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Rhonda Lee Carver: Brand New Release — Protecting His Second Chance (Excerpt)
Friday, March 24th, 2023

I have a new release!!!
Read a snippet below!


Protecting His Second Chance

Plagued with guilt after her brother’s death, a grieving woman has a chance at a second chance.

Living in a haze of mistrust and tragedy, Chosen Shaw has closed herself off from everyone. Once known for her ability to see things that can help others, she’s now the woman who killed her brother.

Bend Ryder is the new sheriff in town and has a mess to clean up after the last one met an untimely death. He’s eating, sleeping and breathing a cold case involving a mysterious kidnapping, and is willing to do anything to solve the case—even if that includes looking outside of the box. Truthfully, he doesn’t believe Chosen has a “gift” but enlisting her help might be his only hope.

But, she’s left that world behind. Can he convince her to help?

Soon, they find themselves embroiled in another kidnapping.

The two find a solid connection, despite the pressures all around them. As trust and romance grow, the demons of the past start to build walls. They have a tight hold on her emotionally and physically. If she has any chance for a future with the man she loves, she must absolve herself from the guilt and let love heal her heart…and help solve a crime that has been a dark cloud over Second Chance.

Protecting His Second Chance is a story of grief, guilt, angst, redemption, and a happily ever after. Love is the ultimate healer.

Buy links:
Amazon US:
Amazon Ca:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:

Chapter One

“It’s okay. This happens to all men.” The seductive blonde brushed her fingers down his bare abs.

Bend Ryder drew his hand away from his forehead and looked down at the woman curled up beside him in his bed. She peered up at him through a veil of thick eyelashes and her plump lips slowly eased into a teasing grin. Farrah was new in town, visiting after her uncle, Sheriff Jackson Mellough, met an untimely death on Snowbleed Mountain.

Two days after his private funeral, the town of Second Chance elected Bend to office—or rather dumped the duties into his lap and expected him to clean up the mess. Since then, he’d been busy undoing everything Mellough had done over his long career.

Farrah slid her fingers along the waistband of his boxers. “It’s the stress.” Her slight movement caused the sheet to slip away from her hip. A diamond glistened at her belly button and a quarter sized heart tattoo sat an inch above her pelvic bone. Sweat beaded Bend’s brow and he cursed under his breath.

“Maybe I can help solve the problem,” she purred.

She shifted to her knees, but Bend caught her shoulders in a gentle grip. Her chin snapped up and she nailed him with her brooding brown gaze. The tip of her tongue slid over her bottom lip as if to remind him what he was missing.

A woman as beautiful and desirable as Farrah had never faced this problem, he surmised, even if she tried to pacify his ego by saying this sort of thing happened all the time. A streak of disappointment sliced through him. Truthfully, he’d never had this particular issue before tonight.

Maybe it was the stress.

“I don’t think this is going to work.” He kicked the sheet away from his feet and slid to the edge of the bed. “Sorry.” He stood, glancing down at her. She now had the sheet tight against her breasts as if she were saving the view for someone worthy.

Damn. He was broken.

Grabbing his jeans off the floor, he stepped into them. He realized her gaze was still on him, maybe expecting him to change his mind? He continued to pull his clothes on.

“I think I know what’s happening.” She bounced on the springy mattress, her smile returning.

“Then you mind explaining it to me?” What he wanted was for her to get dressed and leave so he could lick his wounded pride in peace.

“That case you’ve been working on. The cold case with the missing child. Something like that could just about wear down anyone.” She grabbed her cellphone from the nightstand and scrolled through the screen, giggling. “Do you have TikTok, cowboy?”

“Nope.” He turned his back to her.

“You should. These videos are so weird but they’re funny. Anyway, we could make a video with you asking the public for help. We can do that now.”

“I’ll think about it.” But he knew he wouldn’t. He didn’t want anything to do with social media, and he especially didn’t want to look at her. He was embarrassed, and no doubt this would be the first and last time he and Farrah would be naked together. She didn’t need to waste her time on a man who just dipped out on her.

The case of the missing five-year-old, Bradley Hoffman, did weigh heavily on Bend’s shoulders. Once he’d taken over as sheriff, he’d gone through the unsolved cases in the area and something about the information—or rather the lack there of—set off alarm bells in his head. For the last two months, Bend had been eating, sleeping, breathing the mysterious kidnapping. The boy had been riding his bike alone and he vanished from the dead-end road leading to the apartment complex where he and his mother lived. The bike had been found but the boy was gone. Mom’s call to Mellough didn’t come until the next day. Not one witness came forward and out of the ten or so people interviewed no one saw anything suspicious.

“It’s not called a cold case for no reason.” Farrah pushed herself off the bed, completely confident in her nude body.

He slowly fastened each button on his shirt while he watched her dress. She even did that with an air of seduction. He’d be kicking himself in the ass for days—maybe longer. He hadn’t been with a woman in months, and his dry spell wouldn’t be ended today. “I’ve turned over every stone, every piece of dirt, and I’ve found nothing. How can a child disappear without a trace?” He dropped down on the end of the bed and dragged over his boots.

Once she had her romper into place, she flounced over and plopped down beside him. “You’re being too hard on yourself. Jackson had been a lot of things, but one thing’s for certain, he loved the attention a solved, high-profile case brought him. Maybe this case isn’t solvable?”

Bend had never been a quitter. He wouldn’t have taken the job unless he knew wholeheartedly that he was a right fit, and had the right intentions. He agreed that Mellough loved his ego being stroked, but the man also had a lazy streak the size of Montana. “Every case is solvable.”

Farrah laid her hand on his shoulder. He liked her, but happily ever after just wasn’t in the cards for them. They enjoyed hanging out, grabbing a beer on occasion and discussing life. Although she could be a bit flighty and ran through men like an out-of-control bulldozer, she also had a good head on her shoulders. She had a lot of dreams for her future. Earlier, they’d been downstairs in Crew and Brew shooting some pool when out of the blue she asked if she could see his bedroom.

The rest was history…literally.

“Hey, it’s important that you stay ahead of this. You’re better than my bastard of an uncle. People don’t doubt this, so don’t doubt yourself. There will be plenty of cases.”

He offered her a smile. “You’re a good woman, Farrah.”

“I know.” She stood and jutted her chin at the crumpled bed sheets. “And that’s why I’m not going to let this bother me.”

“Trust me. This isn’t about you.”

Connect with Rhonda Lee Carver

Street Team:

Anna Taylor Sweringen/Michal Scott: Mary Ellen Pleasant — The Little Woman Who Really Started the Civil War (Contest + Excerpt)
Thursday, March 16th, 2023

UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!

When Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, he is quoted as saying, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” While Uncle Tom’s Cabin stirred the hearts and minds of many against slavery, Mary Ellen Pleasant struck an actual blow against it.

Born free in 1814, Pleasant was brought to Nantucket to work as an indentured servant for the Husseys, an abolitionist Quaker family in whose store she developed a knack for business. While with the Husseys, Mary encountered the blacks of Newtown who grew into a prosperous middle-class thanks to the whaling industry. She married James Smith, an abolitionist who identified as Hispanic. They hobnobbed with the abolitionists of Boston and helped runaways get to Canada. Upon Smith’s death, Mary inherited a sizable fortune and continued her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. In 1848, she married John Pleasants, a former slave and abolitionist who worked with her for twenty years against slavery.

She moved to San Francisco during the gold rush of 1849 and created wealth as a commodity trader, a money lender, and owner of businesses like laundries and lodgings and the Bank of California. She continued her abolitionist activities by using her money to help slaves escape from their masters who brought them there. Her ultimate contribution to the cause of ending slavery came in 1858 when she went to Canada and gave John Brown $45,000, $1.3 million in today’s dollars, for the raid on Harper’s Ferry. She laid claim to being the author of the note found on him when he was executed. She dictated an account of this in 1904’s How A Colored Woman Aided John Brown.

Her fight for civil rights in San Francisco continued when she brought two racial discrimination suits against streetcar companies in San Francisco, both ultimately settled in her favor. She established black schools and fought for the repeal of Jim Crow laws, earning her the nickname, “The Mother of Human Rights in California.” In his book Black Fortunes, Shomari Wills shares how she amassed a fortune of $30 million dollars, making her one of America’s first black millionaires.

It never ceases to amaze me how women like Mary Ellen Pleasant used the skills they had, in her case, the talents of a cook and domestic with a keen eye for business, to make life better not only for themselves but for others as well. Being a philanthropist was just a way of life.

In Black Fortunes, I learned her last days weren’t free from the drama racism wreaks upon the lives of pioneers like her, but thanks to this video done on her by a local San Francisco TV station during Black History month she at least has been given her due for posterity…

For a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card, leave a comment on what you think about Mary Ellen’s life.

Better to Marry than to Burn

Wife Wanted: Marital relations as necessary. Love not required nor sought…

A bridal lottery seems the height of foolishness to ex-slave Caesar King, but his refusal to participate in the town council’s scheme places him in a bind. He has to get married to avoid paying a high residence fine or leave the Texas territory. After losing his wife in childbirth, Caesar isn’t ready for romance. A woman looking for a fresh start without any emotional strings is what he needs.

Queen Esther Payne, a freeborn black from Philadelphia, has been threatened by her family for her forward-thinking, independent ways. Her family insists she marry. Her escape comes in the form of an ad. If she must marry, it will be on her terms. But her first meeting with the sinfully hot farmer proves an exciting tussle of wills that stirs her physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

In the battle of sexual one-upmanship that ensues, both Caesar and Queen discover surrender can be as fulfilling as triumph.


Why would a woman of obvious education and means be willing to brave the hardships of life out West as an ex-slave’s mail order bride? With grave ceremony, he withdrew, unfolded, and then read the letter.

Dear Mr. King,

My name is Queen Esther Payne. I read your ad and found your inquiry both refreshing and intriguing. I stand five feet six and weigh one hundred forty pounds. All of my six brothers will attest that I am no wallflower and do not fear hard work. Also as I come from one of the most respectable families on Lombard Street, my Philadelphian stock guarantees I have the ability and the requisite knowledge to help you establish a legacy in Douglass. I can commit to the two years you require, provided the marital relations are limited to the “as necessary” stated in your ad. I am willing to negotiate if more than two years are required.

I have only had relations with women, so you need not fear I will fall in love with you. Thus your “love neither required nor sought” dictum proves no obstacle. However, my woman-loving-woman proclivities may disqualify me in your eyes. If so, I await your refusal. If not, I anticipate your proposal.

Queen Esther Payne.

Caesar read and reread the line again.

I have only had relations with women, so you need not fear I will fall in love with you.

His Emma had only known women too until she united with him. Could fate be so kind as to smile upon him twice?

Buy link:

Krysten Lindsay Hager: What I Wish I Had Known as a Teen (Excerpt)
Friday, March 10th, 2023

Looking back on your teen years isn’t always the most fun thing, but as a young adult author (who also has a tween series), I often find myself doing that. When I do events or book clubs, the readers always end up asking me about my own experiences back in those days, and sometimes I cringe thinking about those times. I actually have a chunk of time from early high school that I blocked out, but the later years and middle school years are still with me. Sometimes, life can feel like we never left high school or middle school as I still encounter mean girls and drama. But seeing as readers ask me for advice, I thought I’d share today a few things I wish I had known back then.

  • In my books, one of the big themes is embracing what makes you unique or special. We often focus on trying to fit in, but I find life opens up when we embrace what makes us different. It took me years to realize that things that made me different were the things that made me a writer such as looking at the world in a different way and sitting back and observing others.
  • Not all friendships are meant to last forever. No one likes hearing that or even thinking about it, but I think we often stay in friendships because of a shared history or because we’ve had a lot of time together. I still have friends from those years, but I’ve also had friendships that have run their course and that’s okay. People change—we’re supposed to—and what was once a close bond doesn’t always last. Values change, interests, and other things change and it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Wish the other person well and root for them from afar.
  • It’s okay if not everyone likes you. You’re not supposed to be for everyone. Even your favorite singer/writer/actress has haters. In fact, when you feel down, go read reviews of your favorite celebrity and you’ll see no one is universally loved. Just cherish the people who do get you.


Here’s an excerpt from my pop star romance Cecily Taylor Series:

“Must be nice to have a hot pop star text you. Do you think he will contact you again?” Lila asked.

If he doesn’t, then I’ll die and probably never leave my room again. “I hope he does. I’d be seriously bummed if I—” Get dumped, get blocked online, see he’s dating someone else. “—don’t hear from him again,” I said.

“Does anyone else know he was the reason Zach got so mad at you when he walked in on Andrew trying to kiss you at the video premiere?”

“No, Zach didn’t tell anyone. I feel like it’d be weird if I told people that’s what happened. Like they wouldn’t believe me and think I was making it up to get attention,” I said.

“Yeah, I already heard a few people saying stuff.”

My stomach dropped. “Like what?”

“Huh? Oh…nothing major.” She gripped the steering wheel. “It’s impossible to find a spot on the street on a weekend.” I pressed her again, and she shrugged. “There’s a couple comments on his social media pages.”

Pulling out my phone, I went to the video’s link online and the first comment that came up was:

NoOneAndrewFan: Why did they pick HER out of all the girls in the world?

CaliGirlTwo: They couldn’t find any better than that chick?

Holidate008: She’s like if the word “plain,” was a person.

 MusicIsLife: I think the point is that she’s not supposed to be hot, you guys Holidate008: I think she’s supposed to be the opposite of that other girl in the video.

CaliGirlTwo: Obviously Andrew has a jealous girlfriend and told him to find blah girls to be in his video.

SleepAllDayz: I bet Andrew’s managers don’t want his fans to be jealous of any of the girls they cast in his videos. Mission accomplished.

Meghynn: Seriously, I’ve seen cuter girls walking down my street and I live out in the sticks.

KellyKellz: I bet the other actress said they couldn’t cast another hot girl.

Meghynn: Andrew obviously didn’t do the casting for this one.

Holidateforever: Wow! Seems like no one has anything nice to say, all you guys want to do is trash people. if you don’t like what Andrew’s doing in his video… then bye!

TeenaRoger: Guys, Andrew would hate all these negative vibes! If you don’t have anything good to say about his work then don’t follow his page, don’t listen to his music, and DON’T bother commenting.

 Holidateforever: I think she’s pretty. Jealousy isn’t cute, you guys.

“Oh crap. I didn’t even think to look at the comments before now. I guess it was so surreal to think I was actually in a music video that it didn’t even occur to me to go on and see what people were saying,” I said as my face burned with embarrassment. “Has everyone at school seen these?”

“Don’t worry about it. People suck and if it makes you feel any better, a lot of people at school aren’t even talking about it because they don’t want you to get all stuck up,” she said.

That was supposed to make me feel better?

“I was barely in the video. Why is everyone attacking me for a five second spot?” I asked trying to keep myself from crying.

“It sucks. I wish Andrew was here and he could just wrap you in a blanket and make you a cup of tea,” Lila said.

I laughed despite the fact I was trying not to throw up on myself. “Yup, like the perfect boyfriend.”

Find my books here in Kindle Unlimited:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of young adult, middle grade, and contemporary romance. Krysten writes because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you laugh, cry, & swoon.

Along with relationships, her novels deal with self-doubt, finding where you belong, true friendship, & soulmates.


Deb Robinson: Unexpected Meet-Cute — Introducing Cass and Zane (Excerpt)
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

It’s crazy to think we’re already in February. Here in Australia, we have one more month of summer and to be honest, it hasn’t been much of one. We’ve had a lot of mild, overcast days which I’m hoping is a sign of another mild winter to come.

Like our gracious host, I also enjoy reading about National days (regardless of where I live) and have featured a few on my Instagram during January. My fave so far—12th Jan, Kiss a Ginger Day. My sister is a redhead, and my nephew (not a redhead) got a big kick out of it. They were on holidays at the time, and he was quick to report that he kissed his mum for me.

Today is National Weather person’s day which I like because the FMC in my current work in progress is a weathergirl. Cassidy is a bubbly, happy-go-lucky twenty-two-year-old who has been doing the nightly weather segments for the past year.

We meet Cass in the middle of the action and rather than tell you about it, I’d love to share this little teaser:

As Cassidy Symons entered the lavish foyer of the Whitney Resort and Spa, her daily mantra rang in her head. You’ve got this. You’re a strong and confident woman.

On any other day, she was. But she was about to face her toughest challenge to date, the thought causing her insides to somersault.

She’d practically grown up in this sophisticated and open foyer, with its sweeping polished marble staircase, crisp white columns and mahogany reservations desk. The clusters of white, plush sofas and armchairs where she’d sat waiting for her father to finish work for the day. The plush teal carpet, a perfect contrast against the super shiny white marble tiles. This space had been her home away from home.

She spied her father across the hallway, invested in a conversation with Gordon and Paul Whitney. Over the years, all three men had loomed as large figures to her pre-teen self and now, while she wasn’t exactly tall, she no longer needed to crane her neck for eye contact.

Her father had summoned her here and she knew why. She had her arguments at the ready. There was no way she’d accept the proposal that was about to be put to her.

The three men turned their attention to her and her footsteps slowed as hesitation swelled, engulfing her with one swift bite. She… she couldn’t do it. She’d let them talk her into the absurd arrangement and her happy-go-lucky, spirited persona would be no more. She’d be pulled into a world of duty and propriety. Panic took its hold.

With a desperate breath, her gaze stalled on a guy about her age and height standing in front of the staircase, camera in his hand as he perused the screen.

‘There you are, honey!’ The words tore from her mouth as cute, hazel eyes met hers. Well aware the three men were watching; she pressed her lips against the cute guy’s mouth and kissed him with passion worthy of a role on Home and Away.


Zane Browne fell into the kiss with ease. If a woman wanted to kiss him like that, who was he to argue? With closed eyes, his other senses gained control. Her lips were lively, friendly. She tasted like strawberries and smelled like pears, the fruity combination nourishing his insides. Giggles corrupted the moment and he knew they belonged to the three young girls he’d just finished photographing as part of a family portrait package.

When those soft and vigorous lips left his, his eyes opened to the most beautiful, baby blues he was sure he’d ever seen. They were his weakness but right now, hers were wild bordering on frantic. There was definite panic within their gorgeous hue. Was she trying to avoid someone?

‘Please help me,’ came the whispered plea.

‘Okay.’ He let his gaze widen, taking in her tight mouth and brunette coloured hair that stopped just above her shoulders and was full of soft curls. And had her shoulders just dropped with relief at his acceptance? He took in the red sundress with white polka dots as a thought crossed his mind. The woman looked familiar but that lip smacking moment had him unable to put a name to her face.

‘Follow my…’


He and Miss Sweet Lips turned in unison and he locked eyes with an older guy in a seriously expensive looking suit.

‘Hello, Dad.’

He’d never kissed a woman in front of her father before, so this was getting interesting. When her fingers touched his bicep, curiosity and the temptation of an adventure had him by the balls.

That excerpt was from The Freelancer, Book 3 of 5 Shades of Brothers Browne series. This fake relationship, contemporary romance will be due for release later this year, but in the meantime, books 1 and 2 in the series are available through Amazon and KU – Buy both for $2.35

And if you have a thing for Tradies, be sure to check out Mister Tradie, an Instalove vs. slow burn, steamy novella for 99 cents on Amazon and KU

About Deb Robinson

Deb’s just a humble little writer who loves what she does. She lives with her lovely husband in their little haven in Melbourne, Australia. She loves all things romance and believes it takes many forms. Her current catalogue consists of hot, contemporary romance under two series: 5 Shades of Brothers Browne and A Sexy Tradie Novella.

She very recently joined TikTok and you can follow her @debrobinsonbooks
Follow Deb Robinson on her official Facebook page
Follow on Twitter @DRobinsonbooks
Follow on Instagram @debrobinsonbooks

Brent Archer: New Zealand — Beauty Around Every Corner (Excerpt from MEMORIES OF COROMANDEL)
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

In March of 2009, I was lucky enough to have a friend from college staying in Auckland for a couple of years. When she told me she was coming back to the States, I headed south of the Equator to visit before I lost the free place to stay and the local guide (and to see her, of course). Foolishly, I thought twelve days was plenty of time to see both islands of New Zealand with time to spare. I barely saw the north end of the smaller north island, and I didn’t see probably half of what that magical place had to offer. My friend told me there was beauty around every corner. Wow, was she right!

The Coromandel Peninsula has to be one of the most incredible places on earth. Beautiful beaches, dense fern forests, and commanding vistas. I’ve never see so many stars under a moonless, night sky laying on a beach with the soundtrack of waves gently hitting the sand. In the morning, exotic shells lay scattered all over the sand while the sun rose over the Pacific Ocean. I knew I had to write about this special trip.

In Memories of Coromandel, MacKenzie Wright had spent mere weeks in New Zealand on a work trip three years prior, but he’d met a guy and fell hard. Erik Parata had left his mark on MacKenzie, and he hadn’t found anyone to even come close to Erik since he’d left and broke both of their hearts.

MacKenzie’s well-meaning bestie and workmate, Alicia, manipulated a three-month work trip for MacKenzie back to Auckland, and almost immediately, MacKenzie stumbles into Erik one morning at the beach near Hahei. Their relationship steams ahead, and finally, MacKenzie has to make a choice: hurt Erik again and leave or give up the security of the life he’d built from nothing in Seattle.

You can order the seventh book of Rain City Tales, Memories of Coromandel on Amazon or Kobo. Checkout Brent’s website for the other Rain City Tales and for more details on upcoming books.

Excerpt from Memories of Coromandel:

The first morning glimmers of sunlight filtered in through the cabin’s curtained window. MacKenzie blinked and rubbed the granules of sleep out of his eyes. Taking his bearings, he pushed himself out of the single bed and tugged on his board shorts. Beach time.

Rifling around in his bag, he found a tank top and pulled it over his head. He slipped on his sandals, snagged his keys, and shuffled out of the small cabin. After a quick stop at the cinderblock building housing the toilets and showers, he headed to the thin, sandy trail between the grass-covered dunes toward the sound of waves washing against the shore.

A flush of pink over the horizon merging with the dark blue of the clear sky met his gaze when he reached the beach. A few stars still twinkled, but the predawn glow dimmed their light. He kicked off his sandals, feeling his feet sink slightly into the cool sand. He trod carefully around the brightly colored shells dotting the shore and strode into the surf. Small waves of warm ocean water rolled over his ankles, and he breathed in the morning sea air.

Movement caught his peripheral vision, and he turned away from the impending sunrise over the Pacific Ocean to track the motion. A man stood in the surf, balanced on one leg in a yoga pose, hands together in front of his bare chest. His tight, tiny bikini shorts clung to his substantial yet firm ass. Powerful legs held him upright as he stared out toward the approaching dawn. A sleeve of tattoos ran up one deeply tanned arm from elbow to shoulder, but MacKenzie couldn’t tell what the tattoos were at this distance. The design looked Māori.

Light poured over the man, and MacKenzie tore his gaze away to watch the sun bursting over the horizon and ascending into the sky. A gentle breeze blew off the ocean, giving him a rush of goose bumps over his chest and arms. The warm water pulsed with a wave and washed over his knees.

Once the sun had completely lifted above the horizon, a splash from the direction of the impressive figure in the surf drew his attention. The man had abandoned his yoga pose and dived into the water, emerging several yards farther out in the ocean. He bobbed for a moment then swam back toward the shore, mesmerizing MacKenzie with the powerful strokes of his muscled arms.

Reaching the shallow waters, he dove under and resurfaced closer to MacKenzie. The morning sunlight shimmered through the droplets of water cascading off him. MacKenzie raked his gaze over the man, stopping at the impressive pecs, and froze. A tattoo of a crescent moon stood alone on the rounded muscle, matching the necklace hanging around his own neck.

MacKenzie brought his hand up and clutched at the jade resting on his chest. He’d only ever seen one person with that particular tattoo before. The swimmer stopped moving, facing MacKenzie, with his head tilted to the side. Recognition slammed into MacKenzie when he met the eyes of the dripping man, and his heart leaped.

He moved again, wading through the shallows toward MacKenzie, his mouth slightly open and face set in an expression MacKenzie could only describe as awe. With a tremble, MacKenzie willed his legs to move, and he stepped through the submerged sand to meet him halfway.

After a moment, they stood face to face, and MacKenzie had no doubt he’d found the person he’d wished not to find. The man he’d fled Auckland upon his arrival to avoid. The man he’d never quite gotten over, even after three years. The man he’d hurt.

“It’s you, isn’t it?” The unmistakable voice of Erik Parata spoke across the short distance between them and crashed over him as strong as any wave.



Brent Archer began writing in 2011 at the nudging of his cousins. His first story sold, and he was hooked! Keep up with Brent Archer and his current releases at his website, and follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @brentarcherwrit.

Leah Braemel: Where do I get my ideas? (Excerpt)
Monday, January 30th, 2023

People always ask me “where do you get your ideas?” For my newest release, Texas Hook-Up? It all started with a meme about a guy who had a cat who shared his name.

I have a dog named Seamus, and a cat named Turtle, so when I have to pick up the prescription food Turtle requires from the vet’s office, the label on the package is for Turtle Braemel. Or Seamus Braemel. So, I understand why someone who isn’t familiar with my pets might get confused. Well, not with Turtle – though they might think I’m talking about an actual turtle not a cat.

That’s when the plot bunnies hit me, and I imagined a guy overhearing his friend’s girlfriend talking about having to get home to Jeff. Except his friend’s name is Brody. And only learning much later that Jeff is not another guy. Jeff is a cat. That’s how I ended up writing Texas Hook-Up, a novella about a grumpy EMT having to apologize to a female tow-truck driver he’s judged wrongly for the last few years.

Bonus! Once I was finished writing Texas Hook-Up, I wasn’t done with those characters. I ended up writing a free Bonus Epilogue called Getting Hitched about how Quinn’s attempts to propose to Mia go askew thanks to the now infamous Jeff. You can find the link to that novella at the back of Texas Hook-Up.

Texas Hook-Up


I am a woman in a male trucker’s world, which means I’ve developed a thick skin and a potty mouth over the years. When an EMT that I sorta kinda like decides he doesn’t like me, no skin off my nose. I can take Quinn’s snark and dish it right back at him. Until he finally realizes he’s in the wrong about me, and he goes and does something decent, like apologizing. Now what do I do with him?


I come from a screwed-up family that I admit affects how I judge people. When I overheard Mia talking about living with someone named Jeff while she was dating my buddy Brody, I jumped to the wrong conclusion and I’ve been giving her grief ever since. I’ve finally realized I screwed up. Big time. So I’m trying to prove how sorry I am but she’s making me jump through hoops. Rightfully so.

Being around Mia, away from her truck, has let me see the soft squishy parts behind the thick armour she’s donned. But going from hating someone to trusting them is a long swing. Now I have to convince her—and myself—I’m worth the effort.


Excerpt of Texas Hook-Up

Without saying anything more, Mia gulps down her coffee, and scrambles from the table, stopping at the counter to pay her ticket. I’m wondering if I should go after her when she heads for the door, just as Gonzalez is coming in. He holds open the door and they say something to each other, politely, from their body language. I can’t miss how Gonzalez’s gaze lingers on Mia as she walks down the street. Guess there is still some attraction.

When he finally pulls his gaze back to the diner, he spots me, heads over, and takes Mia’s spot. He eyes the coffee cup with its telltale lipstick stain until Shannon, efficient as always, removes it and fills a fresh cup for him.

“You were talking with Mia?” He keeps his tone even, though his curiosity is evident.

“She’s pissed off at me.” What else is new?

Gonzalez tilts his head, as if he doesn’t believe me or figures I have some hidden agenda.

“I’m not interested in her, if you’re thinking of trying to get back together with her,” I assure him.

“Oh, I’ve tried, but…” He shrugs and gives me an I have no idea, look.

“Why?” The word slips out of my mouth before I can stop it. “Why would you want to hook back up with her?”

“There’s something about her. I can’t put my finger on it, but we were doing good.” He shrugs again. “At least, I thought we were. We were even talking about moving in together, and then all of a sudden, she dumps me. No reason, just, she doesn’t think we’re headed in the same direction. She doesn’t think we suit.” His tone betrays his I thought we suited belief. “Basically, she told me to not let the door hit my ass on the way out.”

“Maybe it was something Jeff or Brian said to her. Did you do something to piss them off?”

Some strange expression lights his eyes. Not confusion, something I can’t read, before he drops his gaze to focus on his coffee. “Jeff and Brian? I liked them. I mean, Brian’s a biter, but if you know how to handle him, he’s okay. Jeff’s a real softie. Mia knew I loved them and would never have hurt them.”

Dafuq? Brian’s a biter? Talk about TMI. I’ve always thought of Gonzalez as being pretty straitlaced. Always looking for a girl he could bring home to momma type of guy. It’s always the quiet ones. “I never pictured you being into that scene.”

“What scene?” Danny spreads his hands palms up. There’s that weird expression on his face again. Like he has some private joke.

“Sharing a woman.” Aware of the people in the next booth, no doubt straining to hear, I lower my voice. “Orgies, having sex with multiple partners. Do you do guys, too? I mean, don’t get me wrong, if that’s what you’re in to, fine.” Okay, I’d better shut up before I earn a fist to my jaw. Except I can’t help but ask, “Is that what broke Dickinson and her up, too?”

His jaw drops momentarily, and then he’s whooping with laughter and every head in the joint turns to look at us. “Orgies? Seriously? Is that what you still think? That Jeff and Brian are guys? Peterson, for a smart guy, sometimes you’re as sharp as a marble.”

Eyebrows all around us arch at his very audible mention of orgies, enough that I want to slide under the table. “What are you talking about?”

Still laughing so hard tears are gathering in the corners of his eyes, he shakes his head. “Bro! I thought Brody told you. Jeff and Brian are Mia’s cats.”

About the Author

Leah Braemel is the only woman in a houseful of males that includes her college-sweetheart husband, two sons, a Shih Tzu named Seamus who behaves like a cat and Turtle the cat who thinks he’s a dog. She loves escaping the ever-multiplying dust bunnies by opening up her laptop to write about sexy heroes and the women who challenge them.

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N.J. Walters: Brand New Year, Brand New Book — Hunter Avenged! (Excerpt)
Friday, January 20th, 2023

The start of a new year is always exciting. The possibilities are limitless. It’s a time for introspection, for deciding what you want to accomplish in the coming year.

I don’t make resolutions, as such, but I do set some achievable goals. Professionally, I want to write at least three or four books, maybe more. Personally, I want to try my hand at a new hobby or two. If I decide it’s not for me, that’s all good. The goal is to push myself to try something different.

The new year is starting out on a high note with the release of HUNTER AVENGED, book 6 of my Forgotten Brotherhood series. I LOVE these immortal assassins. They aren’t the monsters lurking under the bed. They’re the ones that kill them. It takes one very special woman to win their heart.

So, what happens when Rivka, an angelic librarian on the run from Heavenly forces, is tracked by Sven—immortal Viking, deadly assassin, and one of the Forgotten Brotherhood? It’s not only their lives that are in danger but their hearts.

Hunter Avenged
Forgotten Brotherhood Book 6

It’s taken Viking hunter Sven Knutson six frustrating months to find her. To track down the angel responsible for compromising the Forgotten Brotherhood and waking the drakon. She may be clever. Resourceful. But no one ever gets away from Sven. Ever.

All Rivka longed for as an angel was a chance to serve on Earth and help humans. Instead, it all went impossibly, horribly wrong, and she still doesn’t understand how or even why. All she knows is that she’s on the run—not only from Heaven’s dangerous elite guard, but also from the Brotherhood, who want answers.

She might just have to trust the immortal Viking whose icy blue eyes make her feel almost wickedly human. Because someone wants Rivka dead and the Brotherhood eliminated. Someone powerful enough to take on the most dangerous assassins who have ever lived. Someone who could unleash the fury of both Heaven and Hell…and Rivka is the key.

Excerpt from Hunter Avenged

His jaw and cheekbones were chiseled, his forehead high. The short cut of his hair added to the austerity of his features. There was no gentleness to be found. The leather coat he wore added to the rough image, made him seem even more imposing. A chill raced down her spine. This man would be a relentless opponent. He also wasn’t human, but she couldn’t tell what he was.

Time to leave.

Face tight, she tried to smile, knew it must appear fake, but it was the best she could manage. “If there’s nothing else, I have to get back to my tables.”

Her legs were shaky, her heart racing. This must be what a rabbit felt like when faced with a wolf. Running would be a mistake. He hadn’t moved a muscle, but the sense of being hunted was overwhelming.


You got this. You’ve gotten yourself out of tighter situations.

The reassurance did nothing to calm her. Sweat rolled down her spine even as a chill raised goose bumps on her arms. Spinning around, she’d taken a single step when he wrapped his hand around her wrist, chaining her in place. Heat spread out from where he held her, sliding up her arm.

“There is something else.” His deep voice slid inside her like hot fudge over ice cream, melting all resistance. It was startling to realize it was the first words he’d spoken. She’d done all the talking up until now.

Just take his order and leave. “What do you want?” It was a point of pride that her voice was level. Inside she was trembling like a leaf; not all of it was due to fear. Her attraction to him was unwanted but undeniable. It rather took her by surprise.

He rubbed his thumb over the pounding pulse in her wrist. The gentle action was at odds with the tension in his jaw.

“Your name. I want your name.”


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About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

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