Happy Release Day to Donna Grant ~ The Tempted ~ Rogues of Scotland ~ Review

the_tempted

TheTempted-177x279A MAN CONSUMED BY RAGE

Stefan Kennedy is cursed by a gypsy and sentenced to a prison of darkness and despair. A hell that only serves to feed the monster within. Unexpectedly released from his mystical cell, he’s engulfed by fury and overcome by a need for vengeance. Until a beautiful woman tames his inner beast. Stefan owes it to his friends to find out what happened to them after their run-in with the gypsy, but the mysterious and enchanting Morvan may be a temptation he can’t resist.

A WOMAN’S MAGICAL TOUCH

Morvan has always been a child of the forest. She spends her days using her gifts to calm and heal the animals she encounters. But when she finds herself compelled across clan borders to a mysterious cliff with a wall of strange etchings, she’s helpless to resist. Somehow, Morvan magically brings forth a stranger seemingly more beast than man, yet despite the inherent dangers, she’s driven to help the handsome Highlander. While his appearance in her life may end up shattering the peace she’s worked so hard to find, he could also prove to be the man of her dreams.

04926-reviewmabw22Once again sparks fly and Donna Grant does not disappoint. She weaves an intoxicating tale of magic and love.  I do believe Stefan and Morvan are my favorite in this series! This book left me on the edge of my seat and I stayed up late reading it.

After being locked away for 200 years Stefan’s rage has driven him almost feral. He’s desperately struggling with wanting to exact revenge on the gypsy that cursed him and his best friends to the never-ending darkness.

Morvan is a child of the forest and is more than used to being looked down on for her healing gifts and affinity with animals.
She is kind and compassionate and has accepted her lot in life to always be alone. No one understands her, and are often afraid of her gifts and label her a Witch.

Morvan realizes there is more to the wild, untamed man than she sees. She knows she can’t stand in the way of his journey to find his friends. No matter that she has fallen in love with him. He has suffered long enough and she wants him to find happiness no matter how much she longs for him to stay.

As Danger surrounds them, Stefan is torn from his loyalty to find his friends and the only women that has ever calmed the beast within him. She is unlike any women he has ever met and for the first time, even since before being cursed he has never felt such peace with just a touch of a hand. Dare he hope for peace after all the centuries of torment.

Stefan Kennedy fights for the people that he loves, but will he give up revenge and realize his love for Morvan before its to late…

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donna_grant_newDonna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than forty novels and novellas spanning multiple genres of romance.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Her childhood dream was to become a professional ballet dancer and study under the amazing Mikhail Baryshnikov. Though she never got to meet Baryshnikov, she did make it to New York City and performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Later, Donna’s love of the romance genre and the constant stories running through her head prompted her to sit down and write her first book. Once that book was completed, there was no turning back.

Donna sold her first book in November 2005 while displaced from Hurricane Rita, a storm that destroyed portions of the Texas Gulf Coast. Since then, Donna has sold novels and novellas to both electronic and print publishers. Her books include several complete series such as Druids Glen, The Shields, Royal Chronicles, Sisters of Magic, Dark Sword, Dark Warriors, and her new series, Dark Kings.

Despite the deadlines and her voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two young children, four cats, three fish, and one long haired Chihuahua. She’s blessed with a proud, supportive husband who loves to read and travel as much as she does.

 

AUTHOR CONTACT LINKS

Website ~ http://www.donnagrant.com

Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDonnaGrant

Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/donna_grant

Goodreads ~ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1141209.Donna_Grant

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Series Spotlight – Fire and Rain Series by Michelle Irwin

Through the Fire

(Book One – Daughter of Fire series)

Michelle Irwin

Bottom Drawer Publications had the great pleasure to release Through the Fire, a new adult, paranormal romance by Michelle Irwin, late last year.



Ever since Clay, a soldier for an organization tasked with ridding the world of non-humans, stumbled upon the secret of her birth, Evie’s been on the run. Now he’s back, and she’s unprepared as he forces his way into her heart.






Book Details: Novel

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

224 pages – 83500 words



“Might be the best book I’ve read this year.”


J. A. Kenney – Author


“Irwin deftly creates the modern real world as well as the fantasy one.”


Bruce E. Arrington – Author


“This is a faced paced book with no dull moments and I am really looking forward to the next in the series… well done Michelle on a fantastic Debut!”


Jenny Schwartz – Author



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✴♦✴Cover Reveal ~ Bad Girls Do by Rosalie Lario ✴♦✴

Bad Girls Do Cover

Bad Girls Do

by Rosalie Lario

Everly Brothers #3

Publication Date: February 2, 2015

Also in this series: Wild Girls Rule, Good Girls Don’t

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

 

Synopsis:

Bad girls have all the fun…

Trying to fit in with expectations has left Diane Milstrom lonely and dateless for yet another New Year’s Eve. After being forced to witness her ex proposing to the woman he dumped her for, she has one too many drinks and makes an uncharacteristically impulsive decision: she’s not going to be good anymore. It’s gotten her nothing but heartache, and besides, everyone knows bad girls have all the fun.

Sam Everly enjoys the lifestyle his family’s wealth provides, but he hates the trappings of society that come with it. If he has to attend one more family function full of bored socialites, he just might lose it. Diane Milstrom, his eldest brother’s ex-girlfriend, is the worst of the lot…or so he always thought. But when he overhears her making a Bad Girl To-Do list, he starts to wonder if maybe there’s more to her than meets the eye. Curiosity gets the better of him, and he volunteers to help her with some of the more…ahem, explicit items on her list.

 

When Sam points out that being naughty with her ex’s brother is something only a bad girl would do, Diane can’t help but see his point. Besides, she could do worse than a little between-the-sheets action with a sexy guy who makes her heart beat in ways his brother never could. It’s only supposed to be a fling, a way to help her stretch her bad girl wings. But the more items they cross off her list, the higher the stakes become. Because if they aren’t careful, she just might fall in love…and that’s one thing a bad girl should never do.

 

Author’s Note: If you’re into sexy billionaires with a touch of Alpha, who love to talk dirty in the bedroom (and out of it), then this contemporary erotic romance series might be for you!

Add to Goodreads

 

Other Books in the Everly Brothers Series…

Everly Brothers Series

 

About the Author

Rosalie Lario

 

Rosalie Lario is the author of the contemporary romance series, THE EVERLY BROTHERS, as well as the paranormal romance series, DEMONS OF INFERNUM and THE FALLEN WARRIORS. Rosalie double majored in Anthropology and Classics as an undergraduate student, and briefly considered becoming an archaeologist before realizing they don’t actually live the life of Indiana Jones. So what was a classical geek armed with a lot of useless knowledge to do? Become a lawyer, of course!

 

After attending law school in Florida, she practiced real estate law for several years before finally admitting to herself that negotiating contracts wasn’t nearly as fun as dreaming up stories. When not writing, you can find her on a boat somewhere along South Florida’s waterways, chasing down a rainbow or pretending to be a pirate.

 

IndieSage PR

Monarch by Belle Whittington

Monarch - Tour Banner

 

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Monarch

SERIES – Cicada Trilogy

AUTHOR – Belle Whittington

GENRE – Soft Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Romance, Action/Adventure, Aliens

PUBLICATION DATE – September 27, 2014

LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 494 Pages

COVER ARTIST – L B Whittington

 

 

Monarch - Book Cover

 

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Blair Reynolds was born to rule. Worlds, that is. Destined to reign over an ancient intergalactic race, it may seem her fate is written in the stars. But she’s willing to risk it all for another chance to spend forever with her true love – even if it means traveling through time and space to the other side of the universe.

As far as Ash is concerned, Blair’s happily-ever-after involves him, not the mere mortal with whom she seems so infatuated. She was bequeathed to him by her father, and Ash will go to any lengths to keep Blair and her true love apart.

And Ash isn’t the only one.

Deep in the jungles of Brazil, where tribal drums call to Blair and her true love, other forces carry out dangerous secret plans.

However, Blair has secrets of her own … secrets so lethal she dares not even remember them.

Secrets so painful they could ruin everything.

Because some secrets kill.

Blair LongLiveTheQueen

 

 

BUY & TBR LINKS

AMAZON KINDLE US – AMAZON KINDLE CA – AMAZON KINDLE UK – AMAZON PAPERBACK – BARNES & NOBLES NOOK – BARNES & NOBLES PAPERBACK – SMASHWORDS – GOODREADS – SHELFARI

 

 

Monarch - Teaser 2

 

 

EXCERPT

I was no longer a bystander to this story. I was the story. Every secret interwoven through the tale I’m about to tell you belongs to me. And the summer I graduated from high school was the summer everything came together in a horrible clash of good versus evil.

Packing up and leaving my small, inconsequential, southeast Texas hometown meant leaving part of myself behind. I said goodbye to the human side of me when we piled into David’s truck and drove away from our home. And I waved farewell to any hope of ever returning as I watched our home slip into the shades of night.

Everything had been turned upside down, and deciding what was good and what was evil was like looking through sunglasses at night. It all washed together in a murky blend of darkness, shadows, and secrets.

My biggest secret of all was one for which I had no answer: which one was I – good or evil? I stuffed that secret deep behind my ribs and swallowed it down.

Some secrets are best kept in the darkness away from prying eyes and those who would seek to face them head-on. Some secrets kill.

Character Bios
 

Blair Reynolds (Main Character)

She thought she’d grow up to be a large animal veterinarian like her grandfather.  But when she turned seventeen, things began to change … not only to her, but to those around her.  Like a cicada leaving its shell, Blair changes from human to become her self-ordained destiny: the Monarch of an ancient intergalactic race.

 

Andrew Reynolds

Blair’s older telepathic brother who also has a sixth sense of knowing things … some call it ESP.  Andrew is an alien-human hybrid – the byproduct of alien experiments done on his mother and grandmother.  He’s a good guy, but things never seem to go his way.

 

Everett Forster

Love interest and über nerd.  His childhood dream was to become an entomologist one day, because of his love of bugs and insects.  However, those plans never come to fruition.  Like Blair, his fate lies elsewhere.  Joining the Resistance took him far from the plans of his boyhood and into the realization that he was meant for grander things … things beyond the human world.

 

Ash

Charming and sexy, flirtatious Ash will stop at nothing to make Blair his own.  There’s not a human bone in his body, but that won’t stop him from having his share of girls on the side.  They don’t matter, though.  All that matters to him is that he fulfills the promise he’d made to Blair’s father to keep her safe and alive.  She’s the only female the warrior general had resolved to marry, and he doesn’t go back on his promises.  Even though she’d devised a way to separate from him and become an alien-human hybrid, it didn’t matter.  As far as he’s concerned, they will still have Royal Children together and lead their people in a new life on this strange planet.

 

David Hargrave

Handsome and brawny, he was the captain of the high school football team and newlywed husband of Natalie, his high school sweetheart.  David is Andrew’s best friend, and thinks of Blair as his own kid sister.  He’s loyal and true, even though his friend is not quite normal— in human terms, anyway.

 

Natalie Hargrave

She loves her new husband and hopes to raise children with him while teaching kindergarten at the local elementary school.  Natalie was Homecoming Queen and a cheerleader in high school.  Even though Blair wouldn’t have been her first choice of friend in school, she becomes her best friend and fashion stylist.  And that all makes for more sadness considering what happens to her.

 

Mom

A secret member of The Resistance, Mom is a closet badass.  While raising her children, she did her best to provide them with a stable home and a normal mother who baked the best cupcakes this side of the Pecos River.  A young widow, she’d started her own bakery, which secretly funded some of the activities of The Resistance.  Who could blame her?  Hers and her husband’s honeymoon had been ruined when she’d been abducted by aliens.

 

Mr. Forster

Everett’s father is a professor of history at a nearby university.  Mom is his love interest, and, like her, he was widowed at a young age and raised his son alone.  Mr. Forster knows all about this alien abduction business, because his wife had also been abducted by aliens the year before Everett was born.

 

Grandpa

A wise old cowboy and local favorite, Grandpa is known by all the townsfolk for being an outstanding large animal veterinarian.  When his son-in-law and grandson were murdered, he took the place of father figure for his remaining grandchildren.  

 

Orion
They’d once called him The Cicada.  Now, he’s known for whom he really is—one of the alien-hybrid sons of Ash’s fling with a jungle girl who died during their birth.  Along with his brother, he’d been given to his alien mother as a gift in hopes that it would heal a broken union.  Orion would do anything for his adopted mother … no matter the consequence.

 

Nyx

Orion’s brother, Nyx is more like Ash.  Though he loves his adopted mother, Nyx favors his father’s affections.  However, to prove his loyalty to his mother … he creates a secret organization meant to keep her safe.  It’s called The Resistance.

 

Xi
Extremely loyal, he’s the alien body guard of the Queen.  He’s massive, covered in tattoos that note his rank, battles won, and his loyalty to the Royal House.  Xi is the commander of the Royal Guard – an elite group of alien soldiers who serve only their Queen.

 

Max

One of only two females, she’s second in command in The Royal Guard. She’s a vicious warrior who also wears tattoos of won conquests and loyalty to The Royal House.  Though she’s cunning with her blade and prefers to wear the blood of her vanquished foes as war paint, Max has a soft side.  Orion is her love interest, and she plans to pair with him.

 

Rake

As medic in The Royal Guard, Rake is able to provide a healing touch to those who are wounded, including the Queen.  Rake is one of the only two females in The Royal Guard and stands almost as tall as the men.  Nyx is her love interest.

 

AUTHOR’S PLAYLIST 

Monarch - Teaser 1

 

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Make sure that you read this in order because it is a trilogy and you will be confused about what is going on in the story. Even though i didnt read the first two, it has peaked my interest in what has happened to this point. The characters are an amazing triangle that has been well developed.  The author did a great job with giving you enough parts to know what is currently going on. Blair has a choice to make will ahe choose true love or what has been chosen. I would not want to be in her shoes that’s for sure.  Everett and Ash are like day and night where they both want her but for their own reasons. However as she starts to remember,  I felt myself starting to get excited to try and see what she would do and who would be picked. Choices will be made! Lives will come undone! This is a story will keep you entertained for hours. I loved reading something fresh and that is different than my normal reads. I enjoyed tha details that the author gave us as the story unfolds.  This is a story about suspense, adventure, and love! All of the characters are well written and I have to say I loved. The plot was original and as I said before will keep you reading. There is a constant flow! Just this third installment had me falling in love with the story!  I love the gorgeous cover that was choseb for this novel! I definitely recommend this but start at the beginning!

 

AUTHOR BIO

Belle was raised in deep East Texas. She now resides somewhere north of Houston, Texas in a small inconsequential town with the smallest, most inconsequential name. There, in the shady reaches of the pines, elms, and oaks, she daydreams adventures and secrets she weaves throughout her stories. She’s the author of CICADA, FIREFLY, and MONARCH, a Young Adult/New Adult cross-over trilogy with excellent reviews. She studied literature and history at University of Houston where Beowulf, Shakespeare’s works, and the history of the Vikings were her favorite topics. Belle is positive her readers and fans are the best in the universe.

 

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – WEBSITE – FACEBOOK – TWITTER – GOOGLE+ – PINTEREST – TUMBLR – GOODREADS – AUTHORGRAPH – BLOG – WATTPAD

Here’s a link to where proposals to have my books made to movies: CLICK HERE

Monarch - Giveaway Image

GIVEAWAY PRIZES

Signed Copy of Monarch

Monarch Jar – Head here to see what they look like

Electric Hum CD by Kyler England

Signed Book Bag

Chocolates from the Chocolate Vault

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monarch - Editors Photo

 

 

 

This tour was organized and hosted by

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Book Blitz – Love Struck by Patrice Wilton

Love Struck

by Patrice Wilton

Series: Serendipity Falls, #3

Genre: Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance

Release Date: December 21, 2014

“LOVE STRUCK” by USA TODAY Best Selling author PATRICE WILTON.

Can Samantha and Kyle resist their attraction and find a way to save the town? The “love bug curse” and the discovery of gold has turned Serendipity Falls into a place where no one is safe.

PROLOGUE


        I’m Cupid, and for those who don’t know about me, I reside in what used to be a beautiful little town in the foothills of Mammoth, California, called Serendipity Falls. You have to forgive me for being less upbeat than usual, but my heart is broken. This once idyllic town has been overrun by people who have no concept of the true meaning of love. For the past several years I took great joy uniting couples in matrimonial bliss, and was very proud of the fact that while weddings abounded, divorces became extinct. Then my ego got the better of me, and I drew attention to myself. People flocked to Serendipity Falls to find love and the truth behind the so called ‘love bug’ in the spring water. Of course, you and I know that no such bug existed–it was just me up to my old tricks. 

        The news carried wide and far, and reporters came to our neck of the woods, eager to learn what the phenomenon was about–this wedding fever that drove strangers toward the altar. Oh, I had been so proud. Even won the National Cupid for Excellence three years running. 

        So what am I complaining about, you ask? Well, last year one of these reporters fell in love with one of our local girls. Yes, I had a little hand in that. I’m not sorry and make no apologies either. They were right for each other, and I never–not once–unite couples who are not a perfect match. 

        Well, this young buck didn’t discover any ‘love bug’–instead he discovered gold behind the falls. His story drew national attention and opened up an unsavory can of worms. People flocked to our little paradise, men seeking their fortune in gold–women seeking husbands.

        This is where my ambling story takes an unfortunate turn.  You see-the women are desperate and have resorted to the most unladylike behavior–fighting one another, setting traps for men. Hundreds arrive by busloads each month, and with Valentine’s Day approaching, I fear a thousand more will get here soon.

        The sad truth is that they have no idea what love is. The meaning of love has been forgotten, or perhaps in some cases, never learned. 

        With a heavy heart, I watch and pray that common sense will prevail and the crazy antics will stop. Until that day happens, I am going to retire my trusty bow and arrow. I want no part of this.        

        Love cannot be forced. It cannot be controlled. It cannot be tricked, or trapped. Love is setting someone free, and wanting that person’s happiness more than their own. It is unselfish. It is considerate and caring. And it is the essence of joy.

When those lessons have been learned I will embrace my love making skills again, but until then silence will be my answer.    

CHAPTER ONE

        Kyle wiped down a spill on the bar as his brother Devon slammed the register closed. “What’s the matter with you?” Kyle asked, dropping the beer stained towel in the small bar sink.

        “Just tired. It was another good night, though, so I can’t complain.” Devon rubbed his bad knee as he eyed the crowd around the two pool tables. “And pretty quiet, all things considered.”

        “Not quiet enough. I gave those guys ‘last call’ twenty minutes ago, but don’t see anyone making a move.” Kyle didn’t care for the new crowd. The regulars were a different bunch, but lately the place was swarming with guys who wanted to get lucky with women, or had come to town in search of gold. Either way they were rude and obnoxious.

        “We’ll give them another fifteen, then pull the plug. I told Tara I’d be home before midnight. She hates me driving so late–ever since that city slicker missed the bend, and flew over the cliff. I told her a zillion times that he wasn’t a local and didn’t know the turns, but she worries anyway.”

        “That’s what women do–worry.” Kyle grinned, still shocked that his older brother had happily taken the marital plunge. “One of the many reasons I don’t go there. I’d hate to see a gorgeous gal like Tara get gray hairs over me.”

        “As if! When was the last time you went on a date? Three, four months ago?” He scoffed. “You must be the biggest chicken in town.” Devon flapped his arms, which looked kind of silly for a macho, six foot two,  muscular guy. “Cluck, cluck, cluck.”

        “Very funny.” Kyle snorted and continued to stack the beer glasses. “I’m no fool. Like things just the way they are.”

        As he spoke the words, he realized they weren’t true. He’d enjoyed Mammoth and the quaint little town of Serendipity when they’d been peaceful and quiet. That life was gone forever. Ever since gold was discovered last spring behind the falls, the place exploded and became a boomtown. Crazies flocked into the area–women camping out, looking for their future husbands. Some actually carried lassoes in their big handbags, even snare traps. Scary shit.

        The damn love bug thing is what drew Chase, who used to be a reporter for the San Francisco News, into the area in the first place. He didn’t discover the existence of the love bug in the spring water, but he did get the story of a lifetime. A meteor crash caused moldavite formations, which led him to the discovery of gold, of all damn things. Until Chase went searching for the source, everyone in Serendipity had been happy enough with the mysterious love bug theories.

        For better or worse, Chase Carlton changed the dynamics. Not intentionally, of course. He was a stand-up guy, and had married their sister Mila last summer, then knocked her up to boot.

        That mitigating factor made Kyle the only single O’Reilley left. He guarded his independence as though it was the American Declaration for equality and liberty, and it might slip away any second. Not that he had any complaints because his siblings were happy, but he doubted it was the water, or something magical in the mountain air that had brought them together. Watching Devon with Tara, and Mila with Chase, he could see their love was real.

        “I can’t really blame you for running scared,” Devon said. “Did you see that busload of women on the news earlier?”

        “Getting off at the mall, wearing ‘MARRY ME’ t-shirts?” Kyle sighed. “Yeah. The reporter said the ladies hope to be hitched by Valentine’s Day.”

        “Damn. I nearly forgot. That’s coming up soon.”

        “Can’t forget, bro,” Kyle laughed. “It’s two weeks from now. Better buy Tara flowers or something pretty.”

        “I’m sure she’ll give me a hint. She likes to make life easy.”

        “You got lucky, but the rest of us…heck, all the good women are gone.” There were days when Kyle thought about moving to Hawaii. At least the locals only had erupting volcanoes to worry about. And a possible Tsunami, which seemed mild in comparison to what he dealt with on a daily basis.

         As a single man, and not exactly unattractive, he had to keep his head low and his fly zipped. He was the most endangered species around. Far more threatened than the Bald Eagle or the Giant Panda.

        He and Dev ran the most popular bar in town, and with all those hungry, single babes, well, the place got hot. Cat fights broke out whenever an unsuspecting new guy appeared. They’d had to hire a bodyguard/bartender named Flex, and he helped put out the fires, but the two brothers had also become adept at squashing brawls before the place got wrecked.

        Devon sighed, staring at the group still playing pool as he rubbed the back of his neck. “Things sure have changed from a few years ago.”

        “Are you sorry you didn’t listen to me when I tried to talk you into selling?”

        “No. Not at all. We got lucky,” Devon shook his head. “Finances were tight as hell. But then the boom came. Saved our asses.”

        “Bad part is that with the cash came the crazies.” Kyle shrugged his shoulders. “One problem got solved, but others took its place. Gotta fight the IRS, who want to get their greedy hands on the profits, and then we have these, these…” he sputtered, searching for the right word. “These men-eating women!”        

        Devon just laughed. “I remember the time you’d have thought you’d died and gone to heaven with all the young ladies chasing you.”

        “Key word is ladies. That’s not what we’ve got here.”

        The clock ticked at 10:55 p.m. “Closing time,” he called out, loud enough for everyone to here. “I’ll lock up,” he said quietly to Devon, and headed toward the door.

        Halfway there, the door swung open and a pretty young woman strolled in. Pretty was a vast understatement. She looked like she came from Sweden or Norway with her thick blonde mane of hair falling straight past her shoulders. In any language, she was a knockout. Striking blue eyes–as clear and wide as the lake near the falls.

        She brushed past him without making eye contact and headed straight for the bar. He followed her, his eyes on the curve of her hips. Nice ass. And long, forever legs.

         Normally this time of year heavy winter coats hid a woman’s best assets, but she wore jeans and a short leather jacket. Kyle allowed himself a moment’s appreciation.

        “I’ll have a Chardonnay, please.” She slid onto the stool, putting both elbows on the bar, supporting her head with her hands.

        Kyle eyed her for a moment. She was either exhausted or drunk. Either way, he didn’t intend on serving her. Knockout or no knockout. “Sorry, Miss. But we’re just closing.” He jerked his thumb at the clock on the wall. “Eleven o’clock.”

        She popped open an eye, squinted and looked at the clock behind the bar. “It’s five to. I’ll drink fast.”

        Kyle leaned in her direction, wondering if there would be tell-tale signs of booze on her breath.        You all right? Haven’t been drinking, have you?”

        Devon coughed into his fist at Kyle’s rude remark, but Kyle shrugged. He rinsed the towel from the sink, and started wiping the bar down. Last thing they needed was to be found negligible serving a minor, or someone who’d had too much to drink and wrapped themselves around a pole.        

        She pulled herself up, lifted her chin and shot him a look that should have sent him straight to hell. “I haven’t had anything but water all day.” Her voice quivered, and her blue eyes shimmered.

         Kyle felt his resolve melt as he watched the tears appear.

        “I’ve been driving for darn near sixteen hours straight. Got to Serendipity Falls and they’d given away my room for the night. Said I was late and they couldn’t hold my reservation.”

        “That’s rotten luck. You probably should have called to let them know you were on your way,” Kyle said, taking some of the asshole out of his voice.

        She ignored his not-so-helpful comment. “I ran around everywhere. Not one single room to be found.” She sniffed and tried to smile, but the attempt failed dismally. “Now give me that drink, or I’m likely to have a meltdown right here and now.”

         Kyle, feeling like a jerk, looked at Devon, who nodded. “You need something to eat? We’ve got bar snacks. Not much, I’m afraid, but our hotdogs are pretty good.”

        “That’s nice of you, but no. I grabbed a bite to eat at the diner before driving up here. The one that overlooks the falls.” She wiped away a tear that had seeped out the corner of her eye and trickled down her cheek. “The waitress there, Sue something, she gave me a big bowl of home-made chili and fresh baked bread.”

        “Sue Burke’s a heck of a nice woman,” Kyle said, pouring a generous glass of wine and sliding it over to her. “Also makes the best soups in town.”

        “Uh-huh.” She plopped her head in her hand again, as if too tired to hold it up. “Would have had my wine there, but I didn’t know how far up the mountain I had to go.”

        “Good thing. The road can be dangerous at night.” Kyle normally didn’t engage in conversation with pretty young women, but she seemed more interested in her glass of wine, so he relaxed his guard a notch. “Take your time. We’ll need to start moving our customers toward the door soon. Probably won’t empty out until half past, sometimes closer to midnight.”

        She nodded, thanked him, and took a long swallow. Then another. “I still need to find a place to sleep.” She glanced around at the twenty or so people hanging around. “You know of a cheap motel where I can stay?”

        Devon stopped rinsing glasses and stepped forward. “I do. My place.”

           Her eyes widened. “I’m desperate, but not that desperate. Besides, I’m not that kind of girl.”

        Devon laughed. “My wife and I own a B&B. Someone checked out this morning. We have one room which might still be available. I’d have to check with Tara to be sure.”

        “Please do. That would be great.”

        Devon walked to the other side of the bar to make the call.

        Kyle couldn’t seem to get his feet moving. He wasn’t sure why, but this woman’s plight struck a chord in him. “Things will work out,” he told her. “If not Devon’s, I’ll call around and find you a place.”

        “Why are you being so kind all of a sudden?” Her eyes grazed his face, and she frowned. “No one goes out of their way for strangers. There’s always an angle.”

        “They do here in Mammoth and down in Serendipity Falls. It’s the friendliest place in the nation. At least, it used to be.”

        “So I heard, but not for me tonight.”

        “Give it some time. You’ll see.”

        “Hey, Kyle. Another Cosmo before you close down,” someone shouted from the back of the room.

        “You’ve had enough,” Kyle shouted back. “Closing time, folks.  Drink up and drive safely. We’ll see you all back here tomorrow.”

        Over the boos and hisses, a male voice spoke up. “You just served the lady a drink. One more round. Come on,” he coaxed. “One last call.”

        “Last call was a half hour ago. Maybe you didn’t hear it.”

        Devon was on the phone with Tara, and he put his hand to his throat, telling Kyle to cut them off.

        “We’re done here, folks.” Kyle raised his voice. “It’s quitting time.”

        “I’m sorry. If I hadn’t come in…” the pretty woman spoke softly, and lifted her eyes. Kyle saw the two blue ponds brimming with tears.

        Kyle could see she was close to losing it. The long drive. Hotel room gone. It had been a hellova day and she looked set for a weeping jag. “Don’t be. They’re always one or two assholes in the crowd.”

        Devon came back with a smile. “You’re in luck. We’ve still got one room, and my wife, Tara, is holding it for you. You can follow me when I leave. It’s about half way between us and Serendipity.”

        “Back the other way?” She took another sip of her wine, her expression cautious. “Perhaps I’d better stay in town.” She fingered the stem of her glass. “Not that I’m not grateful. Just…you know.”

        She shrugged but her eyes said it all. She didn’t know him, and hesitated over trusting him.

        Devon rested his hip against the bar. “It’s getting late, and you don’t want to be running all over town looking for a room, do you?”

        A guy with a ponytail and a baseball cap stood leaning against a pole, where he’d been watching her with drunken interest. He stepped closer and put a hand on her shoulder. “Hey, girl. If you’re looking for a bed tonight, you can share mine.” He laughed. “Don’t need to worry about a jealous wife. Ain’t got one.”

        “Back off, Billy. Go home. You’ve had enough beer for one night,” Kyle told him, his jaw set.

        “Mind your own business, Kyle. I’m about to get lucky with this pretty lady here.” His arm tightened around her shoulders and he pulled her close. He smiled, breathing fumes into her face. “If you’re here to find a man, you don’t need to look any further.”

        She shrugged his arm off of her, and twisted away. “I’m not looking for a man. Just a hotel room.”

        “A pretty thing like you shouldn’t be alone tonight.” Billy said with a leer. “I’ll give you a good old-fashioned welcome. Show you how friendly us locals can be.”

        “Enough,” Kyle said, annoyed that this woman was getting harassed in his bar. He poured half a beer and beckoned Billy. As soon as the guy was close enough, Kyle popped him on the jaw and watched him stagger back.  “That’s no way to treat a lady. Now, get out.”

        Billy recovered quickly and came after Kyle, who stepped out of arm range, and danced light on his feet like a prize fighter. Billy continued to flail his arms, attempting in his inebriated state to reach Kyle, who should have known better than to taunt him with tight jabs and fancy footwork. Just maybe he was showing off a little.

        “You had enough?” Kyle said, putting down his hands. “Why don’t you go home and sleep it off.”

        “Just about done.” Billy, cross-eyed, delivered a right hook, which Kyle managed to dodge. After that everything happened in slow motion.

        The shot directed at Kyle’s chin missed its mark, connecting with the woman at the bar. She cried out, and toppled off the barstool.

        Devon moved quickly, grabbing Billy by his ponytail and forcefully taking him out to the street. Kyle leaped into action, crouching at the woman’s side. Remorse, anger, and shame warred inside of him. He’d been a fool to taunt Billy. And this poor girl had taken the brunt of the fist. A damn fine welcome she’d had in this once friendly town.

        “I’m sorry. This is entirely my fault.” He touched her shining hair, wanting to do something crazy, like take her in his arms and hold her tight. Poor kid. Her bad day had just gotten a whole lot worse.

        She shook his hand off and edged away.

        “Are you all right?” he asked gently. “That fist was meant for me. You didn’t deserve it.” She was scrunched over and he couldn’t see her face.

        He stood, offering her his hand. She didn’t take it.

        “He just grazed me,” she whispered. “But it was the shock that scared me.” She stood up slowly, brushing off her jeans, and then pushed her hair out of her eyes. They were wide, alert, but not frightened.

        “Are you sure?” He touched her chin gently, turning her face from side to side, inspecting it for bruises. “It’s a little pink, right here,” he touched the side of her cheek. His voice sounded weird to his own ears. He cleared his throat. “Is it sore?”

        “No.” She shook her head. “I’m not hurt.”

        “Damn.” He’d known Billy for years, and had never seen him act out before. He’d had more to drink than normal, but that was no excuse for his actions tonight. “This place doesn’t usually get rowdy, but with all the strangers lately, well, we never know what to expect.”

        “It’s all right. I grew up with two brothers. I’m used to a few wild punches.”

        They stood close to each other, staring into each other’s eyes. Kyle couldn’t look away. Seemed like she couldn’t either.

        “What’s your name?” He licked his dry lips, watching her mouth. He liked the shape of it. Lush, pink lips, slightly open. Kissable lips, a mouth that could drive a man crazy. Not Billy crazy, but thinking about how fine they’d taste, and how he’d like to suck on that bottom lip…

        “It’s Samantha,” she said in a husky voice, as if she were having trouble breathing. “I go by Sam.”

        “Nice to meet you, Sam. I’m Kyle O’Reilley, and that’s my brother, Devon. You can trust him. He and Tara will take good care of you, I promise.”

        “You’ve both been so kind,” she said, putting her hand to her throat. “Devon, thanks for calling your wife. What about you, Kyle? Married?”

        Kyle took an instinctive step backward, seeing the overly-bright sheen in her eyes. His body reacted to her husky voice. Not good, man. Not good.

        His antenna went on full survival alert. “Well, Sam, truth is, when it comes to single women and husband shopping, I’m a little gun shy.”

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Patrice Wilton knew from the age of twelve that she wanted to write books that would take the reader to faraway places. She was born in Vancouver, Canada, and had a great need to see the world that she had read about.

Patrice became a flight attendant for seventeen years and traveled the world. At the age of forty she sat down to write her first book—in longhand! Her interests include tennis, golf, and writing stories for women of all ages.

She is the proud mother of two, has four lovely grand-daughters, and a wonderful man at her side. They live in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he teaches her golf, and she teaches him patience. She is a USA Today Best Selling author.