Forever and a Night Book 4
by Lana Campbell
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Elizabeth Davenport loves a good time. She's a rich, twenty one year old vampire, embarking on a new career and living the high life in New York City. Her father, famous real estate mogul Nathan Davenport, will do anything to protect Beth who is the apple of his eye.
One night at an art premier she meets Dr. Noah Langston, an OB/GYN for vampires. He's handsome, sexy and two hundred and fifty years older than her.
It isn't long after Beth begins to date Noah that she incurs a stalker. Their budding romance takes a back seat to this menace wreaking havoc in Beth's life. He abducts one of her friends and threatens to kill her if Beth won't agree to see him.
Now everyone in Beth's life is working overtime to catch this killer who has a sick fantasy that Beth is his life mate. But what happens when the killer kidnaps Noah and drugs him and uses him to blackmail Beth into meeting with him alone? Only Beth can save Noah, but can she reach him in time or will this killer vampire end both Noah and Beth's lives?
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Forever and a Night Book 3
Chelsie Peebles - an OB/GYN for vampires - is dying from stage four glioblastoma, and there is only one cure.
She must turn into a vampire herself.
Keeping the devastating news from her vampire family, she researches her options for survival. But the realization is, that she is going to die.
In her desperation, she blackmails her clinic into aiding her through her life-altering transformation.
Asa Bradley, one of Chelsie's partners, thinks she is crazy. But he has no idea she's dying. He is, however, bewitched by her, and wants to know why she is hellbent on becoming one of them.
By invitation, he goes to see her sing at a Country and Western bar, and is instantly mesmerized by her angelic voice and seductive body.
Trouble is, the band's singer, and Chelsie's ex, Chad thinks she belongs to him. Dangerously possessive, he threatens to hurt her if Asa doesn't back off.
Undeterred by a human, Asa romances Chelsie, gaining her trust and her affections. They inevitably lead him to discover Cheslie's deadly secret.
Can Asa keep Chelsie safe from the maniacal Chad and get her the transformation she needs? Or will it be a race against time to see who kills her first; cancer, or her villainess ex?
Forever and a Night Book 2
Christian is the exception to Tiffany's rule that all males are louses. For years Tiffany has lusted after Christian and of late she can't help but wonder what it might be like to have a brief fling with him. The opportunity to explore her secret fantasy appears when Christian offers her a job as the IT person for his practice, the V clinic. She knows if he gives her the green light, she's going to have a romp with her sexy vampire. When the night finally arrives and she and Christian have sex, the experience is so overwhelmingly powerful, Tiffany backpedals and tries to turn down the heat between them. She's human. He's a vampire. She can't afford to fall in love with him.
Christian has other ideas. During their sexual encounter, he discovers Tiffany is his life mate and he vows to change her thinking. His intentions are put on hold when he gets caught up in an angel of death's vicious plan to chemically terminate V clinic patients' pregnancies. Tiffany herself falls victim to a lethal dose of arsenic and Christian can only save her by turning her into a vampire. She's furious when she wakes from her turning and discovers what Christian has done. She wants nothing to do with him ever again, but when she's kidnapped by this angel of death and used as a guinea pig for deadly experiments she only has Christian to turn to save her life.
Forever and a Night
Forever and a Night Book 1
Nathan Davenport is being stalked by Isabella Ravini, the feral vampire who stole his human life over a hundred and sixty years ago. She made him her fledging, a slave for her dark, evil purposes-hunting humans. After a few years she released him, and Nathan reluctantly learned to accept the cursed life she'd foisted upon him.
Over time he amassed a great fortune, which today has made him famous worldwide. Isabella decides she wants to be a part of this world of fame and fortune Nathan created for himself. She's determined to marry him, and love has nothing to do with it. His money is her primary target, and the fame and prestige attached to being the wife of one of the richest men in the world wouldn't be so bad either.
In an effort to evade her until he can figure out how to stop her, he hides at a safe house he owns in New Orleans. One Saturday evening in NOLA, he decides to have dinner in the city. He chooses a quiet little Italian bistro, never imagining this night will change his life forever. The human woman who delivers his order isn't a server, but the restaurant's sous chef, a beautiful ethnic woman possessing the most delicious blood scent he's ever encountered.
The moment Mia Peebles arrives at his table with his plate, tasting her becomes an obsession. Mia wants nothing to do with him because of Nathan's reputation as a playboy. So Nathan enchants her, feeds from her, but his lusts for her blood and body play havoc with his thinking.
Nathan finds a way to bring her into his life as his personal chef and quickly falls in love with her. The trouble is Mia has no idea he's a vampire because during the enchanting episodes, Nathan blocked her memories of those sensual encounters.
How will Nathan tell her the truth without losing her and keep Isabella from finding him? Or worst yet, will Isabella discover how much Mia has come to mean to him?
Hi. I'm Lana Campbell author of Forever and a Night, a paranormal, vampire romance. I love writing and reading paranormal books. I live in Avoca, AR with a husband and a cat. Love cats too!
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Nathan’s men rushed inside, Christian at their heels. He flipped up his sunglasses and looked about the inky darkness of a huge garage, plenty luminous for vampire eyes. Another standard door led to the belly of the building in the far right corner. He headed toward it, behind Nathan’s six men. Asa, Dominic and Nathan took up the rear, single file behind him.
At this point most everyone inside had surely heard the door come down. Christian needed to alert Tiffany and make her ready for whatever transpired once they emerged into the building’s interior.
We’re here. Get ready. Say nothing and stay calm. I’ll be there before you know it.
You’re here? Thank God, Christian.
Are you alone?
Yeah, I’m still alone and tied down to this damned bed. My heart is about to beat out of my chest. That’s my only tell, but no one except a vampire could here it.
I’ll hear it soon enough and it will be music to my ears.
Two of Nathan’s men took the battering ram to the interior door. Once it was relieved of it’s hinges, Christian rushed inside behind four of Nathan’s men. He expected to be met by the very least the brother armed to defend his turf, but instead two young thin vampire girls with hideously gray skin and gaunt features stood in a long hall just out a doorway to his right. The scent of chili wafted from the room, and Christian assumed it to be a kitchen.
The two girls appeared terrified, frozen in place, eyes wide and flitting from one armed man to another.
“Hands in the air!” one of the humans ordered.
They instantly obeyed.
Christian raised the barrel of his gun toward the ceiling. These poor little things were no threat. “Are you here by choice?” he asked them.
Both shook their heads, still wearing petrified expressions.
“Take us to the four women they brought here three days ago,” he demanded.
Just then a man walked out the doorway, hands in the air. Christian saw a holstered gun on his hip. The others must have too. Every man took aim on him with their weapons.
“Get down! Face down on the floor. Hands behind your head!” two of the human men yelled.
He did their bidding without a word. Seconds later he was swarmed by three humans, stripped of his gun and handcuffed.
Christian glanced at Asa who stared at the two frightened vampire girls with pity. He felt the same emotion himself, but he needed them to lead him to Tiffany and the others.
“Where are the women?” he asked again with less rancor.
The one closest to them finally answered. “D-down this hallway, take a left and you’ll find them in the curtained cubicles.”
Christian wanted to bolt in the direction they’d indicated, but he held back, glanced at Asa then behind him at Nathan, Dominic and Dimitri. They all wore an expression similar to what was on his mind. This was just too damned easy.
“Are you Terry, Charla’s brother?” Christian asked, stepping up to the head of the prone man who craned his head to glare up at him with equal doses of hate and spite.
“How do you know my name?”
“Never mind that. Get up and lead us to the women.” Christian yanked him up and onto his feet so fast, he’d probably dislocated his shoulder. A harsh grunt of pain said he was correct, but he didn’t care. This man was part of this kidnapping and drugging ring. He deserved a bullet between the eyes, but right now he’d serve just fine as a hostage.
The young sickly girls did not deserve such treatment. “Dominic, Dimitri, could you escort these young ladies out of the building? That is if you want to leave. We’ll make sure you get home, back to your lives, families, whatever.”
Both shook their heads adamantly and the two men corralled them around the small posse in the entryway then out of the building.
Christian shoved the barrel of his gun against the man’s spine. “Lead us to them now.”
Terry, craned his head back and gave him a look of disgust. “I’ll lead you right to them, vampire, but it won’t do you any good. By now they’re all on their way out. I’m sorry about that. I really am. I liked that one with the mouth.”
“Yeah. That’d be the one.”
“You’d better qualify that comment and quick if you want to live. Where are they being taken?”
“I couldn’t answer that, but maybe you can. Where do vampires go when they die?”
Excerpt from Forever and a Night
“You’re having a very late dinner.” Mia’s head shot up, her gaze slashing toward her right. The speaker was that drop-dead-gorgeous man she’d delivered the one top order to earlier, and he was standing beside her holding a glass of wine. She swallowed the bite in her mouth and said, “This tends to be my normal dinner hour. How was your dinner?” She was surprised to still find him here but not unusual she supposed. Tavania’s was one of the tamer establishments here on Bourbon Street. Guests, whether single or in a group, often came here to eat, hook up to Wi-Fi and work, or just hang out in a nonparty atmosphere. “Amazing, actually. You’re a talented chef.” He took up residence on the stool next to her and sat his glass on the bar. Forever and a Night 13 Mia noticed him studying her. His eyes, the most beguiling she’d ever seen, held intrigue. She felt a little unnerved by his perusal, but she chalked it up to a customer desiring to speak to the chef. It happened all the time. Mostly with Joe because he was head chef. Happy guests often asked to speak to him. She had a roll to play. So play it she would. Mia pushed aside her plate and smiled. “I’m Mia Peebles. Is this your first time at Tavania’s?” She extended her hand. He gave it a cordial shake. “Yes. I drove by tonight and decided it might be a quiet place to do some work. Not so much, but I managed to accomplish what I needed to. I’m Nathan Davenport.” Mia laughed. “Yes, it was a bit crazy tonight. It’s good to meet you, Nath—” She broke off and glared at him. Her heart did a little trip over in her chest when her brain cells began to fire and comprehend the name the man had given her. “Oh my god,” she breathed. Suddenly, his features began to morph with the memories of numerous news and other TV show interviews she’d witnessed over the last ten years or so. Nathan Davenport was a real estate mogul and currently the richest man in the United States and possibly worldwide. Also the most sought-after bachelor on the planet. A playboy. He had a different supermodel or Hollywood starlet on his arm every other picture or interview taken of him. Lana Campbell 14 He looked amused. “I guess you know who I am.” “Duh.” She laughed, picked up her glass of wine, and sipped. “My biggest question is, how did you end up here? I thought you lived in New York.” “I do primarily, but I have a number of homes, and one of my favorites is here in New Orleans in the heart of one of the historical districts. Circumstances have brought me to the city. Unfortunately, I don’t have a private chef here, just a housekeeper, so I went out for the evening.” Mia blinked at him. A private chef ? Wow! Of course a man like him would have all sort of household and personal staff. Her background was redneck, Missouri rural. Just having food on the table every day for her ex-husband and children had been a miracle of God for many years. That kind of wealth stymied her. In her four years with Joe, she’d had many encounters with well-to-do folk and had learned to accept and accommodate their eccentricities. Not every wealthy patron she’d met were all up in their stuff, but she suspected Nathan Davenport about as spoiled as a rich person could get. “What?” he demanded, grinning at her. “Nothing. Just glad you happened by tonight and enjoyed your meal. And truly, I hope you’ll visit Tavania’s again.” She tried for a kind smile then stood, intending to take her half-eaten plate and wine glass to the dish pit. He laid a hand on her arm, halting her. “Are you finished for the evening?” Forever and a Night 15 Mia’s smile faded. There was a hungry look in his eyes, which had nothing to do with food, and she didn’t like the implications. “No. I’m closing tonight and have another hour or so ahead of me. Why?” “I was going to ask you if you’d like to have a drink with me when you’re finished. I’d be happy to wait.” His expression seemed polite enough. Maybe her thinking was a little harsh. He’d been completely cordial, but Mia was forty-two years old and wise enough to recognize a player when she saw one. “That’s very kind of you, but no. It’s been an extremely long day, and I’m beat, but I appreciate the invite.” He appeared disappointed, but Mia didn’t care. She hadn’t dated since her divorce. Hadn’t had time and certainly tonight, she had no time for a guy like Davenport. The man would have been a temptation for a nun. She’d lived like one for the last five years because work left her no time for a social life. However, she wasn’t thinking very sisterly thoughts at the moment, which solidified her refusal. That and the fact he was Nathan Davenport. Dating required commonalities. She couldn’t think of one they might share. She’d taken several steps away from the bar when she heard him speak. Mia, look at me. His voice had taken on a deep hypnotic tone, which seemed to echo in her head. In fact, it seemed to only be in her head, not audible. The strangeness of that reality should Lana Campbell 16 have been terrifying, yet something compelled her to turn and face him. She sat her dishes on the bar. “Come with me.” He gave her a kind, reassuring smile. She opened her mouth to say, Hell, no, but the word that came out instead was, “Okay.” Her heart tumbled over in her chest. Mia realized she was seriously losing it because she allowed him to escort her out the front door of the restaurant without a peep. As hard as she tried to get her feet to obey her mind’s order to run back inside the restaurant, they were useless. They just kept taking her the direction he led them. Her voice was useless too. Her jaws felt locked.
The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 1
by J.J. DiBenedetto
Genre: Light Suspense Thriller
All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was deliver a box of pottery shards to her professor at his dig site, along with his new car. Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water. Still, it should have been simple.
That is, until everything went wrong.
Now, Jane has the wrong box and is being chased by thieves who want it and aren't particular about how they get what they want.
Add to that, she's picked up a pair of passengers who both claim they can help her get her professor's pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner. If only she knew who was working with the thieves and who she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.
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The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 2
Jane Barnaby had everything going her way: a prestigious internship at the Museum of Natural History, a fantastic Upper West Side sublet apartment, and helping plan her newly-engaged college friend's wedding.
Until a casual lunch with her friend's fiancé set off alarm bells, and sent her digging into the rabbit hole that is his past.
When that rabbit hole leads Jane and her on-again, off-again boyfriend to the English countryside, uncovering secrets dating back to World War 2, searching for priceless art treasures looted by the Nazis, and fighting off the thieves who will kill to get those treasures for themselves, will they discover the truth, or lose their lives?
Her Brother's Keeper
The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 3
Jane Barnaby has planned the perfect Christmas vacation. Her father and his fiancé are joining her in Spain at her archaeological dig. They'll see her work, meet her mentor, and they'll all enjoy a few days of sunny Mediterranean beaches in the dead of winter.
But it all falls apart when Jane's annoying brother tags along and lands in jail for a crime he didn't commit.
To clear her brother's name, all Jane has to do is chase a wily female con-artist across Europe, catch her, and confront the woman and her accomplices. Oh, and outwit an ex-KGB agent and his personal goon squad along the way.
J.J. DiBenedetto is author of the Dream Series and the Jane Barnaby Adventures and lives in Arlington, Virginia with the love of his life and a white cat who rules the roost.
His passions are photography, travel, the opera, the New York Giants, and of course writing.
Mr. DiBenedetto is devoted to writing books with a sense of mysticism to entertain and perhaps invite his readers to suspend belief in a way they might never have.
Since he was very young , he has always been intrigued with the supernatural and things that can't be explained rationally.
By always asking way too many questions, it piqued his interest to the point of setting his writing off and running when he grew up! All the curiosity building up all those years were finally getting put into words to captivate readers. And it hasn't ended. His main goal is to share all the stories he has inside, putting pen to paper. And that's how the Dream Series was born.
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FINDERS KEEPERS EXCERPT #1
“You know that expression ‘if looks could kill’ really is just an expression, right? You can stare at me like that all night if you want, but I’m not changing my mind.”
When she’d told him her new plan, Jane had worried, just for a moment or two, that Tom might try to grab the wheel or do something else equally drastic. She wasn’t sure what would have happened if he had; fighting for control of the car with a hostile passenger had not come up in her Driver’s Ed classes back in high school.
Forgoing violence, he’d settled for stunned disbelief, followed by an extended string of what Jane had to admit was pretty creative cursing. She’d smiled through all of it, and she kept smiling when he changed tactics to a one-sided staring contest. But it was starting to become tiresome. His response to her words, though, was equally annoying.
“You are insane. You understand that, don’t you? You are committing a crime. You are making me a party to crimes. Do you honestly not realize that?”
The smile fell from her face, and Jane sighed. “What crime?” Really, she thought, she shouldn’t have to explain this. It wasn’t that complicated. “I was told to pick up a box in the basement of the Institute, and drive it to Professor Welldon in Mallorca. That’s still what I’m doing.”
Jane glanced over, mainly out of curiosity. She wondered precisely what color his face was. It appeared to have passed straight through the usual visual spectrum and was well on its way towards ultraviolet. With great effort, he managed to keep his voice almost under control, though. “It’s the wrong box! It’s our artifacts, not your pottery pieces!”
“Yes,” she agreed. “But I only have your word on that. You don’t have a badge, or a warrant or even a nasty letter to prove it.”
FINDERS KEEPERS EXCERPT #2
She’d punched him! Women weren’t supposed to do that! If they got angry at you, they were only supposed to slap you. Tom had endured his share of angry slaps – what bloke hadn’t? But they were never very hard. He’d step a little too far over the line, and some bird would slap his cheek, and later she’d get over it and they’d get on with business, or not. Usually not. That’s just how things were done.
None of them had ever punched him. Nobody had, not since he was sixteen, anyway. And this girl had given it all she had. He didn’t dare touch his teeth with his tongue, in case she’d loosened any of them. She hadn’t bothered to listen to a word he’d said – what sort of lunatic was she? He cursed himself for believing that dotty girl back at Oxford, that this Jane Barnaby was a reasonable person, that of course she’d understand the situation and help him bring the artifacts back home.
Why had he listened to a girl who talked to trees? How could he ever have imagined anything good would come of that?
But he had, and now here he was, his jaw throbbing, the box of artifacts he was to retrieve gone, and the Barnaby girl looking perfectly ready to hit him again.
FINDERS KEEPERS EXCERPT #3
“Eighteen! That is an eight! Can you not read?”
Tom didn’t answer; there seemed little point. Alice was more interested in berating him than in hearing anything he had to say. At any rate, what was there to say? He thought he was meant to leave the box in room 16, but he’d really been meant to leave it in room 18. And when the man from the British Museum had come, he’d found no box in room 18 – or room 16.
“Perhaps you can read this, then,” Alice continued, shoving a paper into his hand. Some women became more attractive when they were angry, Tom mused, not looking at what he’d just been handed. Alice was decidedly not one of them.
She tapped her foot impatiently and Tom held the paper up. The first thing that caught his eye was a figure: £6,500,000. He blinked, shook his head and looked again. The number did not change.
“You understand now? The money is the least of it, you - you bloody fool!” Tom imagined that much stronger words were going through Alice’s mind. “Those items are irreplaceable! You think we can just go to the market and purchase more Third Dynasty relics?”
Tom understood. He understood that he was going to be out on his arse and on the dole shortly, and that not just Alice but likely half her office would be joining him. He began to say “I’m sorry” but caught himself. Not only was it wholly inadequate, but it would probably get him slapped. Or worse; the letter opener on Alice’s desk appeared to be quite sharp, and her hand was edging ever nearer to it.
THE GLASS BLADE
Hunters of Infinity Book 1
by Ryan Wieser
Genre: Science Fiction/Space Opera
The Hunters of Infinity have been protecting the Daharian galaxy for years, but there has never been a female Hunter-until now.
In a seedy bar in the shadowy corners of Daharia, Jessop comes to the rescue of young Hunter Kohl O'Hanlon. Impressed by her remarkable sword-wielding skills, the Hunters invite her to their training facility, the Glass Blade, though not all are pleased with the intrusion. But they soon discover that Jessop learned to fight from the rogue leader of the Shadow City of Aranthol-and escaped. Now they want to use her intimate knowledge of their enemy to destroy him. As Jessop grows closer to this elite brotherhood, their leader succumbs to a mysterious ailment, and Kohl learns that Jessop is hiding dark secrets, raising suspicions about the enigmatic woman who saved his life. Has the Hunters' security been breached-or do they have a traitor in their ranks?
Allegiances will be questioned.
Loyalties will be betrayed.
Vengeance will be brutal.
Ryan Wieser completed her B.A. in Sociology and Socio-Legal Studies before going on to complete her MSc. in Experimental Psychology. Having been raised in Africa and educated across multiple countries, Ryan has a passion for travel and an interest in diverse cultures. She currently resides in Wyoming with her husband, where she is writing her next book.
The tavern was dark and quiet, barring the muted voices that filled the corners with whispers of quiet corruption and deceit. Hushed sounds traveled on thick smoke to the ceiling and her eyes trailed over the dimly lit corners and over the musty cloaked patrons. Dirty exchanges took place everywhere, too-young girls being offered coins and despair by corrupt travelers, whose lies traveled like fire across the alcohol on their lips. This wasn’t a typical bar, this dark, underground dwelling in the heart of Azgul where there were more shadows than light, more smoke than air. It was a seedy, unsafe locale where illegal exchanges could occur. A place favored by those in the city’s most important positions, for in this underground dwelling they could act as they truly wished.
From where she sat, with her cloak draped low over her face, she could easily make out the group of Aren. They were more discreet than she had anticipated, but few could go unseen to her well-trained eyes. They were scattered about the bar, donning the civilian attire of common Azgul nomad passer-by. The Aren weren’t common travelers though; they were fatalistic believers who waited anxiously for a supposed impending end. A doom and darkness that would swallow the entire Daharian galaxy whole—their belief in some unimagined state of horror for the universe made her certain that not a man amongst them had ever laid eyes on Aranthol.
She scanned the room, counting twelve of the zealots. Without their robes they appeared as normal men, barring their brand, which could be seen on the base of several of their necks. The tender nape of the neck was where all in Azgul had their brands. She knew that their mark was not well-known though, not as well-known as they would have liked it to be. Thinking of the brandings nearly had Jessop reaching for her own neck, certain she could almost feel the hot iron against her still. The smell of burning, blistering flesh unnaturally recoiling from heated metal filled her nostrils. She shivered at the putrid memory and forced it back to the depths of her mind, where she kept all her locked-away thoughts and all her darkness.
Suddenly, the oddest sensation roused her, overcoming her senses. She could feel silk running across her skin, dragging her fine hairs on end, exciting her cells. The energy of the room had completely changed, thickening the air more than any smoke or liquor could do. She had only ever been around one other of her kind, and to feel the changing electromagnetic charge in the room without him present was as compelling to her as it was terrifying. The draw was a beast’s cry calling her in, feeding her need to find the one like her. It was a pull strong enough to grip her, strong enough to shoot adrenaline through her, to dilate her pupils and ready her muscles and tell her, without question, that Hunters were near.
She closed her eyes and narrowed in on their presence. She could smell the faintest scent of grease on one of them; it had an acidic air to it—like the oil slick found in the Western corner of the city. She could hear his voice though he did not speak. She could see the diminutive smudge of black slick over his boot though she did not open her eyes. Her senses—so refined—ensured she could see most of him without ever glancing his way.
And then she laid eyes on him.
Legend of the Gods Book 1
by Aaron Hodges
Genre: Epic Fantasy
A century since the departure of the Gods, the Three Nations are now united beneath the Tsar. Magic has been outlawed, its power too dangerous to remain unchecked. All Magickers must surrender themselves to the crown, or face imprisonment and death.
Alana's mundane life has just been torn apart by the emergence of her brother's magic. Now they must leave behind everything they've ever known and flee - before the Tsar's Stalkers pick up their trail. Tasked with hunting down renegade Magickers, the merciless hunters will stop at nothing to bring them before the Tsar's judgement.
As the noose closes around Alana and her brother, disgraced hero Devon finds himself at odds with the law when he picks a fight with the wrong man. The former warrior has set aside his weapons, but now, caught between the renegades and the Stalkers, he is forced to pick a side - the empire, or the innocent.
Grab this all new epic fantasy novel by NYTimes Bestselling Author Aaron Hodges.
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor's of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Today, his adventures continue…
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A Montana Mountain Romance #2
by Dawn Luedecke
Genre: Historical Romance
One of the last outposts of the American West, the Montana Territory is filled with promise and adventure for those with brave souls-and open hearts . . .
Leader of the Timberbeasts, logger Simon Sanders' biggest problem a year ago was deciding which willing woman to seduce. But since being mauled by a cougar he's become a pariah in Missoula's social circuit-and to himself. All he wants is to hide his scarred face and disappear into the bottom of a whiskey bottle. His plan is going well-until his sister's best friend, Carrie Kerr, kidnaps him and forces him to deal with his demons. If he didn't know better, Simon would swear the bossy beauty is a demon herself . . .
Carrie doesn't like to use the word kidnap. Unknowingly transport, perhaps. In any case, she can no longer watch Simon destroy himself in self-pity. Not since she lost her heart to him as she nursed him back to health. Now, whatever happens between them, she's determined to bring him back to the one place he swore he'd never return to, the place she's sure will reignite his spirit. But if things go awry, will she
will she lose all hope for him to win back his life-much less share it with her? . . .
"Well written, well researched. Like the river, this plot runs faster and faster. Readers won't be able to put it down."
-New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas on White Water Passion
White Water Passion
A Montana Mountain Romance #1
The Montana Territory is one of the last outposts of the American West-where adventure as grand as the wide-open plains is around every corner, and passion as wild as the land itself beats in every heart . . .
Elizabeth Sanders isn't afraid of anything, except what will happen to her beloved town if the Big Mountain Lumber Mill is destroyed. When she overhears a plot to do just that, she vows to put a stop to it, even if it means dressing as a young lumberjack to expose the saboteur. There's only one problem with her plan-her brother's handsome friend and fellow logger Garrett Jones, who arouses a desire within her soul as fierce as the river rapids.
When Garrett discovers that the odd new lad on the crew is in fact Beth, he's shocked. A logging camp is no place for a young woman-especially the spirited beauty he's admired for so long. Keeping her safe is easier said than done, however, as the attraction between them flares into true passion. As the danger mounts, Beth and Garrett must work together to survive the last log run down the wild rapids and claim any chance of saving the mill-and their chance at a future . . .
A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. She enjoys writing historical and contemporary romance and spends as much time as she can working on her current manuscript.
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Team Cerberus Book 2
by Melissa Kay Clarke
Genre: Military Romantic Suspense
The biggest book exposition of the year is just around the corner and literary agent Annabeth Switcher is feeling the pressure. Between babysitting her newest client hell-bent on making her miserable and taking care of the thousands of little things that require her attention, she doesn't have time for a personal life. No matter how much a certain Navy SEAL enters her thoughts.
Levi "Hick" Salter spotted the curvy redhead beauty at a friend's wedding. She is vivacious, brassy and so full of life, he's drawn to her like a moth to a flame. Even though they live on opposite sides of the country, their mutual attraction is too much to resist. Thus begins a long distance relationship for these "friends with benefits." They can't be more - he's committed to his duty and she's got her own life. Phone calls and the occasional meet up is the best they can hope for.
The Navy combines Hick's team with the one headed by Matthew "Wolf" Steel to hunt down a terrorist cell intent on bring down Western culture. While Hick is out trying to save the world from fanatics, Annabeth's concentrating on insuring her clients have a smooth convention. Neither knew their two worlds would collide so violently.
When the cell sets their sights on the literary exposition, Hick must rally the SEALs to save the day and his curvy bombshell. Nothing else matters but Rescuing Annabeth.
This is a full length novel and incorporates the entire SEAL team from Susan Stoker's Seal Of Protection series.
TEAM CERBERUS (Each story is complete with its own HEA)
Team Cerberus Book 1
Two million people disappear into human trafficking every year. Olivia Parker would never have believed she could be one of them. Born to a barely functional mother and caring for her dependent brother, Olivia was determined to make their future better than their troubled past. Instead, she finds herself thrown into a nightmare from which she cannot awaken
Navy Seal, Grayson "Bruiser" Titus, abandoned as a baby, creates a family with his SEAL team. He would do anything for them and knows they would do the same. However, something is missing - could he find it with the intriguing beautiful sister of Jayden Parker? Meeting Olivia feels like looking at his future wrapped in a pair of deep hazel eyes.
Bruiser's team would follow him into the pits of hell. It only stands to reason when Olivia disappears they rally around him. Being SEALs meant they often battled the worse dregs of humanity for God and Country.
However, this is personal.
Saving her is a one-in-a-million long shot, but they will do whatever it takes to bring her home. The only question is: will it be in time to save both body and mind or will her new reality finally break her spirit?
** Warning - Contains adult subject matter **
Team Cerberus Book 0
For three terrifying years, Joselyn Kendrik lived a half-life in Witness Protection hiding from a serial murderer and rapist nicknamed 'The Gardener'. After he was killed while placing a slashed teddy bear dressed as her on her father's grave, she could finally look forward to some normalcy in her life. Her newfound peace is shattered a year later when she receives a sinister gift eerily similar to others sent by The Gardener. Although assured by the police it is a copycat, she isn't as confident. Regardless of his identity, her stalker has made one thing perfectly clear; he's set his sights on her and nothing will stop him.
Maddox "River" Benson is looking in the rear-view mirror at a twenty-year career with the Navy SEALs. Contemplating an uncertain future, River jumps at the chance to assist an old friend in the New Orleans Police Department. There is an unknown stalker zeroing in on an innocent young woman. Although there is only so much the police can do officially, River isn't as restricted. Protecting Joselyn is his only priority.
Joselyn's schedule is a bane to River's security strategy. The feisty beauty is intent on pursuing her budding career regardless of her sexy bodyguard's advice. Although their opinions clash in the beginning, the escalating threats force them to come to a compromise. He must trust her with freedom and she must trust him with her life. Meanwhile, the growing attraction between them creates an entirely different set of issues.
How can he concentrate on protecting Joselyn when thoughts of claiming her for his own continually distract him?
When her stalker draws closer, will one ex-SEAL have what it takes to ensure her survival?
Will River be able to Protect Joselyn?
Melissa was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and raised in Houlka, a small rural town forty-five minutes southwest down the famous Natchez Trace. She found a love of reading very early and quickly devoured everything she could. Told repeatedly that she had a wonderful imagination, she turned to scribbling her musings and wrote her first novel while in college. It was never published and has since vanished. The death of a close friend who aspired to become an author reawakened her own desire resulting in penning her first book, Shattered Dreams, published in 2013.
Melissa now resides in Meridian, Mississippi with her supportive family - husband, Robert and daughter Rebecca, two cats, and two dogs. When she isn't writing, she spends way too much time with her online friends and feeding her ravenous appetite for the written word.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, teasers and a giveaway!
Kiss the Sky
by MK Schiller
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Love can move mountains . . .
Strong, athletic, and driven, Tristan Sinclair is determined to fulfill his late brother's wish to climb Pakistan's K2, the world's second highest mountain. He never expects part of the challenge will be getting along with one of his fellow climbers-or that the greatest peril may lie beyond the summit . . .
A passionate, life-long climber, Pakistan born Farah Nawaz is skeptical of the hotshot from Arizona. But as she and Tristan help each other conquer obstacle after obstacle, they find they have more in common than they thought-including a simmering attraction. And when suspicious deaths put them in the sights of a ruthless killer, they'll have to cover their tracks long enough to find out why-and stay alive for a future together . . .
MK Schiller is a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. In the dark of night, she sits by the warm glow of her computer monitor, reading or writing, usually with some tasty Italian…the food that is! She started imagining stories in her head at a very young age. In fact, she got so good at it that friends asked her to create plots featuring them as the heroine and the object of their affection as the hero. She hopes you enjoy her stories and find The Happily Ever After in every endeavor. M.K. Schiller loves hearing from readers.
by Elizabeth Foster
Genre: YA Fantasy
A warm-hearted, whimsical fantasy tale, with lashings of mystery, magic, and mythology, and prose that 'flows like water.' Prepare to fall in love with Esperance!
"A fresh new fantasy, of an enchanting world." - Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island and Dragonfly Song
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father's wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme's mother, Ariane - so why can't she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother's disappearance - that 'lost at sea' is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother's steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane's double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
This fresh, inventive tale is ideal for readers fifteen and under, including pre-teens keen to step up to YA. A wholly unique take on the genre, perfect for fans of Cornelia Funke or Rick Riordan.
Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids gave her the urge to create a story of her own. Once she started writing, she never looked back. She's at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, Australia, and Esme's Wish is her first novel.
For more information, please visit her website: www.elizabethfoster.com.au. Sign up to her mailing list (on the first page of the website) to hear news about her writing journey and upcoming books.
Forbidden Chords Book 1
by Ja'Nese Dixon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Millions of adoring fans dream of having one night with him, but only she has access to his heart.
Born with three commas in his bank account and melodies in his veins, Marques Carter is the rising prince of R&B. But not even his family name can guarantees success.
Brione Allen is a smart woman that made a dumb decision: trusting the wrong man. He blackmailed her family and now she's bound by a debt they knew she couldn't pay.
A chance meeting at his concert leads to an encrypted proposal: One week, one hundred thousand dollars, one incriminating secret. But when extortion and family ties expose them to the worst of the limelight, which secrets will they keep…and which will threaten their small light of hope?
If you like stories by Bella Andre and Layla Hagen, then this series is for you!
Ja'Nese Dixon writes tales of romance laced with strong women and stronger men. My happily ever afters are meant to inspire. So, if you're looking for a page turner that will leave you blushing, with your heart racing, and lying to yourself about reading "just one more chapter" then grab a book.
She is an avid reader and coffee drinker, who also loves to run, cook, and quilt (and not in that order). Her ultimate goal as a writer is to give you a little "staycation" with every story.
Ja'Nese calls Houston home with her husband, three kiddos, and a four-legged diva dog. Visit her website at http://www.janesedixon.com if you enjoy romance, suspense, and good sweet & spicy stories that inspire.
Enter the Author's giveaway HERE!
(ends March 25th)
Echoes of Angels
Keepers of Eternity Book 1
by Devyn Quinn
Genre: Paranormal Romance
If you like dark paranormal romance, you'll love the Keepers of Eternity series by Devyn Quinn!
"This is an exciting, atmospheric story. . . . A dark fantasy with tortured characters and dramatic events, Echoes of Angels is a very promising start to a new series. 4½ stars." -Romantic Times
With her life in shambles and nowhere to turn, Julienne Blackthorne has no choice but to accept her grandmother's offer to return to her ancestral home-a home Julienne's mother fled in fear more than twenty years ago. What she finds there is a world so macabre it haunts her senses and fills her with dread. And the darkly compelling Morgan Saint-Evanston, whose mysterious pull haunts her in more sensual ways.
Morgan was once the most feared mercenary in a sinister realm and was destined to become the leader of his people-a duty he abandoned when his tormented soul drove him to seek exile in the mortal world. Tortured by his betrayal and the knowledge that those who dwell on the dark side will one day have their vengeance, he turns to the beautiful Julienne for one last moment of solace. Because the veils separating the worlds are about to open, and Morgan knows he must take the fight to the enemy before the forces of darkness unleash their unholy hell on mankind.
As Julienne surrenders to the undeniable passion that flares between them and Morgan prepares to confront a fate he cannot ignore, both will be plunged into a realm where human souls are open barter and even the power of love may not be enough to save them.
**Only .99 Cents!**
Descent of Demons
Keepers of Eternity Book 2
"Devyn Quinn writes compelling characters, a chilling and gripping story, and a setting that is easily seen within your mind's eye." -Rogues and Romance Reviews
Left for dead in a hellish corner of the dark realm, Julienne Blackthorne refused to surrender, and through her own force of will and her love for one man she managed to survive and escape. But survival brings its own new hell when she makes a horrific discovery. A demonic sorcerer has begun a search for the forbidden Scrolls of Cachaen, ancient texts that will restore his waning magic and give him the power to take his final revenge on the man Julienne loves, Morgan Saint-Evanston.
In a desperate quest to save Morgan and stop the diabolical sorcerer from gaining control of the scrolls, Julienne will be forced to confront the most sinister powers of this dark world. And in a race against time that will determine the fate of all mankind, Julienne and Morgan will find themselves in a perilous battle against evil that will either condemn them to eternal misery . . . or grant them everlasting love.
**Only .99 Cents!**
Keepers of Eternity Book 3
Since Julienne Blackthorne succumbed to the dark passion of the erotic and erratic Morgan Saint-Evanston, she's been forced to draw on her deepest strengths to survive the demonic realm of the otherworld and the treacherous existence of an immortal. But when Morgan obtains the Scrolls of Cachaen-said to be the keys controlling the forces of nature itself-it unleashes a deeply sinister beast from the astral realm who wields an unholy power capable of defying their efforts to destroy him.
Morgan knows that safeguarding the scrolls is his only hope for protecting Julienne and all of mankind, but the powerful and mystical scrolls are taking a debilitating toll on him, even as very mortal enemies scheme to control him for their own purposes. As he is stripped of the strength he needs to wage an epic war against the beast hell-bent on their destruction, he realizes he will have to turn to a dark magick for their salvation-one that may consume his soul.
And as Morgan and Julienne struggle to defend themselves and the hard-fought love that fires them both, they will come face-to-face with a cruel fate that would turn their one hope for survival into the very thing that could lead to their ultimate destruction.
**Only .99 Cents!**
Rise of the Beast
Keepers of Eternity Book 4
Morgan Saint-Evanston has prevailed over every demented beast sprung from the otherworld, but now he finds himself tormented by an earthside foe who could destroy everything he's built in the mortal realm. Forced to turn to a magickal ally to preserve the sanctity of Blackthorne Manor and safeguard its secrets, he discovers that the bewitching creature's services come at a chilling price: the very part of his soul that harbors his humanity.
Julienne Blackthorne is bonded to Morgan by blood, but the emotional and erotic ties that bind them are fraying as his lost humanity sends him spiraling downward to the furthest extremes of darkness and depravity. As Julienne struggles to save the man she loves from utter and eternal ruin, she must delve into her own dark powers at the risk of forsaking her sanity.
As Morgan and Julienne steel themselves to do battle with his greatest inner demons and those who would deny him his legacy, they must confront the very real threat that his fragmented psyche will lead him to the edge of self-destruction-and the destruction of all they hold dear, both in this world and in their hearts.
**Only .99 Cents!**
Devyn Quinn lives in the scenic Southwest, though she has called several other states home. She is a huge fan of dark gothic music & shoot-'em-up action movies.
Having published through traditional channels, Devyn got fed up with the antiquated New York system & decided to head into indy publishing with Beyond the Page. Beginning in 2017, she will be releasing new work. She is also planning to reissue her former NY titles with fresh material & smoking hot cover art. More exciting is the forthcoming "Ocean Deep" mermaid series, which will tell more tales of the Mer. The Kith & Kynn, Eternity, and Wildcat series' will also be continued with new books.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
The flight into Belmonde, Virginia, was a blur. Julienne Hunter spent most of the journey in the washroom, carefully retouching the layers of cosmetics she wore. Without them, she looked vulnerable, haggard and drawn, and she wasn’t ready for anyone to see her up close.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be landing in five minutes. Please make sure your seats and tray tables are in the upright and locked position and your seatbelts are fastened.” The voice on the intercom was cold and lifeless, an impassionate end to an uneventful trip.
Arranging her belongings, Julienne returned to her seat. Despite her success at disguising her flaws, she was still a bundle of raw nerves. Strands of her copper hair clung to her perspiring face and neck. She simply couldn’t relax. How could she? In a matter of minutes, she was due to meet the family her mother had left behind over twenty years ago.
“I have to believe it will be all right,” she murmured. It had to be. She had no other place to go.
When it was time to deplane, she took a deep breath. She wanted to be calm. Disciplined. She drew her purse onto her shoulder. The butterflies in her stomach wouldn’t cease fluttering as she walked down the canopied ramp.
Entering the terminal, she surveyed the unfamiliar area. Other travelers milled past her, forcing her to follow their migration. Friends and families around her met and greeted, chattering in animated conversation.
Doubling her pace, she passed passengers hurrying to board outgoing flights. Weaving her way around jostling bodies, she realized she didn’t know who was supposed to meet her. She thought about buying a ticket back to California. What would it hurt? If she wanted to leave, her exit would be assured.
She dug her billfold out of her purse. Opening it, she was dismayed to discover thirty-two dollars and fifty-eight cents.
“Shit.” Her hands quivered a little, and it took a moment for her to fight off the crushing sense of helplessness. She had credit cards, but they were over limit. Her cell phone, unpaid for months, was useless. She was dead broke, part of the reason she’d agreed to return to Virginia.
That, and the fact that her soon-to-be ex-husband had tried to kill her.
Julienne winced, remembering the assault. Two days after she’d asked for a divorce, James Hunter had accosted her outside a popular Miami hot spot. Using a box cutter, he’d carved deep gashes into her face before horrified onlookers could stop him.
Though the disjointed memories were blurred, she’d never forget the searing pain of the razor. When she’d separated from James, she hadn’t thought he’d follow through with his threats to get even with her.
Looking back, she knew their marriage had been a damned union from the beginning. They met when she was seventeen and waiting tables in LA. She was looking for her big break in Hollywood. A minor agent, representing D-list clients, he’d promised to make her a star.
James had also introduced her to crack cocaine in a Singapore nightclub. He was already an addict; her modeling jobs supported his habit. She’d tried it to please him, believing she wouldn’t get hooked if she used it sparingly. She was wrong. The drug turned her into a junkie, too. The night James slashed her face had been her second trip to the hospital in less than two months. Both times she’d nearly died, and both times she’d been fueled on the drug.
Bitter recriminations ricocheted through her mind. She always made bad decisions. James. The drugs. After years of struggling, her brief brush with fame was over.
As though reaching for a talisman, she slipped her hand back into her purse, brushing the tips of her fingers across a sheaf of letters she’d carried for months. The cloying scent of vanilla still clung to the pages.
Grandmother Anlese. Thank God for her letters. If nothing else, they proved someone in her family cared whether she lived or died.
The Blackthorne family had stepped back into her life after the attack. They had money, and the way they operated was like a well-oiled machine. Overnight, a cadre of attorneys appeared, sucking her back into the world of wealth and privilege her mother had fought so hard to escape.
A stint in rehab had followed her hospitalization.
Since admitting her own addiction, her life hadn’t been pleasant or easy. Withdrawal meant rules. Rules meant structure. Structure meant recovery. Recovery meant continuation. Not an easy battle when she was utterly bankrupted by scandal and a pending divorce. Surviving hadn’t ended the conflict over her weakened spirit. It would take time to regain a healthy balance.
But she wasn’t scot-free. Her family’s generosity had come with a price. Julienne had to pay them back by coming home.
She supposed she owed them. Not only had they covered all her medical expenses, her grandmother had also paid a hefty sum to purchase the sex tapes James was desperate to release. Currently behind bars for the attack, he needed cash for his own defense.
Her skin, so warm only moments ago, grew chilled. Those DVDs we made would’ve gotten a tidy sum from any porno producer. It embarrassed her she was a willing participant in their creation. But jobs in front of the camera were drying up as their drug use spiraled out of control. No one wanted to hire a crackhead for an expensive shoot. And no reputable actor wanted one as an agent. There was easy money to be made, peddling sex on the Internet.
Sadness washed over her like the consuming waves of an angry ocean. Oftentimes, it felt as if she didn’t belong in this world. Through her twenty-four years, she’d always felt different, isolated and alone. Was it because something had always been missing in her life? A sane mother? A stable home? She’d had neither. Her mother had been mentally ill. What had frightened Cassandra Blckthorne away from her family might have been nothing more than her own schizophrenic mania in action.
Julienne reached for the cross hanging at her throat. She wasn’t particularly religious, but the crucifix offered a bit of solace. She wished things could be different, but she couldn’t dwell on that now. In Virginia was a new life, a fresh start. Whether she’d be able to reclaim her place in the Blackthorne clan was yet to be determined. Her mother was years into her grave. Surely, the bitter past had died with her.
“I belong here,” she murmured to no one.
Lost in a sea of travelers, she noticed a small group of people coming together, pointing her way. She tensed when an elderly woman broke away and approached her. The smile on her face was warm and welcoming.
“Hello, dear. My name is Edith Danridge, and you look lost.” She was beautifully dressed; her soft Southern accent one of education and refinement.
“I am.” Hiding the disappointment in her eyes, Julienne returned a grateful smile. The woman was trying to be kind. The least she could do as a stranger was to greet the locals. She was grateful no one had recognized her. She was just another anonymous nobody in the crowd.
“Then perhaps you need the comfort of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Julienne glanced down at the literature. Hope sank like a stone in water. The Path to Salvation, it read. Disappointed, she shook her head in a polite decline of the material. “Thanks, nice of you to offer.”
“Is someone coming to meet you?” Edith asked, trying to engage her in conversation. “You seem so alone.”
“My grandmother, I think. Perhaps you know her. Anlese Blackthorne.”
Edith Danridge drew back a bit upon hearing her answer, her lips forming an O of silent surprise. A shadow of uncertainty flashed across her features. “Yes, I know your family.” Her body language became defensive, as if she was afraid of being attacked. Her voice was strained.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen her.” Julienne was puzzled by the abrupt change in attitude. It was as if a chill wind had blown without warning through the terminal. “My mother’s name was Cassandra. Did you know her?”
“I remember Cassandra. She didn’t have a chance”—Edith Danridge unexpectedly glanced over her shoulder toward her group, who were also handing out church literature, as if afraid they would hear her—“belonging to them. You don’t, not yet.” She raised a hand and curled her fingers around the gold cross hanging from Julienne’s neck. “Keep faith, and don’t let them destroy you the way they did her.”
Julienne drew back, sucking in a startled breath. The nearness of this strange woman made her extremely uncomfortable. The thin chain around her neck snapped, the ends dangling from the stranger’s hand. “I—I don’t understand.”
Edith Danridge ignored her. As if in a daze, she stared at the broken necklace. “Too late.” The chain slid from her fingers, falling to the floor at her feet. “You belong to the devil.” Giving Julienne a frightened glance, she turned and scurried away, murmuring, “God help us all.”
Julienne stood motionless until jostled into action by passersby. She’s nuts, she told herself. She tried not to let the woman’s words affect her. Nevertheless, such strange pronouncements were unnerving. A fanatic. She knelt to retrieve her jewelry. Spends too much time in that church of hers.
“There’s Miss Julienne.” A man’s voice wafted through the airport and caught her ear.
Julienne turned, looking for the person who’d spoken her name. Her gaze located a young black man standing on the periphery of the departing passengers, at an angle where he could survey the entire room in a single glance. He wore crisp new jeans and a matching shirt, and held a well-worn felt hat in his hands.
She watched him lean slightly to his left and speak to a figure concealed behind an outspread newspaper. The paper came down immediately. Folding it with four crisp movements of precise economy, the second man dropped it into the nearby wastebasket.
Julienne felt the fine hairs on the back of her neck rise. Surely it wasn’t . . . No. Not Morgan Saint-Evanston. God, why him?
As the two men approached, Julienne felt as if someone had led her to the top of a cliff and then, without warning, pushed her off. Somehow, she’d managed to catch the edge, but she was still left to dangle helplessly high above the ground.
She couldn’t help but notice people were falling back to make room for him. A current of apprehension rippled through the masses as he advanced, as if some silent command demanded none should cross his path. Even his companion followed a courteous distance behind.
He stopped within a few feet of her.
“Morgan?” she asked, hoping she was mistaken about his identity.
He nodded in acknowledgment. “Ce’as mile fa’ilte, leanabh.”
Julienne blinked, uncomprehending, puzzled. The odd words jarred, seeming to carry the whisper of familiarity, much like the strains of a long-forgotten tune. One could hum a few notes but never entirely capture the haunting melody. “What did you say?”
“A hundred thousand welcomes,” he repeated, this time in English.
Her face flushed with self-consciousness. “Oh. Sorry, I didn’t understand.” Her brow wrinkled in question. “You expected me to?”
“When you were small, I used to speak Gaelic, the Irish language, to you.” His earnest gaze raked over her, measuring every inch. “But you are not so little now.”
She looked back, evaluating him as closely as he assessed her. His complexion was cream-colored, his eyes almost black. His black, collar-length hair was layered and unruly, threaded with silver at his temples and bangs. At a glance, he appeared to be about thirty. But a closer look revealed crow’s-feet etched at the outer corners of his eyes. Around his mouth were a few deeper character lines and small scars. He was admirably muscled, his posture regal, as if he was always in command despite what fate might otherwise dictate.
He cut an impressive figure, elegantly dressed in a charcoal-gray suit, coat tailored, trousers sharply creased, silk vest worn over a crisp white shirt open at the neck, no tie. A gold watch chain bridged the pockets of his vest. With the heel of a boot under him he almost made it to six feet. All in all, his finery was immaculately tailored and smartly worn.
She’d expected him to look a lot older, and meaner.
But, no. He was absolutely striking. In every way.
Frustrated, and a little confused, she replied, “N—no, sorry. I don’t remember much about my childhood.” She immediately noticed that he didn’t offer his hand or any other physical contact. Despite his salutation, his behavior was guarded, his penetrating stare intense and aggressive, displaying no emotion.
“Why not?” he asked. “Were we so forgettable?” His words were tinged with an Irish brogue, precisely spoken as if to avoid mangling the English language. His voice had a pleasing timbre, even in cadence and tone, in intimacy and confidence. She surmised he could manipulate it with ease to make anyone believe he was sincere, even when he was not.
Julienne swallowed the lump rising in the back of her throat. “It’s been a long time since I was a toddler.”
Now that she’d come face-to-face with him, Julienne wasn’t sure what to make of the man. Morgan was the reason her mother had left town. Cassandra was terrified of him, and she’d run away from him until the effort had killed her.
She’d always suspected Saint-Evanston might be her father. Cassandra never would tell her the truth.
She looked at him again, searching for a connection—an acknowledgment of kinship—in his gaze. There was none. She wasn’t even sure how he fit into the family bloodline. All she knew for sure was he controlled the Blackthorne legacy, and the money that went with it.
And he ruled with an iron fist.