie brothers. I like that kind of world, it grabs you from page one and refuses to let go, holding your attention like a five alarm fire. And of course where there’s fire, there’s smoke and in this story it’s the smokin’ hot sex. You can find that between the sheets, on the kitchen table, outside… well you get the idea. Be forewarned, this read is about as far from PC as you can get. This very bad boy hero knows exactly what he wants and how he wants it, and he’s not shy about saying it.

Sure, it’s summer and the weather man says it’s going to be a hot weekend, but what’s the harm in kicking it up a few more degrees? You can always fill your bathtub with ice and slip into that.  See how I’m thinking after reading this? Oh and if you really need any more incentive, the e-book is free. Yes, I said free. Head on over to your book dealer of choice right now and grab a copy! It’s a great way to meet Liliana and if you enjoy Cade, there’s a slew of MacKenzie men for you to sample at your leisure, along with plenty of other reads to occupy your nights and weekends. I might even have a few tucked away on my Kindle.

Hey, those weekends come around every five damn days, a girl’s gotta keep herself entertained!

 

Cade

Cade MacKenzie is prepared to give his life to destroy the cartel that killed his lover, but the only way to draw them out is to present them with the perfect bait.

Bayleigh Scott has no idea who her new neighbor is, only that her body is drawn to him in ways she can’t explain, and the danger that surrounds him isn’t the deterrent she knows it should be.

More than fireworks explode between Cade and Bayleigh when she discovers the real reason he relentlessly pursued her, but by then it’s too late, because she’s already been drawn into a deadly game of desire, deception and revenge.

Molly Gets Her Man

Sometimes on a hot summer day you just want to sit down with a cold glass of lemonade, kick your bare feet up and read something light and entertaining. For me nothing fits that bill better than a flaky heroine and Julie Rowe delivers perfectly in her romantic contemporary suspense Molly Gets Her Man. I can’t help but root for heroine Molly McLaren, a very smart girl in a bimbo’s body dragging around a lot of emotional damage. As for the hero, I’m a sucker for a big Alpha male who is a teddy bear at heart and Grey Wilson is all that and more.

Wander on over to Entangled Publishing and you can read the first chapter free! Now how does it get any better than that?

Grab a book and enjoy your weekend.

 

Molly Gets Her ManWhen flaky Las Vegas hairdresser Molly McLaren overhears a Russian hit man planning to kill a US congressman and take out Hoover Dam in the process, she becomes a target for murder. Now, on the run from the assassin and a dirty cop, she winds up in an eighteen wheeler with an ex-cop sporting a bum leg, a bad attitude, and a body built for loving.

Grey Wilson just wanted to be left alone. No more Las Vegas. No more casinos. And no more floozy women like the one his best friend sent him to pick up on the side of the road. She talks fast, but her endless curves and sensuous nature make him want to slow down. Which is not in the cards. Grey knows he needs to unload his excess baggage. And quick.

But when someone tries to kill the Vegas beauty, Molly captures his heart with her backbone of steel, and brains to boot. Now in order to grasp the future that had once seemed impossible, Molly and Grey need to keep Hoover Dam, the congressman, and their love from being blown sky-high.

Incy Black is “Hard to Hold”

Voice can be a difficult thing for an author to nail down. Readers manage to instinctively pick up on it, and it’s one of the attributes that determines who becomes a favorite author for them. That is probably what I love most about Incy Black and her writing. Her voice is unique, recognizable and draws you immediately into the story. Reading her blog is a refreshing charge into a summer downpour, complete with the occasional lightening bolt to keep you on your toes. Sure, you’re gonna get wet but as they say, life is all about learning to dance in the rain. Incy does that with snarky abandon.

Check out her blog and you’ll immediately want to know more about her.  Browse the first chapter of her latest release “Hard to Hold” for free, and I can just about guarantee you’ll be hitting the buy link. So go get it and welcome to your newest reader addiction.

You can thank me later.

 

Hard To HoldAnna Key Marshall is about to get what she’s always wanted: a baby. Granted, it’s through a sperm donor instead of her ex-husband, but you can’t have everything. She has no idea why someone wants her dead, but she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her unborn child—even if it means turning to her ex, the Black Ops specialist who broke her heart.

Five years ago, British Intelligence agent Nick Marshall slammed the door on the woman who betrayed him. But now Anna’s back in his life with a vengeance, pregnant and full of attitude. He’d like nothing better than to walk away, but with her life on the line, he has no choice but to do what he does best—protect her at all costs.

As old wounds resurface, Nick begins to doubt his version of what went down with Anna so long ago. And he begins to believe they might have a second chance together. But with Anna’s would-be killer on the loose—it will take the full force and fury of his protective instincts, fueled by a powerful love he can’t leave behind, to hold on to the woman he still loves.

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