Feature – The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel By Jennifer McQuiston


THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL – On sale September 27, 2016

About the book

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston continues her enchanting Seduction Diaries series as a bookish spinster and an unrepentant rogue unite to unmask a traitor.

Every girl dreams of a hero….

No one loves books more than Miss Mary Channing. Perhaps that’s why she’s reached the ripe old age of six-and-twenty without ever being kissed. Her future may be as bland as milk toast, but Mary is content to simply dream about the heroes and adventures she reads about in her books. That way she won’t end up with a villain instead.

But sometimes only a scoundrel will do.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in the arms of Geoffrey Westmore, London’s most notorious scoundrel, it feels a bit like a plot from one of her favorite novels. Suddenly, Mary understands why even the smartest heroines can fall prey to a handsome face. And Westmore’s is more handsome than most. But far worse than the damage to her reputation, the moment’s indiscretion uncovers an assassination plot that reaches to the highest levels of society and threatens the course of the entire country.

When a tight-laced miss and a scoundrel of epic proportions put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. But unless they put their hearts together as well, a happy ending is anything but assured.

Excerpt
From the Diary of Miss Mary Channing
May 24, 1858

Eleanor wrote today. I should have been glad to hear from her, given that she is my twin sister and I love her dearly, but it would be untruthful to say the contents of her letter pleased me. Her new husband, Lord Ashington, has been called away on business and she’s asked me to come to London to keep her company during the last two months of her confinement.

Can you imagine? Me, in London?

My family says I must get my nose out of my books and begin to live in the world around me. It is true I’ve never been further afield than a day trip from home, and that I have never slept a night outside my own bed. But why would I ever want to leave, when I have my books to keep me company? And a trip to London is not without its perils. I could very well end up like one of the characters in my beloved stories, snubbed by the popular crowd. Whispered about behind lace fans. Or worse . . . led astray by a handsome villain and then abandoned to my fate.

Yet, how could I not go? Eleanor is my sister, and she needs me. So I shall put on a brave face. Pack a trunk. Smile, if I must. But I can’t help but wonder . . . which worries me more?

The many things that could happen in London?

Or the thought of seeing Eleanor, with her handsome new husband, and her shining, lovely life, and everything I am afraid of wanting?

———-

Chapter 1

London, May 29, 1858

The smell should have been worse.

She’d expected something foul, air made surly by the summer heat. Just last week she’d read about the Thames, that great, roiling river that carried with it the filth of the entire city and choked its inhabitants to tears. Her rampant imagination, spurred on by countless books and newspaper articles, had conjured a city of fetid smells, each more terrible than the last. But as Miss Mary Channing opened her bedroom window and breathed in her first London morning, her nose filled with nothing more offensive than the fragrance of . . .

Flowers.

Disconcerted, she peeked out over the sill. Dawn was just breaking over the back of Grosvenor Square. The gaslights were still burning and the windows of the other houses were dark. By eight o’clock, she imagined industrious housemaids would be down on their knees, whiting their masters’ stoops. The central garden would fill with nurses and their charges, heading west toward Hyde Park.

But for now the city—and its smells—belonged solely to her.

She breathed in again. Was she dreaming? Imagining things, as she was often wont to do? She was well over two hundred miles from home, but it smelled very much like her family’s ornamental garden in Yorkshire. She didn’t remember seeing a garden last night, but then, she had arrived quite late, the gaslight shadows obscuring all but the front steps. She’d been too weary to think, so sickened by the ceaseless motion of the train that she’d not even been able to read a book, much less ponder the underpinnings of the air she breathed.

She supposed she might have missed a garden. Good heavens, she probably would have missed a funeral parade, complete with an eight-horse coach and a brass band.

After the long, tiresome journey, she’d only wanted to find a bed.

And yet now . . . at five o’clock in the morning . . . she couldn’t sleep.

Not on a mattress that felt so strange, and not in a bedroom that wasn’t her own.

Pulling her head back inside, she eyed the four-poster bed, with its rumpled covers and profusion of pretty pillows. It was a perfectly nice bed. Her sister, Eleanor, had clearly put some thought into the choice of fabrics and furniture. Most women would love such a room. And most women would love such an opportunity—two whole months in London, with shops and shows and distractions of every flavor at their fingertips.

But Mary wasn’t most women. She preferred her distractions in the form of a good book, not shopping on Regent Street. And these two looming months felt like prison, not paradise.

The scent of roses lingered in the air, and as she breathed in, her mind settled on a new hope. If there was a flower garden she might escape to—a place where she might read her books and write in her journal—perhaps it would not be so terrible?

Picking up the novel she had not been able to read on the train, Mary slipped out of the strange bedroom, her bare feet silent on the stairs. She had always been an early riser, waking before even the most industrious servants back home in Yorkshire. At home, the cook knew to leave her out a bit of breakfast—bread and cheese wrapped in a napkin—but no one here would know to do that for her yet.

Ever since she’d been a young girl, morning had been her own time, quiet hours spent curled up on a garden bench with a book in her lap, nibbling on her pocket repast, the day lightening around her. The notion that she might still keep to such a routine in a place like London gave her hope for the coming two months.

She drifted down the hallway until she found a doorway that looked promising, solid oak, with a key still in the lock. With a deep breath, she turned the key and pulled it open. She braced herself for knife-wielding brigands. Herds of ragged street urchins, hands rifling through her pockets. The sort of London dangers she’d always read about.

Instead, the scent of flowers washed over her like a lovely, welcome tide.

Oh, thank goodness.

She hadn’t been imagining things after all.

Something hopeful nudged her over the threshold of the door, then bade her to take one step, then another. In the thin light of dawn, she saw flowers in every color and fashion: bloodred rose blooms, a cascade of yellow flowers dripping down the wrought iron fence. Her fingers loosened over the cover of her book. Oh, but it would be lovely to read here. She could even hear the light patter of a fountain, beckoning her deeper.

But then she heard something else above those pleasant, tinkling notes.

An almost inhuman groan of pleasure.

With a startled gasp, she spun around. Her eyes swam through the early morning light to settle on a gentleman on the street, some ten feet or so away on the other side of the wrought iron fence. But the fact of their separation did little to relieve her anxiety, because the street light illuminated him in unfortunate, horrific clarity.

He was urinating.

Through the fence.

Onto one of her sister’s rosebushes.

The book fell from Mary’s hand. In all her imaginings of what dreadful things she might encounter on the streets of London, she’d never envisioned anything like this. She ought to bolt. She ought to scream. She ought to . . . well . . . she ought to at least look away.

But as if he was made of words on a page, her eyes insisted on staying for a proper read. His eyes were closed, his mouth open in a grimace of relief. Objectively, he was a handsome mess, lean and long-limbed, a shock of disheveled blond hair peeking out from his top hat. But handsome was always matter of opinion, and this one had “villain” stamped on his skin.

As if he could hear her flailing thoughts, one eye cracked open, then the other. “Oh, ho, would you look at that, Grant? I’ve an audience, it seems.”

Somewhere down the street, another voice rang out. “Piss off!” A snigger followed. “Oh, wait, you already are.”

“Cork it, you sodding fool!” the blond villain shouted back. “Can’t you see we’re in the presence of a lady?” He grinned. “Apologies for such language, luv. Though . . . given the way you are staring, perhaps you don’t mind?” He rocked back on his heels, striking a jaunty pose even as the urine rained down. “If you come a little closer, I’d be happy to give you a better peek.”

Mary’s heart scrambled against her ribs. She might be a naive thing, fresh from the country, and she might now be regretting her presumption that it was permissible to read a book in a London garden in her bare feet, but she wasn’t so unworldly that she didn’t know this one pertinent fact: she was not—under any circumstances—coming a little closer.

Or getting a better peek.

Mortified, she wrapped her arms about her middle. “I . . .that is . . . couldn’t you manage to hold it?” she somehow choked out. There. She’d managed a phrase, and it was a properly scathing one, too. As good as any of her books’ heroines might have done.

A grin spread across his face. Much like the puddle at the base of the rosebush. “Well, luv, the thing is, I’m thinking I’d rather let you hold it.” The stream trickled to a stop, though he added a few more drips for good measure. He shook himself off and began to button his trousers. “But alas, it seems you’ve waited too long for the pleasure.” He tipped a finger to the brim of his top hat in a sort of salute. “My friend awaits. Perhaps another time?”

Mary gasped. Or rather, she squeaked.

She could manage little else.

He chuckled. “It seems I’ve got a shy little mouse on my hands. Well, squeak squeak, run along then.” He set off down the street, swaying a bit. “But I’ll leave you with a word of advice, Miss Mouse,” he tossed back over one shoulder. “You’re a right tempting sight, standing there in your unutterables. But you might want to wear shoes the next time you ogle a gentleman’s prick. Never know when you’ll need to run.”

————————————

About the author
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal.

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Feature – Southern Nights and Secrets by Robin Covington

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Southern Nights and Secrets

by Robin Covington
The Boys Are Back in Town #4
Publication Date: September 19, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Indulgence, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis: Being a doctor is everything to me, but I’m not going to let bureaucrats tell me how to practice medicine. It’s about saving lives no matter what, screw them and their paperwork.

When the one woman I could never forget, Ginger Crawford, shows up as my boss all bets are off. The heat between us is tough to ignore but I have to if I want a future at this hospital. It isn’t easy. Every time we argue, I want her even more.

But I’ve got secrets she can never know, and she’s always going to be way too good for me. So it’s best if she hates me…at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Excerpt: Virginia turned left and headed toward the area that contained the gym equipment, the smell of pool chemicals giving way to the combined aromas of gym mats, sweat, and disinfectant. She pulled the door open to the state-of-the-art facility that was touted as a perk to those recruited to work at this hospital. She nodded to the desk attendant, scanned the well-lit room, and let her ears guide her eyes. Sure enough, Alex had been right. All she had to do was follow the sounds of fists hitting a bag and there he was¾Dr. Beckett Sutherland.

She stood by the edge of the mats, hoping to catch his eye but it wasn’t going to happen. Virginia stooped to remove her heels before stepping on the rubber flooring and making a beeline for him.

He was wholly absorbed in his task, the sounds of his fist impacting violently with the bag and punctuated by grunts of effort expelled on each jab. His longish dark hair hung around his face, wet with the sweat that also ran down his bare torso and disappeared into the waistband of his gym shorts.

Virginia stopped a few feet away and waited for him to notice her, not crazy enough to surprise him within range of his fists. She took the time to continue her catalog of things the past nine years had changed in Beckett Sutherland. The body, always lean and muscled due to his dedication to all things sports and his inability to sit still, was sharper, more predatory in build and size than she remembered. His face, always handsome, was stronger¾a fiercer rendition of his trademark boyish good looks.

The tattoo—a black, red and orange stylized dragon—covered his right side and that half of his back. When she’d asked about it back when they were lovers he’d replied as he thrust into her slowly that his destiny was to be a dragon slayer and that was his reminder. He’d never offered anything more than that cryptic explanation, and she’d never pushed for more. But the nipple bar piercings were new and her breath caught in an almost painful clutch with the impact of just how sexy they were.

He moved quickly, battering the bag with jabs and thrusts that would make any sane person afraid to get in between his fists and the target. Each move was quicksilver, exploding from different angles with each practiced shift of his body. If you blinked you would miss him and that would be a shame because he was gorgeous. Just simply gorgeous.

But she’d been fooled by the beautiful exterior before.

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CATCH UP WITH THE OTHER BOYS IN THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN SERIES BY USA TODAY BESTSELLER ROBIN COVINGTON!

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Synopsis: One night of passion…
Detective Jackson Cantrell never imagined that one night with an irresistible stranger would turn his life upside down. He’s spent years living in the shadows, but Dr. Michaela Roarke awakened a passion inside him he’d buried years ago.He never expected the woman would turn out to be the governor’s daughter…and his next assignment. The governor blackmails Jackson to secretly watch over Michaela and protect her from a stalker, or kiss his dream job at the FBI good-bye. Swearing to keep things strictly professional, Jackson moves in with Michaela. Too bad his heart can’t keep the same promise.

But when the stalker’s attacks quickly escalate beyond mere photographs to bodily harm, Jackson must race to save Michaela’s life. And he’ll have to figure out how to keep her once she discovers his lie.

Book #1 in The Boys are Back in Town Series…
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Synopsis: Some women are bad. Some women are a bad idea. The best ones are both…

As a Black Ops assassin, “Lucky” Landon has had more than his fair share of close calls. Now he’s turned in his sniper rifle for the simple life of his small hometown. So the last thing he ever expected was to end up at gunpoint. Or that the woman holding the gun would be his best friend’s little sister and Lucky’s on-again/off-again lover.

Taylor Elliott is Trouble, and she likes it that way. And seeing Lucky again? Well, he’s been her dirty little secret for the past few years and everyone knows that secrets in a small town are almost impossible to keep. But Taylor has bigger problems on her plate. Like the local mob boss who wants her dead.

And right now the only thing standing between Trouble and disaster is a hottie named Lucky…

Book #2 in The Boys are Back in Town Series…
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Synopsis: Privileged and ambitious attorney Teague Elliott is on the fast-track to getting everything he wants. All he has to do is stay on the straight and narrow and a high-profile political career is his for the taking. Until he wakes up naked with a Vegas showgirl…

Risa Clay has worked hard to put her showgirl past behind her and start fresh. But she owes ten grand to the wrong people, and to pay off her debt, she agrees to betray a stranger. . .but she ends up with a husband and guilty conscience.

Savvy and determined, she double-crosses the mob, goes on the run, and turns up on Teague’s doorstep armed with a dangerous secret, a marriage license, and the power to ruin his well-planed future. She thought using Teague again would be easy, but the passion that exploded between them in Vegas didn’t stay in Sin City and betrayal is the last thing on her mind.

Now Teague has to choose between the future he’s planned for all his life, or the one with Risa that he can’t turn away from.

Book #3 in The Boys are Back in Town Series…
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ABOUT ROBIN COVINGTON

Robin Covington

A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award nominee, Robin’s books have won the Golden Leaf Award and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, the Book Seller’s Best and the National Reader’s Choice Awards.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder).

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Feature – Crushing on Love by Melissa Foster


CRUSHING ON LOVE – On sale September 21, 2016

About the book

Steve Johnson is living his life’s passion watching over the Colorado Mountains as a ranger and wildlife consultant. But his peaceful life is upended when overzealous and insanely beautiful Shannon Braden flits back into his life after returning from a brief trip home to Maryland. He thought his attraction to her was under control—after all, she’s only in Colorado temporarily, and he doesn’t do casual affairs.

Shannon’s return to Colorado has as much to do with the game of cat and mouse she and Steve have been playing as it does the data she’s been hired to collect. But despite her efforts to explore the undeniable heat simmering between them, Steve’s intent on keeping his distance.

When a ranch abutting the national park goes up for sale, Steve will do whatever it takes to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. And when all his attempts fail, he’s left with no alternative but to follow Shannon’s guidance into the online world he abhors in order to raise the funds. The more time they spend together, the deeper their attraction becomes, and a game of cat and mouse turns into an unstoppable connection. But when Shannon’s assignment comes to an end, will it mean an end to them, too?

Excerpt
Steve Johnson took off his sweaty shirt and guzzled a bottle of water. Nothing beat a predawn run, especially after a shitty night’s sleep. He set the empty bottle and shirt on the steps leading to his rustic log cabin and crossed the yard to the chopping post, determined to work the remaining tension from his body. A six-mile run on the rough terrain of the Colorado mountains should have worked out all his piss and vinegar, but not this morning.

Sun beat down on his shoulders as he centered a slab of wood on the tree stump that served as his chopping post, trying to ignore the reason he’d been unable to sleep last night. He filled his lungs with the scents of nature and tranquility. He knew every sound and smell of the area, could differentiate every species of animal and plant in the forest, and anticipated inclement weather well before it hit. His body was attuned to the mountains as if he were a part of them.

He hoisted the ax over his shoulder, thoughts he was trying to ignore pushing back in like adamant thieves. He swung the ax. A loud crack echoed in the forest—and in his head—rattling the truth of his angst free. Shannon Braden was back—and she’d come home last night wrapped around Cal Hayden on the back of his horse.

He ground his teeth against that reality and set another log in place.

Smart, sexy-as-sin, talks-a-mile-a-minute Shannon. He’d known her for years. His sister, Jade, was married to her second cousin, Rex. Shannon had spent weeks doing research on red foxes in the mountains. She’d been staying at her uncle’s ranch in Weston, but he knew the company she was working with had made arrangements for her to stay at the vacant cabin just around the bend for the remainder of the project. He swung the ax, thinking of the weeks she’d spent flitting in and out of his peaceful life, full of energy and never-ending conversations—mostly one-sided, which she didn’t seem to mind. Truth be known, neither did he. Listening to Shannon rattle on about anything was hot. She tangled up his thoughts in ways no other woman ever had, which was just his luck. Steve wasn’t into meaningless hookups, and Shannon’s life was in Maryland, while his was there on the mountain, which rooted Shannon Braden firmly in his off-limits zone.

The past couple of weeks had been quiet while she’d returned home to Maryland to attend her brother’s wedding, and the fact that Steve had noticed, and disliked it being quiet, had thrown him for a loop.

His mind reeled back to last night again. He’d heard Cal riding back down the mountain about two hours after he’d arrived. As he swung the ax, he wondered if Shannon had done some hands-on research with Cowboy Cal last night.

He set another log in place, telling himself it was none of his damn business if she had, and split the log so hard the two halves flew ten feet from the stump. Another log, another split. And so became his stress-relieving pattern as the sun sailed higher, taking the bite off the chilly spring morning.

A mass of birds took off from the treetops. Steve paused midswing, a smile tugging at his lips. Shannon. He split another log, trying to ignore his accelerating pulse at the thought of her flitting back into his life.

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About the author
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance, and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic, perfect beach reads, and always family oriented.

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Feature – Our Forever by Elena Matthews

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Our Forever

by Elena Matthews
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Second Chance, Romance

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When you fall in love with your best friend, it’s the kind of love that’s supposed to last forever.

Jo Donovan was a true believer of happily ever afters—until her best friend, Christopher, was killed in Afghanistan, destroying her belief that fairy-tale endings existed.

Destroying her. Destroying her world.

Five years later…

Jo finds herself still stuck in the past, unable to find closure with Christopher’s death.

When she moves to Austin, Texas, with her son, Junior, she’s finally given the fresh start she’s been desperately seeking.

What she doesn’t know is that the fresh start comes in the form of her sexy neighbor, Drew Greyson.

Their friendship starts off rocky, but eventually, a spark between them ignites. It isn’t long before that spark turns explosive, and she finds herself falling for him.

Drew wants to be her everything, her forever, but will Jo’s pain from losing Christopher stop her from following her heart?

Warning: Recommended for ages 18+ due to explicit language and sexual situations.

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About Elena Matthews

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Receptionist by day, author by night, Elena Matthews is from Manchester, United Kingdom, the home of Manchester United, MediaCity and of course, Coronation Street. When Elena isn’t writing, she can be found with her nose in a book or watching guilty pleasures such as Grey’s Anatomy. And when she isn’t doing any of those things, you can often find her on Facebook, obsessing over Kellan Kyle, book boyfriend extraordinaire.

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Feature – Merry Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown


MERRY COWBOY CHRISTMAS – On sale September 27, 2016

About the book

THIS CHRISTMAS, SANTA’S WEARING A STETSON

‘Tis the night before Christmas and all through the house is the presence of one wickedly hot cowboy who’s come to stay for the holiday. Fiona Logan is downright shocked to return to her childhood home and find that the tall blond stranger who came to her rescue on an icy road will be sleeping just across the hall from her bedroom. Talk about temptation . . .

Jud Dawson never believed the Lucky Penny Ranch would live up to its name until now. Fiona is gorgeous, smart, funny, and everything he thought he’d never find. Now all he has to do is convince her to stick around town instead of hightailing it back to Houston. But with wild weather, nosy neighbors, and a new baby in the family, getting her to admit that she’s falling in love might just take a Christmas miracle.

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About the author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author and RITA® Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy-five books. She presently writes both women’s fiction and cowboy romance. She has also written historical single title, historical series, contemporary single title and contemporary series. She lives in southern Oklahoma with her husband, a former English teacher, who is not allowed to read her books until they are published. They have three children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.


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Feature – Scottish Werebear: The Complete Collection by Lorelei Moone

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Scottish Werebear: The Complete Collection

by Lorelei Moone
Scottish Werebear Boxset, #1-6
Publication Date: September 25, 2016
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, BBW, Shifters, Novella, Romance

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Synopsis: In present-day Scotland, not everyone is who they appear to be. Shifters have been hiding in plain sight for generations. It all starts with a single bear who falls for the most unlikely partner: a human. Bears and humans simply can’t pair up, or can they? Fall in love today with the Scottish Werebears and get the complete saga in one handy collection. Includes: An Unexpected Affair, A Dangerous Business, A Forbidden Love, A New Beginning, A Painful Dilemma and A Second Chance. FREE BONUS STORY: Sugar & Spice: A Scottish Werebear XmasScottish Werebears: An Unexpected Affair
When romance novelist, Clarice Adler, hides herself away in a secluded holiday cottage to finish a book, the last thing she needs is another relationship. Imagine her surprise when she falls head over heels for the man who runs the place. Derek McMillan knows Clarice is his mate, but he’s a bear shifter and she’s human and the two simply don’t mix. They are literally worlds apart; can they find a way to come together?Scottish Werebears: A Dangerous Business
As part of the Alliance, bear shifter Aidan McMillan is hunting the Sons of Domnall, a secret society of humans sworn to destroy all shifters. Along comes Heidi Blackwood, his fated mate, and it suddenly becomes nearly impossible to focus on the job.Scottish Werebears: A Forbidden Love
Alison Campbell has been told that shifters are evil and the world would be a better place without them. In her efforts to infiltrate the Alliance to gather intel for The Sons of Domnall, she comes across Jamie Abbott, bear shifter and Alliance leader, who doesn’t seem so bad at all. In fact, he seems to be all her heart desires and the feeling is mutual. Where will her loyalties lie when it becomes time to pick a side once and for all?

A New Beginning
Ever since developing delusions about turning into a bear at the most inopportune moments, Matt Argyle has been keeping to himself. When curvaceous beauty Leah Hudson moves in next door, suddenly his carefully orchestrated life becomes unsustainable. He feels compelled to get to know her, and in the process must learn some important truths about himself.

A Painful Dilemma
Henry Weston is a good man, and a good Alliance agent. But when he is ordered to spy on his own people, he knows he must rebel. He finds the perfect partner in Gail McPherson when they connect in a way only true mates can. There’s only one problem: Henry already has a mate whom he refuses to abandon.

A Second Chance
Journalist Charlie McAllister watches the New Alliance reveal itself on live TV and can’t believe her eyes; one of the shifters looks so familiar… Could that really be her friend James, whom she grew up next door to? The same James she had the biggest crush on, but who disappeared on her after they shared their first and only kiss? The void he left behind in her heart still aches, still she vows to track him down for an exclusive interview.

This boxset contains all six novellas in the steamy Scottish Werebears shifter romance series; each book features a different alpha bear and his fated mate and includes plenty of sizzling action, irresistible attraction and a happy ending for the couple, while the overarching plot of the series continues. Shifter fans love this series! One-click now to find out what all the fuss is about.

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ABOUT LORELEI MOONE

Lorelei Moone

Lorelei Moone is an up-and-coming author of paranormal romance based in London. Her first book, Scottish Werebear: An Unexpected Affair has hit the virtual shelves on Amazon on 25 September 2015, and her second, Scottish Werebear: A Dangerous Business a month later on the 25th of October. A lover of all things sweet, and caffeinated, when she’s not writing about sexy bear shifters and their strong-willed curvaceous love interests, Lorelei can be found baking cookies or cakes for her family.

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Feature – The Bookshop On The Corner by Jenny Colgan


THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER – On sale September 20, 2016

About the book

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Excerpt
The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things. It would be lovely, wouldn’t it, whenever you’re going through something difficult, if someone could just tap you on the shoulder and say, “Don’t worry, it’s completely worth it. It seems like absolutely horrible crap now, but I promise it will all come good in the end,” and you could say, “Thank you, Fairy Godmother.” You might also say, “Will I also lose that seven pounds?” and they would say, “But of course, my child!”

That would be useful, but it isn’t how it is, which is why we sometimes plow on too long with things that aren’t making us happy, or give up too quickly on something that might yet work itself out, and it is often difficult to tell precisely which is which.

A life lived forward can be a really irritating thing. So Nina thought, at any rate. Nina Redmond, twenty-nine, was telling herself not to cry in public. If you have ever tried giving yourself a good talking-to, you’ll know it doesn’t work terribly well. She was at work, for goodness’ sake. You weren’t meant to cry at work.

She wondered if anyone else ever did. Then she wondered if maybe everyone did, even Cathy Neeson, with her stiff too-blond hair, and her thin mouth and her spreadsheets, who was right at this moment standing in a corner, watching the room with folded arms and a grim expression, after delivering to the small team Nina was a member of a speech filled with jargon about how there were cutbacks all over, and Birmingham couldn’t afford to maintain all its libraries, and how austerity was something they just had to get used to.

Nina reckoned probably not. Some people just didn’t have a tear in them.

(What Nina didn’t know was that Cathy Neeson cried on the way to work, on the way home from work—after eight o’clock most nights—every time she laid someone off, every time she was asked to shave another few percent off an already skeleton budget, every time she was ordered to produce some new quality relevant paperwork, and every time her boss dumped a load of administrative work on her at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon on his way to a skiing vacation, of which he took many.

Eventually she ditched the entire thing and went and worked in a National Trust gift shop for a fifth of the salary and half the hours and none of the tears. But this story is not about Cathy Neeson.)

It was just, Nina thought, trying to squash down the lump in her throat . . . it was just that they had been such a little library.

Children’s story time Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Early closing Wednesday afternoon. A shabby old-fashioned building with tatty linoleum floors. A little musty sometimes, it was true. The big dripping radiators could take a while to get going of a morning and then would become instantly too warm, with a bit of a fug, particularly off old Charlie Evans, who came in to keep warm and read the Morning Star cover to cover, very slowly. She wondered where the Charlie Evanses of the world would go now.

Cathy Neeson had explained that they were going to compress the library services into the center of town, where they would become a “hub,” with a “multimedia experience zone” and a coffee shop and an “intersensory experience,” whatever that was, even though town was at least two bus trips too far for most of their elderly or strollered-up clientele.

Their lovely, tatty, old pitched-roof premises were being sold off to become executive apartments that would be well beyond the reach of a librarian’s salary. And Nina Redmond, twenty-nine, bookworm, with her long tangle of auburn hair, her pale skin with freckles dotted here and there, and a shyness that made her blush—or want to burst into tears—at the most inopportune moments, was, she got the feeling, going to be thrown out into the cold winds of a world that was getting a lot of unemployed librarians on the market at the same time.

“So,” Cathy Neeson had concluded, “you can pretty much get started on packing up the ‘books’ right away.”

She said “books” like it was a word she found distasteful in her shiny new vision of Mediatech Services. All those grubby, awkward books.

Nina dragged herself into the back room with a heavy heart and a slight redness around her eyes. Fortunately, everyone else looked more or less the same way. Old Rita O’Leary, who should probably have retired about a decade ago but was so kind to their clientele that everyone overlooked the fact that she couldn’t see the numbers on the Dewey Decimal System anymore and filed more or less at random, had burst into floods, and Nina had been able to cover up her own sadness comforting her.

“You know who else did this?” hissed her colleague Griffin through his straggly beard as she made her way through. Griffin was casting a wary look at Cathy Neeson, still out in the main area as he spoke. “The Nazis. They packed up all the books and threw them onto bonfires.”

“They’re not throwing them onto bonfires!” said Nina. “They’re not actually Nazis.”

“That’s what everyone thinks. Then before you know it, you’ve got Nazis.”

With breathtaking speed, there’d been a sale, of sorts, with most of their clientele leafing through old familiar favorites in the ten pence box and leaving the shinier, newer stock behind.

Now, as the days went on, they were meant to be packing up the rest of the books to ship them to the central library, but Griffin’s normally sullen face was looking even darker than usual. He had a long, unpleasantly scrawny beard, and a scornful attitude toward people who didn’t read the books he liked. As the only books he liked were obscure 1950s out-of-print stories about frustrated young men who drank too much in Fitzrovia, that gave him a lot of time to hone his attitude. He was still talking about book burners.

“They won’t get burned! They’ll go to the big place in town.”

Nina couldn’t bring herself to even say Mediatech.

Griffin snorted. “Have you seen the plans? Coffee, computers, DVDs, plants, admin offices, and people doing cost–benefit analysis and harassing the unemployed—sorry, running ‘mindfulness workshops.’ There isn’t room for a book in the whole damn place.” He gestured at the dozens of boxes. “This will be landfill. They’ll use it to make roads.”

“They won’t!”

“They will! That’s what they do with dead books, didn’t you know? Turn them into underlay for roads. So great big cars can roll over the top of centuries of thought and ideas and scholarship, metaphorically stamping a love of learning into the dust with their stupid big tires and blustering Top Gear idiots killing the planet.”

“You’re not in the best of moods this morning, are you, Griffin?”

“Could you two hurry it along a bit over there?” said Cathy Neeson, bustling in, sounding anxious. They only had the budget for the collection trucks for one afternoon; if they didn’t manage to load everything up in time, she’d be in serious trouble.

“Yes, Commandant Über-Führer,” said Griffin under his breath as she bustled out again, her blond bob still rigid. “God, that woman is so evil it’s unbelievable.”

But Nina wasn’t listening. She was looking instead in despair at the thousands of volumes around her, so hopeful with their beautiful covers and optimistic blurbs. To condemn any of them to waste disposal seemed heartbreaking: these were books! To Nina it was like closing down an animal shelter. And there was no way they were going to get it all done today, no matter what Cathy Neeson thought.

Which was how, six hours later, when Nina’s Mini Metro pulled up in front of the front door of her tiny shared house, it was completely and utterly stuffed with volumes.

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About the author
Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, includingLittle Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

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Giveaway
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