Exclusive excerpt from THE BILLIONAIRE TAKES ALL by J.S. Scott

TheBillionairesTakesAllPR

“Don’t even think about it,” Julian warned as he leaned back on the plush seat of their limousine.

“Think about what?” Kristin asked angrily.

“If you jump from a moving vehicle, you’ll more than likely end up breaking your neck, and that would be a shame. You’d miss Vegas and the wedding.”
It irritated her that he not only had known exactly what she was contemplating, but had quickly come to the same conclusion as her. There was no way she was taking a swan dive from a moving vehicle.

She’d been so shocked by his outrageous behavior that she hadn’t been able to speak until now, even though they’d been riding for several minutes. How he’d gotten the fancy limo down a closed street, she didn’t know. But Kristin was fairly certain it had a lot to do with the chief of police being Julian’s cousin, Dante. The old chief had retired just a few months ago, and Dante Sinclair had taken the promotion when it was offered to him.

Kristin shot Julian a furious glare. Even though it was already getting dark, the vehicle had lights in the passenger area. As far as Kristin could tell, the fancy car had everything, any luxury a person could ever want. Hell, she could throw a damn party in the back of the limo if she wanted. Unfortunately, parties were the last thing on her mind.

As she stared at the man across from her, it was impossible not to notice how Julian was sprawled across the seat, looking like he hadn’t just kidnapped a woman from her father’s bar, and like there was nothing he couldn’t do if he wanted to do it. He seemed to exude some kind of alpha-male pheromones that made her uncomfortable. Sure, he was handsome. He was, after all, a superstar. But there was something about the way Julian seemed comfortable in his own skin that rattled the hell out of her.

Unless he was performing, she highly doubted he gave a damn how he looked. But even dressed carelessly in a pair of jeans that had obviously seen some wear, and topped with a light-blue fisherman’s sweater, he still wore those clothes confidently. If she was being completely honest, casual was a good look on him. If she added his frequently spiking blond hair that made him look like he had just rolled out of bed—but in a sexy, totally unfair, hot kind of way—and his expressive blue eyes, she didn’t doubt that women all over the world wanted to be the one to catch his attention.

Tearing her eyes away from the tempting sight of his big body lounging casually on the seat, she asked, “Why do you care if I jump out of the car? I haven’t even figured out why you’re here.”

“I told you why I’m here. Mara said she couldn’t persuade you to come, so I decided to swing by and pick you up.” He paused before adding, “Turns out I had to pick you up literally.”

“You didn’t pick me up. You kidnapped me,” she accused, still feeling like everything that was happening was surreal. “And you left my parents’ livelihood in the hands of a man in loud shorts and flip-flops.”

“Carl thinks they’re sexy. He likes to impress the ladies. I don’t think you saw his ‘signature shake,’ but customers seem to love it. And in all fairness, I did tell him we were going to the coast. He just didn’t realize which one until he and Sandie got into the jet.”

Kristin crossed her arms over her breasts and shot Julian a stubborn look. “He’s married. He shouldn’t care about the ladies.”

“He doesn’t mess around. He just likes to attract attention. He’s actually the best bartender in the country. By the time we get back, he’ll have increased your parents’ business tenfold. Between Sandie’s culinary skills and Carl’s bartending expertise, you’ll have a line waiting to get into Shamrock’s. Look, Sandie and Carl are friends. They’re doing me a big favor. Can’t you just let go of your pride and admit you wanted to go to the wedding? You look exhausted.”

Julian lifted a brow in question. “Maybe I wanted you to be at the wedding. Maybe I didn’t want to be the only guy present without a date. Maybe I never forgot how it felt to kiss those adorable, pouty lips of yours, or the chemistry between us.” He hesitated for a few seconds before adding, “After I had a taste, you had to know I’d be back for more.”

Kristin opened her mouth and then closed it again, letting what he said sink in.

“It was just a kiss. It was nothing.”

Sweet baby Jesus! Did he really need to mention that day in the bar—not so long ago—when he’d had her moaning for more as he claimed her with an embrace she’d certainly never forgotten?

The car seemed to be getting warmer and warmer as she recalled exactly how she’d felt that day.

Desperate.
Wanting.
Free . . . if only for a moment in time.

A sigh escaped her lips unchecked, and she chastised herself as Julian searched her face, as though he was looking for something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

“It wasn’t nothing,” Julian replied huskily. “It was something.”

Marie Treanor | THE DEAD OF HAGGARD HALL

Adult(ish) Excerpt from The Dead of Haggard Hall by Marie Treanor

As I skirted the throng, which was broken into several smaller ones, like satellites around my mother, I cautiously opened myself further to their emotions. I felt my gaze tugged once more towards the open doorway to the hall. And there he was, my sceptic, looking right at me.

Something jolted inside me. I had been right. Full-on, his face was dramatic. Angular, almost bony, it was dominated by black, straight brows over dark, harsh eyes that concealed layers of turbulence and profound, conflicting emotions; a hard mouth with a sensual curve.

Tall, straight, and broad shouldered, his body gave the impression of being only loosely flung together. His dress was respectable and yet hung on him with such carelessness that it somehow suggested the entirely disreputable.

His unblinking regard washed over me in waves. Anger; constant anger. Curiosity and annoyance. He didn’t want to be here and yet needed to know what would happen. Contempt, disbelief. And a sudden surge of lust that made me gasp and spin away from him in shock, for my own body flamed in wicked reply.

It was hardly the first time I had sensed such feelings directed at myself. It was a normal part of life, usually distant, unthreatening, and easy to ignore. But this man’s emotions ran deep.

Deep, damaged, dangerous, just the kind of man we didn’t need here. Just the kind of man I should avoid. My entirely worldly, physical response to him told me that. Even with my back to him, I could feel his eyes burning into me like caressing hands. And I wanted those hands. I needed them—on my breasts, between my thighs, everywhere—with a force that made me tremble. He would be a fierce lover, strong and demanding and exciting… I longed to be excited like that.

He wanted me. If I walked over to him now, I’d only need to smile and touch his arm and he’d take me away, to his own rooms, wherever they were, or to some anonymous, discreet hotel where we could spend all night in wild, sensual delights. Forbidden, delicious, without inhibition

Maybe he’d exorcise the demon in me. Maybe I’d ease the demons in him.

But it would never happen. I needed my demons safely locked up, and I knew instinctively that this man spelled danger for me.

But I’d watch him for my mother’s sake, for I sensed he meant us no good.

As I walked back, I glanced to either side. He moved with me, following me, not just with his gaze but with his person, along the length of the wall, like a large, predatory cat. Or a wolf, perhaps. His lust enfolded me, teasing my own. But even over the space between us, interrupted by other guests who blocked my view from time to time, I caught the hint of contempt, the tinge of anger amidst the desire in his dark gaze.

Which made my temptation suddenly easy to resist. I halted and lifted one haughty eyebrow, allowing my own disdain for his undeserved judgment to curl my lip. I’d always found my stare and my eyebrow to be an infallible deterrent, but this man didn’t hesitate. His lips curved upward, and as though he took my attention for an invitation, he swerved suddenly in my direction.

My breath caught in uncharacteristic panic. A new, fierce tug of sensual yearning told me I couldn’t be anywhere near this man, and yet I wouldn’t run. I refused to be despised when I’d done nothing to deserve it.

“Shall we begin?” my mother said, shattering the strange illusory bubble which seemed to have formed over myself and the sceptical stranger. “Those who would like to join in, please sit down at the table. Everyone else, feel free to watch and move around as you wish. All I ask is that you don’t interrupt. Sir, would you mind closing the outer door?”

She looked directly at my sceptical stranger. She might have seen our little byplay, or she might have sensed the same danger I did. On the other hand, he was nearest the door. I wondered if he’d be rude enough to ignore her request.

But my sceptic inclined his head. The gesture was somehow more mocking than gracious, but he obediently walked back and closed the door as she asked. Then he leaned one powerful shoulder against it and waited, apparently, to be entertained.

I found my own refuge by the bedroom door for escape purposes, and waited with resignation for the show. God knew there was enough emotion in that room to make it a good one.

THE DEAD OF HAGGARD HALL by Marie Treanor

Darke of Night #1

The Dead of Haggard Hall

Spirit possession is easy to remedy. Possession of the heart is another matter.

Darke of Night, Book 1

After vicar’s widow and natural medium Barbara Darke loses her respectable teaching position, she reluctantly agrees to become companion to her former pupil Emily, now the bride of young Sir Arthur Haggard.

Once settled at Haggard Hall, Barbara finds her friend is beset by ghostly voices and unexplained deaths. In a maelstrom of dark spirits and wicked emotions, Barbara battles to lay Emily’s ghosts to rest—both hampered and helped by Arthur’s skeptical cousin Patrick, who provokes and attracts her in equal measure.

It would be a mistake to trust a secretive, guilt-ridden man suspected of driving his wife to suicide, if not outright murdering her. And it could well be lethal to give in to her own desires, confused as they often are with the lusts of the dead.

But Arthur and Emily are in genuine physical danger, and suspicion is falling closer and closer to Patrick—the man who haunts Barbara’s sensual dreams. The man who stands to inherit Haggard Hall.

Warning: Contains a medium whose body is open season for spirit possession, and a scandal-ridden journalist who only believes what he can see—and touch.

Romance Paranormal | Romance Historical [Samhain Publishing, On Sale: July 26, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619234550 / eISBN: 9781619234550]

Em Petrova | Excerpt from KICKIN’ UP DUST

“It’s good to see you, Danica.” His voice sounded as though sand was lodged in his throat. The gritty sound raised the hair on her forearms, and her nipples grew harder.

“Good to be back?” she ventured.

Resting his elbows on his knees once more, he dropped his head into his hands. When he scrubbed his jaw, a rasping noise sent her into a bigger spin than the F4 that had wiped out their town.

Finally, he raised his head. “I can’t answer that yet. But it’s good to be stateside.”

There it was—that burning in his eyes again. It took the dark brown to a whole new level of intensity. She unfolded her legs and reached across the short distance to rest a hand on his arm again.

He let her touch him, offering a millisecond of comfort. The hair under her fingers was wiry and his skin warm. This was Brodie, not some stranger. They’d climbed trees together and fallen out of them too. He’d carried her, with a badly sprained ankle, to the house on his back. She’d cried so much she’d snotted on him, and he hadn’t come near her for a week.

They were practically family.

Her throat clogged. “I hope you do stay, Brodie. I’m happy to see you.”

Dropping his gaze to the bag between his boots, he made a noise in his throat that sounded like tearing paper. “I’m not sure you’re going to be all that happy to see me.”

She sat back, pulling her fingers into her lap and clenching them against the trace of heat lingering from his skin. A strange calm settled over her. She needed to see what was in the bag before her parents did, and Brodie seemed to know this. She and Matt had been so close. Inseparable. She’d cried for two weeks after he’d left. And when the phone call had come with the caller ID of “US Government”, her heart had hit the floor.

But her parents
they were devastated to lose their only son. Matt would never again step foot on the land that was his birthright.

Brodie held her gaze deliberately, as if he could hold her up with the sheer force of his will. He picked up the bag and reached inside.

When the colors of the American flag came into sight, she burst. Tears exploded from her eyes and a sob rushed up her throat. Brodie hit his knees before her and wrapped her in his arms. She shook as she let him press her head down on his broad shoulder.

With a flick of his wrist, he unfolded the flag. It fluttered around them. Choking, she wrapped it around both of them, and they rocked in the combined pain of their monumental loss. She thanked God Brodie had been the one to bring Matt home.

KICKIN’ UP DUST by Em Petrova

Operation Cowboy

Kickin' Up Dust

This Marine follows the rules. This cowgirl is all about breaking them.

After losing his best friend and CO, Matt, in combat, Brodie Bell didn’t think his spirits could sink any lower. He was wrong. One look at his and Matt’s storm-flattened hometown nearly levels him.

Los Vista needs a leader, and as Brodie takes the weight of the world on his shoulders, he comes up with a plan. Merge the two ranches left standing, pray for a good calving season

and keep his hands too busy to get busy with Matt’s sexy little sister.

Danica was in pigtails when Brodie and Matt went off chasing glory. Now she’s a woman with a broken heart, but if Matt knew of the depraved cravings Brodie ignites in her body, he’d haunt her from the grave.

As they work to mend miles of broken fences, Brodie fights to ignore Danica’s tiny cutoff shorts and mile-long legs—and to ignore the “weapon” that’s locked and loaded in his Levis. Because the last thing he wants is to dishonor his friend’s memory by ravishing the sweetest little cowgirl he’s ever laid eyes on.

Warning: Involves a sweet and sassy ranch girl who knows her way around a rope, and a Marine turned cowboy who’d like to tie her down and spank her until she begs for more.

Romance Western | Romance Erotica Sensual [Samhain Publishing, On Sale: July 19, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619234604 / eISBN: 9781619234604]

About Em Petrova

Em Petrova

Em Petrova lives in Backwoods, Pennsylvania, where she raises 4 kids and a Labradoodle named Daisy Hasselhoff. Her dream is to find an old pickup and travel small-town USA, meeting new people. Her heroes are hardworking–in bed and out–and she is known for panty-scorching erotic romance.

She also writes lesbian romance as Hallie Knight.

The Boot Knockers Ranch | Up in Flames | Operation Cowboy

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | PINTEREST

L.A. Witt | An Excerpt from HIATUS

“Hey.” My mouth went dry. Staring out at the city, I said, “So, um. I talked to Nate. About what’s going on.”

“Oh.” Something rustled in the background. Was he still in bed? I wasn’t even sure when he got up these days. “Um. How did he take it?”

“As good as we could’ve expected, I guess.”

Theo exhaled. “I should call him. It might be good for him to hear from both of us.”

“Yeah.” I turned around, watching Nate’s sleeping form through my semitransparent reflection. “Give him a little while, though. He’s not up yet.”

“He’s—” Theo paused. When he spoke again, his voice was cold. “So he’s still there.”

“Yeah, he’s—” I faced the city again. “Is that a problem?”

“No.” His tone suggested it clearly was a problem. “Just…could you pass the message along for him to call me when he has a chance?”

I ground my teeth and tried not to get defensive. If I’d been the one in his position, five hundred miles away while Theo broke the news to Nate, I’d probably not feel great about the situation either. “I’ll tell him.”

“Thanks.”

Silence set in. I fixed my gaze on the road below, tracking some cars as they drove past the hotel. It was something to focus on. Something besides this uncomfortable silence that I didn’t know how to break.

Theo beat me to it anyway. “I should go. Zach will be here any minute.”

I winced. “Okay. I just wanted to let you know. And I’ll have him call you as soon as he’s got some coffee in him.”

That brought a faint laugh out of him. “Sounds good. Talk to you later.”

“Talk to you later.”

I hung up, rested my elbows on the railing, and pressed my thumbs against my forehead.

Well. This was all just getting more fun by the second, wasn’t it?

HIATUS by L.A. Witt

Hiatus

Three’s a disaster when things come unraveled.

Rock star Nate Keller is on top of the world, but his headlining tour has one drawback. It keeps him away from his boyfriends, Theo and Cameron, for weeks at a time. Yet after four-and-a-half years—and a lot of hard work—the trio is still going strong.

But then Cam comes to visit with devastating news. After seventeen years together, he and Theo have agreed to a trial separation. Nate tries desperately to fix his lovers’ broken relationship, but there’s only so much he can do from the road.

At home, Cam tries to carry on, but feels like his whole life is spiraling out of control. Theo struggles to cope with the split as his depression worsens. They’re both spinning their wheels, quickly losing hope they can keep it together—and keep the man they both still love.

Desperate, Nate drops everything in a last-ditch attempt to pull their trio back together before they hit rock bottom. Except their love could already be shattered beyond repair.

Warning: Contains two men who must face how broken they are before they can fix their failing marriage, and the man who loves them both—but doesn’t know how to save them.

Romance Gay | Gay / Lesbian [Samhain Publishing, On Sale: July 19, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619233409 / eISBN: 9781619233409]

About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

Defending Epsilon

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Flo Fitzpatrick | An Excerpt from Scarecrow’s Dream

The lights came on and I whirled around. A short, plump woman in her early seventies, with a mass of auburn-and-white hair untamed by a blue crocheted beret, dressed in jeans and an army jacket covered with protest slogan buttons, stood in the doorway holding a laundry basket. A small tan, mixed-breed dog, still a puppy, ran inside, danced around my feet, barked with much enthusiasm, then sat and looked up at me with adoration in its deep brown eyes.

“Boo-Boo! Hush. What’s the matter with you, mutt? Have you gone loco? Chill, puppy.”

I wasn’t in the mood to make nice. Two long strides brought me within a foot of the doorway in case I needed to make a quick exit. “Who the hell are you, and why are you waltzing into my apartment?” I demanded.

A gasp, wider eyes, and then a beautiful smile flashed across her perfect peaches-and-cream complexion.

“I am not waltzing. I am trudging. I save my waltzing for the dance floor, although I prefer the tango.” She squinted. “Oh sweet Mother Mary. I’m talking to an auditory hallucination. What the hell did my bartender put in the last margarita? Boo-Boo? Are you seeing this? I’m either beyond schnockered or losing my mind.”

“What do you mean, ‘auditory hallucination’? And exactly who are you?” I responded to what may or may not have been a question. I was sure I knew her, but no name was coming to mind. I spoke a bit more gently. “Are you on the wrong floor? Do you live upstairs?”

“I live here. I have for forty years. And if you’re not an auditory hallucination, then why are you invisible but speaking loud enough for me to hear you?”

“Wait a second. I’m sorry, but there’s no way you’ve lived here for forty years. Dad and I only moved in about seventeen years ago.” She must be senile. Or completely demented since she was babbling about invisibility. Then an explanation for her odd behavior hit me. “Uh, you do seem familiar. Are you my great-aunt Lucy? We met once when I was about six. Are you visiting? If so, I apologize for the inquisition. My dad didn’t tell me.”

She shook her head. “I’m not Lucy. And I’m not visiting. I live here. I’m Adelaide.” She drew a sharp breath. “And I may be nuts but your voice sounds like…well, let’s just say if you’re who I believe you are, I’m the aunt who read all your awesome prose back when you were ten and encouraged you to become the next Lillian Hellman, although I seem to recall you were leaning more toward being the first female Walter Cronkite. I lived with you and your dad until you hit early adolescence. Don’t you remember?” She yelled, “Down!”

I jumped before I realized she was addressing the pooch trying to lick my face while imitating a pogo stick. The woman was bonkers.

“Sorry,” I said. “Look, first we’re in two-oh-seven. My apartment. Has been since I was three and we moved here when my dad became super of this building and the one across the courtyard. I’m cold and tired and beyond pissed because somehow I landed in Spuyten Duyvil Creek from the bridge and, lady, you need your eyesight checked since invisibility doesn’t exist.” I sounded way too angry. I spoke more gently. “Besides, you can’t be my aunt Adelaide because she’s thirty-two and I don’t see any spooky portraits of her around so…oh, crap. I give up. Do you mind if we sit? It’s been a rough night and I’m…tired.”

She nodded. “Good idea.” She motioned to a sofa by the center wall. It looked comfortable, but foreign to me.

The imposter plopped the basket on the floor in front of a rocking chair older than her obvious seventy-plus years and began to rock. “Take a breath, hon. Something damned weird appears to be going down. First of all, Henry Rodriguez is the current super and he lives on the first floor. Believe me, there’s no way he’s your dad. Secondly, my eyesight is remarkable for any and all humans, no matter their age, so the issue is on your end, not mine.”

I clenched my teeth and my fists. “I’m confused.”

“No shit.”

I leaned down and patted the dog on the head while I glanced around the living room. I didn’t recognize a single piece of furniture. I was getting nervous. What the blinkin’, blame fool was happening here?

SCARECROW’S DREAM by Flo Fitzpatrick

Scarecrow’s Dream

Through death and time, two souls search for love lost and found.

When Holly Malone staggers into her Manhattan apartment at one-thirty in the morning, she’s shocked to discover more than forty years have passed since her last, vague memory of being involved in a motorcycle crash.

No one can see her, and only a few can hear her—her now-aged aunt, and the man she’d been clinging to when the motorcycle sailed off that icy bridge. Shane Halloran, who everyone assumed died with her on that snow-blind night.

Now, Shane hides behind an assumed identity. The wreck that took Holly’s life was part of a string of not-so-coincidental accidents connected to a play so controversial, someone went to deadly lengths to make sure it never saw the lights of opening night.

As they piece together Holly’s sketchy flashbacks, Shane comes to the heartbreaking realization that the woman he has loved for over forty years could at any moment disappear back into the past. Unless Holly’s memories of then—and now—turn out to be a two-way street.

Warning: Contains one uber-charming black Irish rogue, one feisty heroine who’ll take on the world for him, one eccentric hippie aunt—and two generations of eagles named Joey.

Romance Paranormal [Samhain Publishing, On Sale: June 21, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619233515 / eISBN: 9781619233515]

About Flo Fitzpatrick

Flo Fitzpatrick

Flo Fitzpatrick’s first attempt to enter the field of literature was a work of science fiction called “The Bug on the Wall.” It consisted of two sentences. “There was a bug. It was on the wall.” She was five at the time, so perhaps the brevity of this piece was understandable.

She grew more adventurous and at age eight wrote two chapters of what was intended to be a full-length novel entitled, “The Skinner Family goes to Ireland.” The plot consisted of the Skinner family heading over to Ireland to visit their Aunt Donna who lived on a potato farm and owned a swimming pool. Flo’s older brothers, twins, were somewhat skeptical that the Skinners would make it to Ireland traveling across the Atlantic from New York to London by train. (Flo has since pointed out that the English Channel now boasts an underwater transportation system leading from England to France and that she was just ahead of her time.)

She earned a B.F. A. in Dance and an M.A. in theatre, then spent her years after college shuttling back and forth from New York to her native Texas working as a dancer/singer/actress, teaching dance and acting, and choreographing for various theatres and community colleges. During her career in theatre, Flo has played nice ladies (Nellie-South Pacific), not-so-nice ladies (Lily St. Regis-Annie), funny ladies (Jane-Fallen Angels) singing ladies (Cherie -Bus Stop), dancing ladies (Vibrata – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) and even dead ladies (three murdered hookers in Jack the Ripper!) The last, she claims, was tough. She had to spend the first ten minutes of the show lying on the floor not breathing. Flo still loves wacky characters both on and off stage.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Jenna Ryan | Sneak inside BLACK LILY

Mitchell searched his memory. “The calling-card murder count was at twenty-four when I left the force six months ago.”

“The overall number will have climbed since then, but it’s the victims who possess the sight that I’m most concerned about. Certainly, the others matter, but their deaths—how can I put this?—provide nothing more than operating money for Leshad. They keep the cash flow up and his filthy operation in the black. Very comfortably in the black, I suspect.”

“Why are you most concerned about the victims who possess the sight?”

“Partly because I’m one of them, like my mother and her friend Twila Black. Twila’s sister, Tallulah Black, possessed some vision as well, but not a sufficient amount for Leshad to use.”

Was this intriguing him or annoying him? Mitchell wasn’t sure. Maybe it depended on what Phoebe expected him to do. “Where does your fading appeal enter into this?” he asked, although he had a feeling he could guess the answer to that one.

She maintained her benign expression. “I’m Madeleine’s daughter, cher. I possess certain modest sensory abilities. Leshad assumes I inherited my mother’s full gift of second sight. I didn’t, but it’s what he thinks.”

“So you can’t spin straw into gold or turn him into a gargoyle.” Mitchell lifted his beer and a shrewd brow. “But he believes you can, and that’s what counts.”

“Exactly.” She gave a casual shrug. “You might think I’m lying when I tell you I don’t mind that he believes those things about me. With Twila’s great granddaughter out of the picture, Leshad’s psychic-link list is dwindling. There may be others on it who can do what he wants done, but none so directly connected to the person who performed the original deed as me.” She brought her steady gaze to his face. “Me and the daughter I gave away.”

Now they were getting somewhere. “You’re worried that Leshad will bypass you and go for your daughter.”

“Yes, I am. Very worried.” Again, those amazing gray eyes locked on his. “There was a time, Mitchell, when Leshad’s answer to any and all problems was to kill it, then rinse the blood from his hands and move on. But it must have finally dawned on him that voodoo doesn’t work that way. Not long ago, he wanted all of us dead. Now, he doesn’t. But he does still want me. I hope.”

“Yeah. Did I mention I’m getting a headache?”

A hint of impatience roughened her subdued voice. “You need to understand something of Leshad’s mindset. He’s powerful, and he’s frightened. That’s not a good combination. He has innumerable sources, and my feeling is that one of those sources has lately suggested that I might not possess the kind of power he requires.”

“But you do, or you did, possess a daughter.”

Her chin came up in a defiant gesture. “Maybe you think only an unfeeling monster could give up her child the way I did, but I knew early on what she had inside her. What she still has. What I’m afraid Leshad now knows she has.”

“How could Leshad know what abilities a child I assume you gave away several years ago might or might not possess?”

“Because I have reason to believe he’s—well, I’ll use the word acquainted, though I’m sure it’s a great deal more than that by now—with my daughter’s biological father. His name is Caleb Josiah Best. You’d know him as CJ Best. State Senator CJ Best.”

The woman got around, he’d give her that. Mitchell drank more beer. A box of matches in a munitions dump had nothing on this situation. A smart man wouldn’t go near it, to say nothing of a jaded ex-cop.

She offered him a faint smile. “I can see the wheels turning, Mitchell, and God knows, facts are facts. You’re a loose cannon. A wild child, like I was, and currently an unpredictable adult. But you have a conscience. At least the child you were back when I knew him had one. You’re a good person, and I have a daughter in danger.”

Mitchell regarded her half-lidded, still not entirely convinced. “What does Leshad want with any of you? Psychically.”

“My mother put a curse on him.”

DARK LILY by Jenna Ryan

Shadows #4

Dark Lily

Curses, ghosts, a serial killer, and little voodoo.

Gaby Jordan has always been able to see and talk to ghosts. While creepy at times, this extraordinary ability has never put her in danger. But since her voodoo-queen grandmother placed a curse on a serial killer, Gaby’s in all kinds of trouble. The killer wants the curse removed, and he believes Gaby can do it.

Former cop Mitchell Stone might be reluctant to help Gaby at first, but once he meets the fiery beauty, he vows to do everything he can to keep her safe from the madman who is determined to capture her.

Danger abounds in the Louisiana bayou. The attraction between Mitchell and Gaby is fast and intense. But there are ghosts, voodoo spells, and murder at work here. The race to escape the deadly madman is on. And the curse is only the beginning of the shadowy magic.

Warning: Curses, killers, and crocodiles are just some of the things that can get you in this bayou.

Romance Paranormal | Romance Suspense [Samhain Publishing, On Sale: June 7, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619228535 / eISBN: 9781619228535]

About Jenna Ryan

Jenna Ryan

Jenna Ryan was born in Victoria, British Columbia. After long stints in different cities across Canada, she returned home to Vancouver Island where she has lived ever since. She has had thirty-one books published in the Harlequin Intrigue series. Her ideas come from real life, and she is helped in her writing by her sister Kathy.

She enjoys reading and is a big fan of women’s fiction, psychological suspense and mystery novels. She also enjoys watching classic suspense movies. She loves strong heroines, heroes with character, romance stories and a good whodunit by the fire on a rainy night.

Her heritage is a blend of English and Irish — which is probably where the gift of blarney comes from. She is unmarried, but involved with a wonderful man. She also has a little white cat named Sheena.

Whenever she is not writing, she travels as much as time and finances will allow. After North America, Europe is her favorite continent to explore, because it was in those countries that many of the myths and legends she drew upon in her early years of writing were born.

Growing up, she considered various careers and dabbled in several of them, including, after university, the travel industry, tourism, sales and modeling. Work in the fashion industry in Toronto and Montreal gave her an interesting peek into various aspects of that world. She learned that where money, power and people come together, there will always be unpredictability — an element she feels is essential to a strong mystery. Add a healthy measure of personal conflict, an intriguing setting and a spicy romance into the mix, and you have the ingredients for what she believes to be the best of all possible stories — a great romantic suspense.

Royal House of Shadows | Shadows Series

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | BLOG

Richard Laymon | Exclusive Excerpt ALLHALLOW’S EVE

The ten o’clock news came on, so Clara knew it was time for Alfred to come in. She used her remote to turn off the television, then picked up her cane and hobbled out to the kitchen. She opened the back door.

A chilly wind blew against her. She took a deep breath of the fresh October air, and peered across her yard.

“Al-l-l-fred!” she called.

Generally, she would hear the clink of his collar tags before ever seeing him. She listened, but heard only the dry shuffling of leaves on the graveyard trees.

“Al-l-l-fred?”

Careful not to fall—her broken hip last year had laid her up good and proper for five months—she stepped down the three wooden stairs to the yard. She made her way across the moonlit lawn, and stopped at the edge of her flowerbed. From there, she peered through the bars of the cemetery fence. So dark over there, the trees shading the moon.

“Al-l-l-l-fred!” she called. Much too loudly. She imagined heads rising in their coffins, turning—corpses listening to her voice. Softly, she called, “Here, kitty-kitty-kitty.”

Her eyes searched the darkness.

Saw a solitary figure near the cemetery fence.

Gasping, she took a quick step backwards. Her foot slipped on the dewy grass. She jabbed down her cane, and caught her balance.

“Dear me,” she muttered.

She looked again at the dark figure—the stone angel of a monument she’d seen thousands of times before, in daylight. The graveyard looked so different at night. She didn’t like it, not one bit. She should’ve stayed in the doorway to call Alfred, the way she always did after dark.

“You just stay out,” she muttered, “if that’s your drother.”

She turned away from the cemetery, and started her journey back to the open kitchen door. She hurried. The back of her neck tingled with gooseflesh, and she knew it wasn’t the wind’s doing.

I’m just being silly, she thought. That graveyard’s safe as apple pie. I’m just letting my jitters get the best of me.

Never yet been a corpse crawl out of its hole and go chasing after live folks. It’s not hardly about to start happening tonight.

Fur brushed her leg, and she yelped.

Alfred scampered up the porch steps, stopped abruptly in the doorway, and looked over his shoulder at Clara.

“You rascal,” she said,

She took a deep, shaky breath, and pressed a hand to her chest.

“Scared my wits out,” she told him.

She started to climb the steps.

That was when she heard a quiet, muffled clank rather like a crowbar dropping onto a wooden floor. Staring at Alfred, she hardly breathed.

The cat turned away, as if bored. He disappeared into the kitchen. Clara hurried in after him. She swung the kitchen door shut, and locked it.

Alfred sat down in front of the refrigerator. He looked back at Clara.

“Not just now,” Clara whispered.

Turning off the kitchen light, she limped into the dining room. She made her way past her highboy. The room was dark, but she saw no use in planting herself smack in front of the window where she just might be seen—so she approached the window from its side.

If she just had one of those cardboard periscopes like Willy used to play with… Well, you couldn’t ever see much with that contraption, anyhow.

Bracing herself on the cane, she leaned toward the window. She eased aside the soft, priscilla curtains and peered out.

The Sherwood house, next door, looked no different from usual. The old colonial was just as dreary and forlorn as could be: its driveway and lawn overgrown, its siding sadly in need of paint, its windows boarded over.

Though she couldn’t see its front door from here, she knew it was padlocked shut. So was the brick door. Glendon Morley, the real estate man, had the only keys.

Maybe he’d gone in, for some reason. Didn’t seem likely, though. He hadn’t come by with house-hunters since July, and Clara suspected he’d given up on trying to foist off the place. Who’d want to live there, after what happened?

If it wasn’t Glendon in the house, though, who could it be?

ALLHALLOW’S EVE by Richard Laymon

Allhallow's Eve

This sleepy town may never recover from this nightmare. Every town has as a past but the grizzly murder of the Sherwood family is one the small town of Ashburg barely recovered from. The Sherwood house has remained vacant for years so who is sending out invitations for a party there? The townspeople are intrigued and who can resist a party at the murder house on Allhallow’s Eve?

This title was previously published in 1985.

Horror [Samhain Publishing, On Sale: June 7, 2016, e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9781619233355 / eISBN: 9781619233355]

About Richard Laymon

Richard Laymon

Richard Laymon was born in Chicago and grew up in California. He earned a BA in English Literature from Willamette University, Oregon and an MA from Loyola University, Los Angeles. He worked as a schoolteacher, a librarian, and a report writer for a law firm, and was the author of more than thirty acclaimed novels.

He also published more than sixty short stories in magazines such as Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, and Cavalier, and in anthologies including Modern Masters of Horror.

He died from a massive heart attack on February 14, 2001 (Valentine’s Day).

Also published under the name Richard Kelly.

Exclusive Excerpt: DEMON OF VENGEANCE by Brenda Huber

Exclusive Excerpt for Fresh Fiction:

“Please, please, do not tell me I just missed her!”

The balding little man behind the counter jumped at Sebastian’s tone. Sweat beaded the clerk’s brow as he fidgeted with a stack of travel brochures. “Well, I’m sorry, but you have.” He hitched a thumb over his shoulder toward the window behind him. “In fact, there she goes now.”

The edge of the countertop cracked beneath Sebastian’s fingertips as he watched the twin engine Cessna taxi down the runway. He’d chased that double damned woman all over this Godforsaken town. Port August, Michigan had become his own personal version of limbo from which it seemed he could not escape. A never ending loop of always being one step behind the cursed woman and never lucky enough to quite catch up. The storm brewing inside him boiled closer to the surface as the front wheels of the plane left the tarmac.

Breathe, Sebastian reminded himself.

And there she went, slipping through his fingers.Again. A red haze winked over his vision for a moment. The little gnome took a cautious step back, sweat streaming down the sides of his smooth forehead now, his eyes wide as saucers behind thick rimmed spectacles.

Just breathe.

Sebastian let out a really, really long breath. His palms sizzled. The little man behind the counter took another step back. The colorful pamphlets in his shaking hands spilled across the counter and fluttered to the floor.

Going demonic and decimating the small airport wouldn’t bring the wayward professor back. Nor would it make him feel any better…at least it wouldn’t once he’d retaken his human form and his conscience caught up to him.

In demonic form, he’d definitely enjoy himself.

Probably a little too much.

Seething, Sebastian turned, stalked from the building, and climbed inside the car he’d “borrowed”. Keeping his temper in check took far more control than he was comfortable admitting. Halfway across the parking lot, his phone began ringing. His temper clicked up another notch. He was in no mood to deal with anyone else’s problems today. And that would be the only reason any of the others would call him. Either the proverbial shit had hit the fan, or it was about to. He jerked the device from his pocket and checked the display.

DEMON OF VENGEANCE by Brenda Huber

Chronicles of the Fallen #4

Demon of Vengeance

“A legendary sword isn’t the only thing this merciless demon desires…”

Possessed of immeasurable patience and an unrelenting drive for justice, Sebastian, the Demon of Vengeance, has finally met his match.

His mission is to keep the new Guardian safe until the Sword of Kathnesh is retrieved, but the aggravating woman insists on throwing herself into harm’s way at every opportunity.

Finding the sacred relic is Phoebe Mackenzie’s task, and protecting it is her family’s legacy. But when Sebastian resorts to magic to save her life, he unwittingly exposes a secret sealed deep within her-and paints a target on her back no demon can resist.

As Phoebe fights to hold on to her identity, Sebastian’s oldest nemesis vows to use any and all means to force Sebastian into a fight to the death-including targeting his mate. Sebastian will do whatever it takes to preserve the barriers between Earth and Hell. But in unleashing the raging storm inside him, he risks losing the woman he loves.

“Warning: Contains a cunning demon notorious for his methodical patience and unquenchable thirst for revenge, and the one woman capable of pushing him past the breaking point. And so continues the journey of six fallen demons and the women who have captured their hearts.”

Romance Paranormal [Samhain, On Sale: June 28, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619235434 / eISBN: 9781619235434]

About Brenda Huber

Brenda Huber

For as long as she can remember, Brenda Huber has been a voracious reader…and with that love of reading came a great desire to write. Crafting worlds where passion and danger lurk around every corner became a calling for Brenda. After all, what better place to set your imagination free than inside the pages of a good book? Brenda lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and one very spoiled dog.

Chronicles of the Fallen

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

An Excerpt from IN THE LINE OF FIRE

He hadn’t taken it well at all when she’d told him “it’s not you, it’s me.” This had to be the tenth text she’d gotten from him since last night.

Give me another chance. Just tell me what you want from me, and I’ll give it to you.

Seriously. He was too freaking perfect.

But not for her.

She’d known almost from the beginning things weren’t going the way they should. She’d kept putting off ending it because she didn’t want to go back to being lonely. But if she was honest with herself, being with Charlie hadn’t made her feel any less alone.

She’d just been alone with someone else along for the ride.

Staring at the large saguaro cactus in front of the window then the mountains beyond, she sighed and clicked off the message, slipping her phone back into her handbag and picking up her plate. As usual, her record for choosing men who weren’t suitable for her, one of whom had later turned into a husband, held true. The first serious relationship with a boyfriend had gone two years and come with an engagement ring she’d given back when she found him in bed with another woman. Clichéd, but sadly true.

He’d been followed by an abusive and domineering husband, a marriage she’d stayed in for seven long years because she’d been trained by her mother from an early age to believe that was all she deserved because she wasn’t…enough. She wasn’t pretty enough. She wasn’t slim enough. She wasn’t interesting enough.

She could hear her mother’s voice in her ear: If only you’d try harder, Delaney. Followed by a pained sigh. Or there was the frequent Are you sure you want to eat that, darling? Your behind is already quite large.

Because she’d listened to her mother when she told her it was her fault she was being abused, it had taken more than one backhand across the face from her husband to get her to smarten up and make him an ex before the violence could escalate even further. Her divorce had become final three years ago. He’d been reluctant to let her go and had messed with her in a myriad of ways, from drunk calling her in the middle of the night to letting the air out of the tires on her car. Finally, after she’d threatened to get a restraining order taken out against him, he’d stopped all the nonsense and had gotten out of her life and on with his. He’d remarried six months later. It would have been better for her mental health if he’d also gotten out of Tucson, but as long as he left her alone, she could deal with the fact that they lived in the same town.

Delaney had come a long way with her self-esteem in the intervening years, but a lifetime of being told she was lacking in several major areas—first by her mother, then by her husband—had seared a huge swath of destruction through her soul. No matter what her younger sister, Morgan, told her repeatedly. Morgan, who according to their mother was everything Delaney was not, was also thankfully not like their mother. In spite of making a good living as a model, she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. Maybe even more beautiful where it counted.

But even with all that, it was taking time for the emotional scars to heal and for Delaney to really believe she was worthy of more.

IN THE LINE OF FIRE by Jett Munroe

Hot Desert Heroes #1

In The Line Of Fire

Their passion burns white hot. But danger is heartless and cold.

Delaney Murphy has had a stomach-fluttering, mouth-watering crush on Beck since the first time she saw him over the rim of her regular morning latte. But she’s never been long on self-confidence, especially around exceptionally handsome men.

After a year of avoiding him, she’s shocked when he slides into the next chair and wears down her resistance to a first date.

When Laney is laid off from her job, Marines special ops veteran Beck “Gravedigger” Townsend wastes no time hiring the quiet, auburn-haired beauty into Red Eagle Group, his security firm. Keeping her within touching distance—and under his protection.

Laney’s smile and sharp intelligence light up Beck’s life and heat up his bed, yet he hesitates to give her what she really wants: full access to the darkest corners of his wounded spirit. But when danger is delivered right to Red Eagle’s door, the only way to save her—and their love—will be to bleed. Body and soul…

Warning: Adult language and graphic sex scenes between a man locked behind his secrets, and a woman ready to break free of her past. If you think the desert is hot, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Romance Contemporary [Samhain Publishing, On Sale: June 7, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619235595 / eISBN: 9781619232624]

About Jett Munroe

Jett Munroe lives in the desert Southwest because she got tired of the cold and snow of Northeast Ohio. By day, she’s a mostly mild-mannered human resources manager for a nonprofit organization, and by night (and weekends), she writes hot and spicy contemporary romance.

She focused on her writing career starting in 2005, and over the next ten years had several paranormal romances published under the pen names Cynthia Garner and Sherrill Quinn. She l oves action movies and chick flicks, reading romance (just about every subgenre!), watching HGTV and the DIY Network, and hates shopping.

Hot Desert Heroes

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

An Excerpt from ALARUMS

Professor Trueblood watched from the door of Wesley Hall as they hurried down the concrete stairs. Once away from him, they walked slowly side by side.

They walked through the warm night in silence. Then Melanie asked, “How’s your nose?”

“It’ll live.” He sniffed. “I think the bleeding’s stopped.”

“I’m sorry I hurt you.”

“It’s nothing.” He looked at her. “Are you going to tell me what happened?”

“Oh, Bodie,” she whispered. Her arm slipped around his back, her small hand warm on his hip. “It’s something terrible.”

“I know. I saw.”

“Not that. I mean…what I saw.”

“What you saw?”

“My dad. It must’ve been Dad. Or my sister.” Her hand tightened on Bodie’s hip. “God. He…he must be dead. One of them, anyway. I…damn it.” She sobbed. “I don’t know which one. But Dad, I think. When it happened last time, it was Mom.”

Bodie stopped. He turned and stared down into her glistening eyes. Her sorrow made a thickness in his throat and a tight hurt in his chest. But her words… What was she saying?

He tucked the handkerchief into his pocket and gently took hold of her shoulders. Too late, he realized he had blood on his fingers. “I want to understand,” he said.

Melanie stiffened. She lowered her head and wiped her nose with a cuff. “There was something coming at me,” she said in a shaky voice. “Only not at me. It was dark and noisy and running at me and I knew I had to get out of the way or it would kill me, but I didn’t have time, it was too fast and it got me. It got me.”

Bodie pulled her gently against him. She lowered her face against the side of his neck. He felt its wetness, the tickle of her eyelashes. “That’s what happened in your mind?” he whispered. “While you were…shaking and stuff?”

He felt her nod. “Jesus,” he muttered.

“When it happened before, I was eleven and at summer camp. It was Mom that time.”

She had told Bodie about the loss of her mother, the woman slipping in the bathtub, smashing her head and drowning. “You had a vision or whatever then — like tonight?” he asked.

“Not exactly like tonight. But yes. That’s why I know Dad’s dead.”

“You don’t know it,” Bodie said. “Not for sure.”

She didn’t answer.

“Come on. Let’s get back to the apartment. You can call home. Maybe everything’s fine.”

ALARUMS by Richard Laymon

Alarums

All signs point to foul play.

Melanie Conway knows something is wrong when she starts having visions again. Her boyfriend, Bodie, wants to help but they are too late. Her father has been in a hit and run accident. Melanie’s sister, Penelope, is having problems of her own. She keeps receiving strange calls. Bodie is drawn into the mystery and gets more than he bargained for.

Previously Published in 1992

Horror [Samhain Publishing, On Sale: June 14, 2016, e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9781619233362 / eISBN: 9781619233362]

About Richard Laymon

Richard Laymon

Richard Laymon was born in Chicago and grew up in California. He earned a BA in English Literature from Willamette University, Oregon and an MA from Loyola University, Los Angeles. He worked as a schoolteacher, a librarian, and a report writer for a law firm, and was the author of more than thirty acclaimed novels.