June 12th, 2021
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Pick up great June books for summer reading

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A theme-park princess. A real-life prince.


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Can two stubborn adults let down their guard long enough to let love in again?


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A modern-day fairy tale of hope and rescue from NYT bestselling author Rachel Hauck


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A journey to the lush vineyards of Tuscanyóand into the mysteries of a tragic family secret.


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Can a one-time enemy to protect them?


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When the battle is for love, the one who surrenders wins. But who will lay down arms first? And whose heart will break wide open?


Excerpt of Taking the Stage by Heather Long

Purchase


Soul Girls #2
Samhain Publishing
August 2013
On Sale: August 13, 2013
Featuring: Anthony diNapoli; Roseatre
126 pages
ISBN: 1619215802
EAN: 9781619215801
Kindle: B00C6ZTNA0
e-Book
Add to Wish List

Romance Paranormal

Also by Heather Long:

Wolf Unleashed, January 2020
e-Book
Outlaw Wolves, July 2019
e-Book
Bitten Under Fire, June 2018
e-Book
Semper Fi Cowboy, July 2017
Paperback / e-Book
When Danger Bites, May 2017
e-Book
Ghost Wolf, May 2017
e-Book
Thunder Wolf, March 2017
e-Book
Shadow Wolf, January 2017
e-Book
Heartbreakers and Heroes, July 2016
e-Book
Snow Wolf, June 2016
e-Book
Desert Wolf, December 2015
e-Book
Single Wicked Wolf, October 2015
e-Book
River Wolf, September 2015
e-Book
Romancing The Wolf, July 2015
e-Book
Untamed Wolf, May 2015
e-Book
Bayou Wolf, April 2015
e-Book
Lust Actually, April 2015
e-Book
Rogue Wolf, March 2015
e-Book
Under a Wolf Moon, February 2015
e-Book
What a Wolf Wants, January 2015
e-Book
Wolf at Law, December 2014
e-Book
Forbidden Rescue, November 2014
e-Book
Wolf Claim, October 2014
e-Book
Caged Wolf, September 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Mischief, Mongrels and Mayhem, September 2014
e-Book
Dark Fates, August 2014
e-Book
Wolf Bite, August 2014
e-Book
Behind the Curtain, July 2014
e-Book
?Playing Against Type, March 2014
e-Book
Haunt Me, January 2014
e-Book
Waiting in the Wings, November 2013
e-Book
Taking the Stage, August 2013
e-Book
Raising Kane, August 2013
e-Book
Marine With Benefits, July 2013
e-Book
Marine Ever After, June 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Marine in the Wind, June 2013
e-Book
Plan Witch from Out of Town, May 2013
e-Book
A Fistful of Dreams, April 2013
Hardcover / e-Book
Into the Spotlight, March 2013
e-Book
Combat Barbie, February 2013
e-Book
A Marine and a Gentleman, February 2013
e-Book
No Regrets, No Surrender, January 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, January 2013
e-Book
Earth Witches Aren't Easy, January 2013
e-Book
The Two and the Proud, January 2013
e-Book
The Marine Cowboy, December 2012
e-Book
Yesterday's Heroes, September 2012
e-Book
Jacob's Trial, September 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Hels's Gauntlet, September 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Micah & Mrs. Miller, September 2012
e-Book
Proud To Serve Her, July 2012
e-Book
Taming of the Thief, July 2012
e-Book
Her Marine, July 2012
e-Book
Cassandra's Dilemma, June 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Tell it to the Marine, June 2012
e-Book
Retreat Hell! She just got here, April 2012
e-Book
Once Her Man, Always Her Man, April 2012
e-Book
The Love Thieves, April 2012
e-Book
Brave are the Lonely, March 2012
e-Book
Cassandra's Dilemma, March 2012
e-Book
Marshal of Hel Dorado, October 2011
e-Book
Spells, Slots and Sirens, July 2011
e-Book
Seismic Evil, February 2011
e-Book
Seven Souls a Leaping, January 2011
e-Book
Prime Evil, December 2009
e-Book
Remembering Ashby, April 2009
e-Book

Excerpt of Taking the Stage by Heather Long

"Not the toes." Rose√Ętre refused to squeal. As lead dancer for the Arcana Royale's Midnight Mystery Lounge, she would never squeal or scream, but her voice pitched high enough that the syllable at the end of toes cracked.

The great white tiger snuffling her feet through the five–inch strappy black–and–sapphire Louboutins rolled his head away. Instead of obeying, he stroked a whiskered cheek down her bare leg.

"Cut!" Voice booming, the show's stage manager hustled out from the wings. Heidi was a brisk woman with a quick temper and a stout body, dedicated to creating the best shows. After Pandora's escape from her contract, she relied on all of her girls to have the same dedication to the performance, Rose√Ętre more than most.

Pandora. She'd always made the lead look easy. She'd walked out on the stage and owned the audience. Rose√Ętre believed Pandora could have shared the stage with twelve chimpanzees and it wouldn't have mattered. Gazes would have been riveted to the tawny nymph.

The white tiger stretched out his neck and yawned, showing off a mouthful of glistening teeth. He flexed his paws, claws scoring the stage. She wasn't fooled by the sleepy–eyed expression or house–cat similarities. Big cats weren't pets.

The rest of the dancers relaxed from their poses, some even dropping down to coo and stroke the cats whose arrival had elicited a long round of awws and aren't they sweets. Rose√Ętre, however, shifted away from the cat with his tickling whiskers and raspy tongue.

"Rose?" Heidi beckoned, a pen behind one ear and a notebook tucked under her arm. She pursed her lips in a you're–not–in–trouble–yet moue, but the wrinkles knitting her brow told an entirely different story.

"Yes, ma'am?" Rose√Ętre didn't drag her feet. One certainly never dragged Louboutins, but she couldn't quite resist displaying her mutiny with an uplifted chin and wrinkled nose. Cats.

Her nose twitched. Her sinuses burned. Her eyes threatened tears. But she maintained her composure.

Damn cats.

"Look, I know you're not thrilled with this idea." The opening gambit was classic Heidi, softening her up for the too–damn–bad often attached to those statements.

Closeted together at the far end of the stage, Rose√Ętre was glad to be out of earshot of her shield–sister Cerveau, the other dancers and thankfully, the damn tigers.

The Midnight Mystery Lounge was closed for an entire week so the dancers could learn this new act. She'd woken to the bad news that the diNapoli Tigers—tigers—were joining the show for a three–month trial to drum up business in the magical casino and resort.

"But you're just going to have to get over it. The apothecary will provide you with a tea for your allergies. We need this show and you're the headliner. That means you and the tiger will be all over each other on that stage and you're going to love it."

And there it was, the verbal slap demanding submission. The command chafed. But a promise was a promise and she was as bound by her oath as her shield–sister Cerveau was by her curse.

"Is there any way we can do this without cats?"

"Not really, no." The sympathy was real, but from Heidi's compressed expression, the stage manager was plainly not on Rose√Ętre's side. "I'm sorry, Rose. But the diNapoli Tigers were an enormous success in Monaco and Paris. We need them for resurgence of interest or the Overseers may very well break up the show."

"Really?" Panic drifted under the surface of her skin, sending her heart puttering. The Overseers controlled the Arcana Royale, the sprawling complex where meta–humans of all types were welcome and could be themselves. They controlled the shows, the people and in the case of the dancers, their souls. Breaking up the show meant the dancers with varying leases on their souls could be placed elsewhere at the Overseers' discretion.

Worse, Rose√Ętre and Cerveau could be separated. Rose√Ętre couldn't allow that to happen. She'd sworn an oath. Pride could be sacrificed. Honor could not.

A shield–borne oath was an oath.

"I'll try. It's not just the allergy, though."

"What is it?"

No simple answer existed. Rose√Ętre glanced over her shoulder to where the great cats lounged. Some groomed themselves while yet another rolled over on its back, presenting its belly to Peppermint for attention. Of all the dancers, Peppermint was the most gracious, the most loving and the most likely to enjoy gamboling with the tigers on the stage.

"I assure you, nothing is wrong with my cats." The dark, deep masculine tones teased up her spine. She jerked her attention back to discover a bare–chested, bare–footed blond god had joined them.

Oh my. Who did he kill to get those abs?

She snapped her jaw shut with a flicker of irritation, and forced her gaze up from the hard six–pack of clear–cut muscle to roam over the ripped planes of his chest and shoulders.

Dear gods, does it end?

The cool dislike in his blue eyes slapped her back to the present. Everything about the man seemed larger than life, from his thick thighs, easily three times the size of hers, to his wide hands and square, chiseled jaw.

"Rose√Ętre, Anthony diNapoli." Heidi's snapped introduction rebuked her. "Anthony, this is our headliner, Rose√Ętre."

Be professional. She extended her hand and kept her gaze focused above his chin. Despite the five additional inches her designer shoes added to her considerable height, topping at around six foot, the man towered over her.

And he inspected her with an air of detached amusement, his gaze clearly dipping below her chin to where her breasts strained against the confinement of the black leotard.

"Your pleasure, I'm sure." The bastard smiled and ignored her hand.

"Anthony's cats are in high demand, and he's graciously consented to this trial contract so we're going to do the best we can to make the most of this situation." Heidi turned to Anthony as though unaware of the icy drop in Rose√Ętre's regard. "We'll add extra rehearsal time so Rose√Ętre and her cat can get used to each other."

We will? Incredulous, Rose√Ętre could barely pull her eyes away from Anthony to look at the stage manager. "More rehearsals?" Tired of holding her hand out to the air, she let it drop.

"Absolutely." Heidi nodded briskly, clapping her hands and striding away to gather the dancers, completely ignoring the cats with the poise of one who was likely more dangerous than the wild animals. "Ladies!"

Cerveau stood next to Kiki, Peppermint and Amber, the question in her expression obvious, but Rose√Ętre shook her head, waving her off with one short hand gesture. She didn't need backup.

"So what's your problem with cats, princess?" The words shivered up her spine. Anthony's voice prowled behind her, his body heat brushing against her in challenge and invitation.

"Does it matter?"

She didn't have to play nice. The bastard couldn't be bothered to shake her hand.

"It might. You're going to be riding my tiger every night for the next three months." The words dripped with mockery and some other indefinable emotion.

Rose√Ętre shifted away, sparing him a dismissive look. She'd practiced the art of cool disdain for years under her mother's tutelage. He might call her princess in his low, rolling sexy voice as a jest, but it didn't make it any less true.

"What's the problem now, princess?"

"You're getting sarcasm on my shoes." She lifted one, taking great care to inspect it.

Anthony threw his head back and laughed, a deep belly–trembling shout of amusement.

The noise drew the dancers' attention like children to free chocolate. Cerveau's face twisted comically, a mixture of censure and curiosity reddening her cheeks. She wouldn't approve the tone, but she would appreciate the cause.

"You still haven't told me why you don't like my cats."

"They're cats."

Head canted to the right, he studied her. The deep blue of his eyes was enhanced by a circle of darker blue along the iris. His pupils seemed to blink on their own, but that wasn't possible. Rose√Ętre forced her gaze back to his dimples, just barely disguised by the thick rush of blond beard coating his cheeks.

"Cats are magnificent, bold and affectionate creatures. They are slow to trust, but have unshakable loyalty."

"Until you're dead and then they just eat your corpse." She shuddered.

He laughed again. "You don't need your body when you're dead."

She was missing everything Heidi was saying to the other dancers. Clearly, the stage manager didn't care because she wasn't even looking in Rose√Ętre's direction, much less shooting her with her optic laser beams of impatience.

"I'd rather my body was undisturbed, thank you very much. The idea of anything feasting after I'm dead is unappealing." Not to mention sacrilegious. A warrior's death should be honored with blades and flame, never teeth.

Or, the gods forbid, a hairball. Rose√Ętre grimaced.

"Would you prefer they do it while you're alive?" The silken whisper brushed against her ear. Tingles raced over her skin from the sweep of his beard on her cheek.

Heart leaping, Rose√Ętre barely managed to suppress her startled scream and settled for smacking his chest. The hard muscles didn't even budge as her hand made contact, leaving a vivid, white mark against the golden tan.

"You really need to stop doing that." Enough is enough. The man might be here at Heidi's request or the Overseers', but his job was to deal with the damn cats.

"Stop what?" The mock innocence coating his teasing grin reminded her more of the tiger yawning than it did a conciliatory gesture.

"Invading my bubble." She rolled her hand in the air between them. "You haven't been invited into my bubble."

The coolness in his gaze warmed considerably, his grin widened. He was obviously enjoying the hell out of her irritation.

"How does one get invited into your bubble?" He batted the air in front of her, a downright playful gesture that sank its claws into her belly.

Nope. Not going to be turned on.

Excerpt from Taking the Stage by Heather Long
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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