Feature – Light of the Spirit by Lisa Kessler

Light of the Spirit

by Lisa Kessler
Muse Chronicles #4
Publication Date: September 18, 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Standalone

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SYNOPSIS:

The gods never sleep…

As the mortal vessel for the Muse of Comedy, Lia Youlos lights up every room with laughter and smiles. But there are darker forces at work, and they want to snuff out her light forever.

Cooper Hanover is a hardworking paramedic who healed Lia after a fire, but something happened that day, something medical science couldn’t explain. And if he doesn’t figure out how it works soon, the next healing could kill him.

Lia’s smile and sharp wit tempt him to love again, and he’s not going to let anyone, not even the gods, take her from him.

The Prophecy“Every generation the nine daughters of Zeus are reborn, and with their rebirth are also nine Guardians. They will be marked by the gods, and given gifts to protect his treasure. Their abilities will only be unlocked when they find their muse.”

EXCERPT:

She laughed and something warmed inside of him. Her dark eyes met his. “Have you ever had a secret that involved other people, and you couldn’t share it without exposing them? I have to be really careful.”

He rubbed his forehead. “And swimming is going to help?”

“It might.” She popped forward in her seat and covered his hand in both of hers. “Tell you what? Come swim with me, and I’ll give you a free haircut.”

He laughed again before he could stop himself. “You don’t have to bribe me for a chance to see you in a bathing suit.”

She flipped her hair back with a twinkle in her eyes. “Is that a yes?”

“Sure. When?”

“After pizza.”

“You have a pool?”

“Yeah. You have swim trunks?”

“Not on me.” He couldn’t help but laugh again. “But I’m wearing boxers, will that work?” She nodded, and he picked up his slice of pizza. “This is the weirdest date I’ve ever been on.”

She grinned. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

And it was. He’d had plenty of dates and a handful of relationships in the past, but he hadn’t laughed this much since… Hell, he couldn’t even remember.

***
Lia made Trinity swear to stay in the condo. If she was going to nonchalantly search Cooper for a crescent-shaped birthmark, she didn’t want witnesses. Lia stepped into the shallow end of the swimming pool, grateful it was heated. Not that Crystal City had much in the way of seasons. It was almost always sunny, but fall nights like tonight were chilly.

The back door opened, and Cooper walked toward the pool. Lord. She prayed her jaw wasn’t hanging open. His broad shoulders were muscled—heck, all of him was covered in muscles—and his skin was tan. On his bicep, he had a single tattoo of the caduceus, which symbolized medicine and healers.

She forced her eyes up to his face. “Come on in. The water’s fine.”

Instead of walking into the shallow end from the steps, he took two running strides and dove into the deep end. He was like a sexy bullet shooting through the water, breaking the surface right in front of her. Without thinking, she placed her hand on his chest.

He covered her hand with his and bent closer. “Is anyone going to come out needing you to set an alarm?”

“I’ll break their arm,” she said, her pulse racing.

He smiled as he closed the distance between their lips. His kiss was warm, soft, and knee weakening. She ran her hands up his chest, lacing her fingers around the back of his neck as his hands caressed the small of her back. The second her bare belly pressed against him, heat smoldered low inside of her.

Gradually, his tongue teased her lips, coaxing her to open for him. She moaned as she explored his mouth. He bent his knees, his hands sliding lower to grip the back of her thighs. He straightened, lifting her as she wrapped her legs around his waist. A rumble vibrated through his chest, and he tipped his head to the side, deepening the kiss until every inch of her ached for his attention.

She brushed her lips against his, her teeth catching his lower lip for a second before she made herself pull back. Blinking her eyes open, she gasped for air. “Okay. That was totally worth the wait.”

He brought one hand out of the water to cup her cheek and caressed her skin with his thumb. “Definitely.”

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ABOUT LISA KESSLER

Lisa Kessler is a Best Selling author of dark paranormal fiction. She’s a two-time San Diego Book Award winner for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror and Best Published Romance. Her books have also won the PRISM award, the Award of Excellence, the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award, the Award of Merit from the Holt Medallion, and an International Digital Award for Best Paranormal.

Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.

When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, and has performed with San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.

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Feature – In Pieces by Danielle Pearl


IN PIECES – On sale October 10, 2017

About the book

Beth Caplan is ready to begin college a new woman. She’s worked hard to overcome her demons, and she’s eager to live in a world where no one knows about her past. Except, of course, her childhood crush. David March has known Beth a lifetime. Tasked by her older brother to look after the beautiful incoming freshman, he takes his job exceptionally seriously. Even if she tempts him in ways no kid-sister type ever should.

When Beth’s ex shows up as a transfer student, and a creepy stranger with a reputation for violence sets his sights on her, Dave will do whatever it takes to protect her, even if it means moving her in with him. When he learns just how much a secret from his past hurt the girl he’s always cared for, he becomes doubly determined to protect her, even from himself. But that’s easier said than done.

Excerpt
Beth startles when she notices me, and she stops walking, so I make up the distance still between us. She looks adorable as all hell in those tight jeans and loose racerback tank top. Her bra shows at her sides and I’m equally turned on and annoyed by it. She never did have any kind of self-awareness. At least not when it comes to how goddamned attractive she is. And it bugs me that every guy that’s passed her today has caught a glimpse of that black lace.

I shove my hand through my hair. “Beth,” I sigh.

I wait for her to go off on me again, but she doesn’t. She just kind of looks up at me, her resentment a palpable thing. I can’t stand to see her look at me like that. But what makes my lungs burn is knowing that I deserve her resentment. She has no idea how much. Fuck, I hope to God she never will. Especially not now that she’s come so far—that she’s doing so well. Well enough to tell me off in public, at my own party, anyway.

But not tonight, it seems, and when she still doesn’t say anything at all, I make my attempt. “Look, I’m sorry, okay? I thought I was protecting you.”

“I don’t need protection,” she counters.

I nod. “I know. I just thought…Falco being around would give you an excuse to hide away in your dorm, and I wanted you to experience…”

“Experience what, David?”

I shrug. “I don’t know. Fucking life, I guess.”

Beth looks down at her shoes. I hate that she won’t even look at me. “Okay, whatever,” she murmurs.

“Whatever?” I repeat incredulously. Here I am, apologizing—something I’m not exactly fucking known for—and all she has to say is whatever?

“Yeah. Whatever. I get it. It just sucks, you know?”

I take a much-needed deep breath. “I know, Bea.”

At last her eyes meet mine, hostility finally gone. I take the opportunity to retrieve my new peace offering from my back pocket. Well, not new. My worn and weathered copy of Hamlet, riddled with years’ worth of my own highlights and notes, its pages filled with more of my own words than those of the author himself. I hope it will help in her Shakespeare class. If nothing else, it will give her an invasive insight into who I am and how I think, just like all the other books I’ve given her over the years, and I wonder if she realizes just how personal it is.

She takes it, her thin brows pinched together in confused awe. “This is your copy,” she breathes.

Suddenly I feel too vulnerable, uncomfortably exposed. “Thought it could help in your class,” I half-lie. Because it’s more than that, and I suspect she knows it.

Her pretty pink lips twist into a small smile, her cheeks going even rounder than usual, and it hits me right in the chest. Not for the first time I tell myself the affection I feel for her is strictly familial. More lies.

“Thanks.”

I smile. “You eat dinner yet?”

She shrugs. “I was gonna heat a cup of noodles and study.”

Cup of fucking noodles? “Fuck that. Come to the Stu-U. Let’s get some real food.”

Beth rolls her eyes. “Fine. But just some quick food, okay? I really need to study.”

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Bea,” I smirk at her, and she sets free a short giggle. There it is.

I take her girly-ass backpack and slip it over my shoulder, giving her no choice but to follow me. But as soon as I turn around, my eyes catch on that same guy, just as he’s averting his gaze. Only this time he wasn’t looking at me. He was looking at Beth; I’m sure of it. Rage rushes through my veins, and I grit my teeth. I don’t know who the fuck this guy is, but there’s something off about him, and there’s absolutely nothing good about Beth drawing his attention.

My jaw clenches. I slip my arm protectively around her shoulders, despite just having been scolded for being overprotective. “Beth, in two seconds, I want you to subtly glance to your left, between buildings B and C, okay?”

Her brows pinch together again. She looks so damned cute when she does that. She doesn’t wait the two seconds, and her “subtle glance” is more of a full-on stare. “Glance,” I whisper-growl. I wait until she’s facing forward again, and then start leading her from the quad. “Did you see that guy?” I ask her.

She nods hesitantly.

“Do you know him?”

“Yeah. I mean, no. He’s in my Abnormal Psych class. And I saw him last night.”

“Saw him doing what?”

“The same thing. Standing around smoking cigarettes like a fucking creep.”

“I think he was looking at you,” I admit.

“And that.”

So this isn’t the first time that guy’s been staring at Beth. Unease swirls in my gut. “Stay away from him,” I warn her.

“Do you know him?” she asks uncertainly.

“No. But I don’t like the way he was looking at you.”

Of course, I’ve never liked the way any guys have looked at her.

————————————

About the author
Danielle Pearl is the bestselling author of the Something More series. She lives in New Jersey with her three delicious children and ever-supportive husband, who—luckily—doesn’t mind sharing her with an array of fictional men. She did a brief stint at Boston University and worked in marketing before publishing her debut novel, Normal. She writes mature Young Adult and New Adult contemporary romance. Danielle enjoys coffee, wine, and cupcakes, and not in moderation.

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Feature – Pupcakes by Annie England Noblin


PUPCAKES – On sale October 10, 2017

About the book

Sit! Stay! Speak! author Annie England Noblin’s novel takes one woman starting over, adds an aging pug named Teddy Roosevelt, and proves the power of a well-baked dog treat.

All she wants is a settled-down life.
What she gets is a dog—and a whole new normal . . .

There he stood in the doorway: overweight, depressed and nearly homeless—a pug named Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was Brydie Benson’s latest problem, arriving on top of her messy divorce and sudden move. Brydie needed a place to start over, so this rent-free home seemed a great idea. She just never counted on Teddy, or his owner, the Germantown Retirement Village’s toughest customer, Pauline Neumann.

And because rent-free doesn’t mean bills-free, Brydie gets a night-shift job at a big-box grocery. Whoever guessed there were so many people who wanted baked goods after midnight?

Then, she gets an idea—why not combine her baking skills with her new-found dog knowledge? And so her store Pupcakes is born. Along with a new start comes a possible new love, in the form of Nathan Reid, a local doctor with a sassy Irish Wolfhound named Sasha. And as fall turns to winter, and then to Christmas, Brydie begins to realize that life is a little bit like learning a new recipe for puff pastry—it takes a few tries to get it just right!

Excerpt
After dinner, Nathan refilled their wineglasses and led her into the living room. Sasha and Teddy had settled there as well, and when Nathan built a fire in the fireplace, Teddy dropped right in front of it and started to snore. Sasha wasn’t far behind him.

“The living room at Mrs. Neumann’s house has a fireplace, too,” Brydie said. “I thought about lighting it the other night, but it hasn’t been lit in ages.”

“I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate it if you burned her house down trying to light the fireplace,” Nathan replied.

“No, I can’t imagine that would make her too happy.”

“Listen,” Nathan said, scooting closer to her on the couch. “I’m sorry if I asked too many intrusive questions earlier. I’m hopeless at small talk, and when I get nervous, I tend to fall back into doctor mode. I swear I didn’t mean to interrogate you over chicken.”

“That’s okay,” Brydie replied. “It was actually kind of nice to talk about it with someone who doesn’t know anything about my life before I moved here.”

“How do you like Memphis so far?”

“It’s getting better,” Brydie said with a sly grin. Between the wine and the fire, she felt deliciously warm.

“I’m glad to hear it.”

Brydie watched him watching her. She liked the way his curly black hair fell in his eyes when he was concentrating. She liked the way his T-shirt fit, not too loose or too tight. She liked the way he asked her questions—soft, curious, but not intrusive. It made her want to tell him everything, anything, just to keep him looking at her. Paying attention to her.

But more than that, she realized, there was something familiar about him, comfortable. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was, but despite the constant butterflies in her stomach, he made her feel calmer somehow. She could understand why people would be drawn to him as a doctor. She could even understand why a woman might visit her elderly aunt in order to be near him.

Nathan moved a hand up to Brydie’s face, tucking a wandering strand of damp hair behind her ear. It sent a bolt of electricity through her, and when he moved his hand away, Brydie felt herself grabbing a fistful of his T-shirt and pulling him closer to her until her mouth was on his, and she could taste the wine on his lips.

Brydie fell back into the couch and pulled Nathan down on top of her. She could feel his hands exploring her body underneath her T-shirt, and she burned with a need she hadn’t known existed until that very moment.

“Do you want—” Nathan began in between frenzied kisses, but before he could finish, the ringing of his phone in his pocket cut him off.

“Ignore it,” Brydie murmured.

“I can’t,” Nathan said, pulling himself away from her with a groan. “I’m on call at the nursing home tonight.”

————————————

About the author
Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Her poetry has been featured in such publications as the RED BOOTH REVIEW and the MOON CITY REVIEW. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

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Feature – Game On by Victoria Denault


GAME ON – On sale October 10, 2017

About the book

“I don’t break hearts. I break headboards…”

When it comes to scoring in the pro hockey league, Alex Larue is crushing it—with the hot puck bunnies. He’s the life of the party, the guy with all the jokes… and the one whose Party Guy mast keeps the real him well hidden. The last thing he needs is anyone finding out about his troubled past, or the nightmares that haunt him still.

Brie Bennett is less than impressed by Alex from the moment she meets him. And even though he insists on volunteering at the charity she runs, she doesn’t trust him. He’s hiding something…but so is she. She’s not just the rich privileged New York princess he thinks she is. The animosity between them is undeniably addictive and as their worlds keep colliding it becomes supercharges with something else—attraction. But if they stop playing games and let each other in, they both might lose.

Excerpt
I look around at Alex’s sparse apartment. There’s a sectional, an ottoman, but no chairs, bookcases or pictures. The nook for his bedroom only contains one three-drawer dresser. His bedside lamp is on the floor beside the bed because it doesn’t have night tables. “You don’t seem to like things.”

He shrugs, and those deep blue eyes find mine. “I don’t have a lot of things from my past worth holding on to.”

Oh, this man… I reach up and gently cup the side of his face. He grasps my hand and I think he’s going to pull it away, but he doesn’t. He holds it to his face and pushes into it. He’s like a puppy looking for love, and I want desperately to give it to him. But he won’t let me.

“And you seem to want to throw away things now that are worth holding on to.” I force myself to step back and start walking toward the front door because if I don’t leave now I’ll let things happen that are going to mean more to me than they should. Than he wants them to. But his words stop me in my tracks.

“I don’t know how to be a boyfriend, Brie.” The look of pure confusion on his face would be comical if we were still talking about his inability to run a dishwasher. But we’re talking about feelings here. “The only thing I’ve ever committed to was hockey and even it tried to reject me. Hell, in a way every time I get traded, I feel like it still is. But it’s a thing, not a person. Hockey doesn’t have a choice, but you do.”

I start to walk back into the kitchen as he turns away from me to look out the window. “People who have had the choice to keep me in their lives never have.”

Thank God he’s turned away because I actually press my palm to my heart to keep it from cracking. Holy shit. I have no idea how anyone would walk away from him – the man and his big, broken heart –because what I want to do is run to him. “Give me that choice and I’ll change your track record.”

He grunts and turns back to face me. “You’re this amazing, stubborn, gorgeous woman who wants more than the one thing I know I can give. And as much as I suddenly, for the first time in my life, want to try and give more, I’m so fucking clueless as to how.”

I walk right up to him so we’re toe to toe. “You want to know how? You just do it. You let me in. You take the chance, like you do every time you step onto the ice. You don’t know if you’ll win or lose, but you play the game anyway and you take the shots on net even if you don’t know if you’re going to score. So tell me you want this. Take the shot.”

He nuzzles my hand and but then turns his face and kisses my palm. When he turns back to me he looks so serious it’s startling. “I want this.”

I smile. It’s not big, but I feel it inside me from my toes to the roots of my hair. “Game on?”

He smiles back, raw but darkly playful. “Game on.”

————————————

About the author
Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filed romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French, and hockey.

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Feature – Can’t Walk Away by Sandy James


CAN’T WALK AWAY – On sale October 10, 2017

About the book

In Nashville the stars shine a little brighter, songs sound a little sweeter, and love lasts a lifetime.

Young, rich, and better looking than a man has a right to be, successful songwriter Brad “Hitman” Maxwell was once Nashville’s biggest celebrity. Then a heartbreaking loss and a shocking betrayal caused his light to go out. Now, instead of pouring his soul into song, he pours beers at Words & Music. His bar is the perfect escape—a place to forget his past—until the night she takes the stage…

Savannah Wolf used to dream of becoming Nashville’s hottest star. Now, as a young single mom, she dreams of a steady income and being home to tuck her daughter into bed. So when Brad Maxwell offers her the gig of a lifetime—playing as the headliner at Words & Music—Savannah discovers the best of both worlds. And she refuses to ruin this opportunity by falling for her sexy boss. Except that Brad suddenly starts writing music again…music inspired by her.

Excerpt
By the fifth take, Brad was losing his patience.

Had he been wrong in thinking Savannah was something special, something new? He sure as hell didn’t think so.

Then why couldn’t he get her to sing with the passion she’d shown back at Words & Music?

Maybe it was the song. “That Smile” was his first attempt at writing in a long time. Perhaps it wasn’t up to snuff?

No. When Brad had heard Savannah sing it earlier, he’d known he’d written a strong song with a good melody and a catchy beat.

Something was clearly blocking her talent.

“I’m sorry, Brad.” She dropped the headphones from her ears to let them rest around her neck. Then, head bowed, she started shuffling through the sheet music.

He’d never seen her look defeated before, and he didn’t like it. This wasn’t the Savannah who’d been his muse. This wasn’t the woman who brought back his music.

This was…a disaster.

But why?

He watched her closely, trying to find some telltale clue as to what was going on today that had robbed Savannah of the passion and talent he’d counted on. Her hair was braided, the braid an eclectic mixture of blond and blue. A blush tinted her cheeks, and he could hear her nervousness through the quaver in her voice, especially in the last notes of her fifth recording.

Something was definitely wrong, and he was going to have to find a way to fix it. But he couldn’t do that from another room. Even though he could see her, something told him she needed something more personal. Unsure of whether being closer to her would make a difference, he figured it was worth a shot.

Brad started a new recording so he could capture the song if he was able to help her, pushed himself away from the console, and headed to the recording booth with his remote control in his pocket. He pulled the door open and stepped inside.

Savannah glanced up from the music, offering him a wan smile that made his frustration evaporate. She knew something was wrong, too. Maybe if they put their heads together, they could get back the magic.

After pulling a stool beside hers, he sat. Then he gently took off her headphones, plucked the pages from her hands, and placed them back on the music stand. She let her eyes meet his, and he could see her concern.

“We’re going do things a little differently this time,” Brad said, keeping his voice low.

“We are?”

He nodded and scooted closer. Then he wrapped his hand around one of hers. “You’re not going to think about recording.”

“I’m not?”

“Nope. This time you’re just going to sing to me. That’s all.”

Her whole body relaxed, and Brad had to fight the desire to smile.

“Sing to me, Savannah. Just to me. Okay?”

She nodded, and before she could get a chance to think about what he was doing, he pulled a remote from his pocket and began the music playback so that it echoed through the room.

The notes of the intro flowed around them, and he kept her grounded by not allowing her to glance away. When she opened her mouth to sing, he gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and offered her an encouraging smile.

And sing she did. Each delightful note came from deep inside her, and he found himself caught in some kind of spell, the same type she’d woven around him back at Words & Music. He hung on each rise and fall of that delicious voice until the last note echoed through the booth.

The song might have ended, but not the magic. Brad found himself leaning closer, his eyes fixed on her soft, pink mouth. Desire ripped through him as she mimicked his action, drawing ever so slowly closer until he could feel the sweet heat of her breath against his face.

With a groan of surrender, he captured her mouth with his own, giving her no warning as his tongue swept deep inside.

Savannah nearly knocked over her stool when she rose to thread her arms around his neck. She was such a little bit of a thing that he could stay seated and draw her between his outstretched legs without interrupting the kiss. As she moved closer, Brad wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her hard against him.

The kiss turned ravenous, and he realized that he was done fighting this attraction.

————————————

About the author
Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis and is a high school psychology teacher. She owns a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoys spending time at Hoosier Park racetrack. She has been an Amazon #1 Bestseller multiple times and has won numerous awards including two HOLT Medallions.

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Feature – The Duke of Danger by Darcy Burke

Meet the Author:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

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About the Book:

 

After killing his opponent in a duel, Lionel Maitland, Marquess of Axbridge, is known as the Duke of Danger. Tortured by guilt, he shields himself with a devil-may-care attitude. However, when he kills another man in another duel, he’s beyond redemption, even though it wasn’t his fault. He refuses to smear a dead man’s name, especially when he’s left behind a blameless widow who doesn’t deserve an even bigger scandal.
Widowed and destitute, Lady Emmaline Townsend must marry the man of her parents’ choosing or beg unsympathetic relatives for support. The only way out is to ask for help from the one man she’s sworn to hate, the man who owes her anything she asks, the man who killed her husband. They strike a devil’s bargain in which passion simmers just beneath the surface. But her dead husband’s transgressions come back to haunt them and threaten their chance at love.

Excerpt:

“Good afternoon, Lady Townsend. May I offer my deepest condolences?”

She turned on the chair, barely curious as to who might be visiting and eager to send him on his way. But as soon as she pivoted, it was as if a dam inside her split in two and a cascade of emotion tumbled forth.

Bolting from the chair, she took two long steps toward him. “You.”

“Yes, me.” The Marquess of Axbridge didn’t flinch. Indeed, he stared into her, his blue eyes clear and piercing.

“You’ve a singular audacity to come here.”

The marquess bowed deeply. “I beg your pardon.” He looked at her once more. “And your forgiveness.”

Rage spiraled through her, and it was glorious to feel. “You’ll never have either.”

“That is completely understandable.” His tone was tight, measured. His cool reserve antagonized her.

She narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m so glad I have your approval.”

“I wouldn’t ever ask for, nor expect that.”

“And yet you ask for my forgiveness. It hardly seems to matter—I’ll give you nothing save my undying hatred.”

“Which I deserve. Nevertheless, I would apologize for what happened.”

“Apologize? You didn’t step on my foot during a dance. Nor did you spill a glass of ratafia on my gown. You killed my husband.”

Now he flinched. His eye twitched, and his lips pressed together so hard, they turned white. And yet he was still incredibly handsome. That hardly seemed fair.

He took a step toward her. She didn’t retreat, but her body tensed. She clenched her hands into tight fists. Her spine was so straight and stiff that she could have flown a flag from her shoulder.

“I didn’t come to make excuses, but please know I had good reason to demand satisfaction. I’d hoped he would settle the matter before moving to weapons, but he refused.”

She gaped at him. “Are you somehow trying to blame my husband for your actions?”

His jaw tightened, and he blew out a breath. “No. I came to offer my condolences, beg your forgiveness, apologize, and offer any assistance you may need—ever.”

He wanted to help her? She stared at him, the anger inside her curdling. “I would never want anything from you, nor would I ask.”

“I certainly understand you not wanting anything from me; however, if a need should ever arise, I would very much like to help you.”

“I think you’ve done quite enough.” Fury churned through every part of her, and she wanted to lash out. Needed to. “Actually, I can think of one thing I would like from you.” She took a step toward him, her lip curling. “I should appreciate it if you would be miserable for the rest of your life. I would take great joy in knowing that you will wallow in guilt and anguish for all your days.” She glared at him, long and hard.

“I can do that,” he said softly, without a shred of irony. “You may be pleased to know that I am already well on my way. And I shan’t trouble you with my presence. I’m leaving England today.”

“Good.”

“My offer will always stand, whether you choose to take advantage of it or not. Should you require anything at all, please contact my man of affairs.” He held out a card.

She didn’t want to take anything from him. “Choke on it,” she spat.

He withdrew his hand to his side. “Again, my deepest apologies, Lady Townsend.” He turned and strode from the room, his broad shoulders straight, his gait sure.

Damn him.

Damn him.

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Feature – Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis


CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE – On sale September 26, 2017

About the book

Meet cute…
Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry…
Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot—chemistry he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself… just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener…just because she “gets” Spence immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

…and hope for a miracle.
Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

Excerpt
At the unexpected sight of Spence, Colbie startled hard. How was it that he was the one who needed glasses and yet she’d not seen him standing against the window? “No, I don’t kill a lot of people,” she said cautiously because she was wearing only a towelin front of a strange man. “But I’m happy to make an exception.”

He laughed, a rough rumble that was more than a little contagious but she controlled herself because, hello, she was once again dripping wet before the man who seemed to make her knees forget to hold her up.

“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said and pushed off the wall to come close.

She froze, but he held up his hands like, I come in peace, and crouched at her feet to scoop up the clothes she hadn’t realized she’d dropped.

Leggings, a long forgiving tee, and the peach silk bra-and-panty set that hadn’t gotten so much as a blink from the TSA guy.

But it got one out of Spence. He also swallowed hard as she snatched them back from him.

“Hold on,” he said and caught her arm, pulling it toward him to look at her bleeding elbow.

“Sit,” he said and gently pushed her down to a weight bench. He vanished into the bathroom and came back out with a first aid kit.

It took him less than two minutes to clean and bandage the scrape. Then, easily balanced at her side on the balls of his feet, he did the same for both her knees, which she hadn’t noticed were also scraped up.

“You must’ve hit the brick coping as you fell in the fountain,” he said and let his thumb slide over the skin just above one bandaged knee.

She shivered, and not from the cold either. “Not going to kiss it better?” she heard herself ask before biting her tongue for running away with her good sense.

She’d raised her younger twin brothers. Scrappy, roughhouse wild animals, the both of them, so there’d been plenty of injuries she’d kissed over the years.

But no one had ever kissed hers. Not surprising, since most of her injuries tended to be on the inside, where they didn’t show. Still, she was horrified she’d said anything at all. “I didn’t mean—”

She broke off, frozen like a deer in the headlights as Spence slowly lowered his head, brushing his lips over the Band-Aid on her elbow, then her knees. When he lifted his head, he pushed his glasses higher on his nose, those whiskey eyes warm and amused behind his lenses. “Better?”

Shockingly better. Since she didn’t quite trust her voice at the moment, she gave a jerky nod and took her clothes back into the bathroom. She shut the door and then leaned against it, letting out a slow, deliberate breath. Holy cow, she was out of her league. He was somehow both cute and hot, and those glasses . . .

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About the author
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, http://www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.




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