Man of Honor * Author Sarah O’Rourke * New Release Tour & Review

Title: Man of Honor
Series: Passion in Paradise
Author: Sarah O’Rourke
Genre: Erotic Romantic Comedy
Published: July 25, 2016
Sheriff Zeke Monroe loves one woman…Honor McKinnon. He is willing to stake his entire future on protecting her…no matter what the cost. 

Honor McKinnon knows she is broken. Her body and soul had been shattered by a violent attack years ago, and no one…not her sisters or anyone else in the tiny town of Paradise, especially the Sheriff…can change that. Rather than dealing with her wounds, she chooses to protect herself from any further damage, even if that means that she avoids the one chance at love. But Zeke is determined to break down Honor’s walls…and to find the persons responsible for hurting her and make them suffer. 

He’s already killed for her once…and is willing to do it again if it means she’ll know safety and happiness. 
What happens when Zeke refuses to allow Honor to ignore her past? Will Zeke’s love be passionate enough to break down her barriers? And can Zeke save Honor when her life is in danger once again? 

Join Sarah O’Rourke in this epic culmination of the Men of the McKinnon Sisters stories…and find out how the Passion in Paradise series is always scorching hot! Standalone, romantica suspense.

 

“WOW!!! This made me an emotional wreck.” ~MsMe28


“This is a beautiful story of love, loss and moving forward.  I would recommend this book and all books in this series!” ~Sassy Southern Book Blog


“OMG WOW!! I have been hooked on this duo as writers for a while but with this book they absolutely outdid themselves.” ~Book Happiness

Man of Honor – Excerpt
“Not necessarily, but I wouldn’t mind,” Zeke replied truthfully.  “Honor, darlin, you’re a gorgeous woman.”
“Not without my clothes,” she mumbled, bending her head to stare at her clenched fists.  “Ugly,” she muttered.  “I’m ugly.”
Tensing, Zeke’s jaw clenched.  “I don’t know why the hell you’re saying that, but there’s not a single ugly thing about you.  Not when you’re naked.  Not when you’re tryin’ to bring yourself to release.  Not ever, Honor Grace.  You do not ever have to be ashamed of your body.”
Honor slowly lifted her mortified gaze to him.  “You’ve never seen me without my clothes, Zeke.  There are scars.  So many scars.  They’re raised and bumpy.  Some are red and raw.  It’s disgusting, Ezekiel.”
“Bullshit.  Every single one of those marks remind me of one thing, Honor.  One,” he growled, holding up a finger between them.  “You lived.  You survived.  When all the odds were stacked against you, you defied modern medicine and every one of those damned doctors predictions, and you lived.  And all those scars will ever do is remind me of how lucky I am to still have you.  Don’t you ever tell me you’re ugly because you’re the most beautiful thing in my world.  You wanna be scared to share your body with me because of what happened to you?  I get that.  I can accept that.  But worrying about some marks on your flesh?  I love you, baby, but that’s insane.”
Honor stared at him a long time, gauging his sincerity.  “It doesn’t feel silly,” she finally grumbled.
“You need to reassess your feelings then because I assure you, it’s one of the silliest concerns you ever had.  Christ, baby, how long have you been agonizing of a worry as pointless as your scars?” he asked, shoving a frustrated hand through his dark hair.  “I could have put these fears to rest ages ago, Honor, if I’d known about it.”
“It’s hard to talk about,” she revealed in a low voice as her head twisted to look at him.
“Yeah?  Is feeling like shit alone better than talking it over together with me?” he returned calmly, reaching up to tenderly tuck her hair behind one ear.  “Baby, you gotta start getting this.  When you hurt, I hurt.  When you suffer, I suffer right along with you.  Don’t make either one of us feel that way needlessly, Kitten.  Just talk to me.  I know you have scars.  You’ve got them on your body, and you’ve got them on your soul.  I’ve sat by your hospital bed too many times to count and watched you while you did your damnedest to heal them both.  Those wounds are not new information to me and they don’t change shit.  I still love you, and I don’t allow those scars to do anything other than remind me to treasure every day I have with you.  Okay?”
Honor’s eyes were soft as they locked with Zeke’s.  “You really do love me a lot, don’t you?” she asked in a small voice.

“So much that I ache with it, Honor.”


Sarah O’Rourke is the alter ego of two best friends who have taken their passion for romantic fiction and erotica to the publishing world. Born and raised in the southern United States, one lives near Louisville, KY, while the other resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Neither is ever very far from a tall glass of sweet iced tea, their dog-eared copies of Gone With the Wind, or their Steel Magnolias DVDs!


Formerly an accountant and a chemist, they are now overworked, stay-at-home moms who adore their children, their husbands…and writing about love in every way possible!

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Review Coming Soon
This book connects the heart and the tear ducts. I’ve finished Part one of this amazing Read. On to part two. Love this Series and this Author Team!

Trouble Walks In * Release Day * Sara Humphreys

 

Trouble Walks In (The McGuire Brothers, #2)
Trouble Walks In by Sara Humphreys
McGuire Brothers Series; Book 2
Published August 2, 2016
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Blurb:
Big city K-9 cop Ronan McGuire loves women, loves his dog, loves his job – but when old flame Maddy Morgan moves into his jurisdiction, he can’t think about anyone else.
Ronan knows she’s way out of his league, but he’s determined to help Maddy live life to the fullest.

 

Maddy has immersed herself in work and swiftly made a name for herself in the hot New York City real estate market. She’s looking for safety, not love, but Ronan McGuire is as persistent as he is sexy, and his crooked smile is hard to resist. But all other concerns are wiped away when Maddy goes missing and Ronan and his bloodhound K-9 partner are tasked with finding her and bringing her home.
Goodreads
Purchase Links:
Amazon US : AU : CA : UK  
Barnes & Noble : Books-A-Million : iTunes  
Excerpt:

 

Ronan McGuire loved women and until recently, he’d enjoyed a variety of them. All of that had changed when Maddy Morgan came roaring back into his life. The moment he’d laid eyes on her at his parent’s anniversary party last summer, it had been like a kick in the gut. She was as gorgeous as she’d been back in high school, and just as unattainable. As far as she’d been concerned, he had merely been the pesky brother of her best friend’s boyfriend.
Ronan would see her around town when he went home to visit over the years, but nothing had changed and she was still out of his reach. Maddy and Rick had been practically joined at the hip for years. Ronan was many things but home wrecker wasn’t one of them. Rick had been a good guy and he seemed to make Maddy happy, so that had been good enough for Ronan. He had never considered himself the jealous type but every time he saw the two of them together, the green-eyed monster would rear its ugly head.
When had he first fallen for her? If he had to nail it down, it was when she punched out Billy Hollibrand in the school parking lot. The woman was feisty—a take-no-shit kind of girl—and if you asked Ronan’s mother, that was exactly the type of woman he needed. Hollibrand had been the town bully and when Maddy moved there in ninth grade, Billy made the mistake of trying to push her around. The jerkoff made fun of her curly hair and grabbed her ass. Two seconds later the boy was on the ground nursing a bloody nose.
A smile curved Ronan’s lips at the memory.
“Yo, McGuire.” His Captain’s voice pulled him from his daydreaming. “You awake over there?”
Bowser was lying in his bed next to Ronan’s desk but lifted his head and turned his brown eyes toward Ronan when the Captain approached. If Ronan didn’t know better, he’d swear the dog was laughing at him.
“Wide awake, Cap.” Ronan adjusted his chair as Bowser settled his snout on his front paws again. “Can’t say the same for my partner.”
Bowser whined and made a snuffling sound before closing his eyes. Ronan couldn’t really blame the dog—he was pretty beat himself. They had gotten back-to-back calls from two of the precincts upstate. Not all of the counties in the state had K9’s, so he and Bowser helped out when necessary, lending a hand, or a paw, as needed.
Both cases had been high-stress with even higher stakes.
Luckily the little girl who had wandered away from her family’s campsite was found safely and so was the teenager who got separated from her friends on a hike.She must have been the only girl in the tri-state area who didn’t have a damn cell phone attached to her. Needless to say it had been long days and longer nights but luckily both searches ended with happy parents.
Captain Jenkins strolled over, hoisting his uniform pants over his belly. The guy might have been out of shape and only a couple years from retirement, but he was one of the best cops Ronan had worked with. Jenkins and his partner, Saratoga, a sweet bloodhound with wide caramel colored eyes, were in-house most of the time these days. Saratoga was retired, but like all K9s she would live out the rest of her days with her partner and his family—in Jenkins’ case, that was only him.
“Why are you and Bowser here?” Jenkins settled his hands on his hips and pointed at Bowser just as Saratoga sidled over and lay down next to her friend. “You two have been goin’ non-stop for the past three days. You should have taken today off, and you know it.”
“No can do, Cap.” Ronan hit a few buttons on the keyboard and printed out his report from the last search. “My brother is getting married in a few weeks and I’ll be out for a while. I’ll be using up the rest of my time for the year and I can’t risk not being able to go because I didn’t do my paperwork. I’m the best man, after all.”
“That you are, McGuire,” Jenkins said through a snort of laughter. “But all work and no play and you’re gonna end up like me and Sara, here. All we got is each other and this damn job. No wife, no kids. Just me and her.” He smiled at the aging bloodhound who currently had her head nestled on top of Bowser’s. “Ain’t that right, sweetie?”
The old girl whined in response but didn’t move.
“Seriously, McGuire,” Jenkins said, sitting in the chair in front of Ronan’s desk. “You coulda taken today, y’know. You sure as hell have enough time leftover.”
“Really, Cap.” Ronan shook his head and held up one hand. “I’m fine.”
“Right. You always are.” Jenkins’ mouth set in a thin line. “How’s your friend? Didn’t you say that your girlfriend, that realtor lady, knew the Bowman woman they found by the river?”
“She’s not my girlfriend. Maddy’s just an old friend from back home.” Ronan went to the printer and grabbed the reports. “But, yes, she knew Lucille Bowman, at least casually. Maddy’s a broker and they ran in some of the same professional circles.”
“Well, tell your friend to watch her ass.”
Ronan stilled, and carefully placed the reports on his desk. A knot of dread curled in his gut and the serious expression the Captain’s face didn’t do anything to ease it.
“They think the murder was somehow connected to Lucille’s job?” Ronan let out a slow breath. “Shit.”
“Don’t know yet.” Jenkins folded his hands on top of his round belly. “All they know right now is she was supposed to show an apartment on the West Side. — an open house or something, and she never made it. Hell, those real estate people have now, all their contact info online. It’s easy to find someone and track ‘em down if you want to.”
“What are they thinking?.” Ronan’s gut clenched.
“Husband ain’t good for it,” Jenkins said. “His alibi is air tight. No affairs, financials are in order. Whoever did this knew her, though—or at least knew where she was going. Hell, she obviously didn’t get dragged through the streets of the city kicking and screaming, so odds are that she knew the perp in some way. They’re still waiting on toxicology. You know that shit takes forever.”
“Damn it.” Ronan ran one hand over his face and sat in his chair. “Maddy is always doing those Open House things. Not to mention the running around she does for individual appointments. She works her ass off — you’d think that her life depended on it.” He let out a slow sigh. “Hell, she lives and breathes it.”
“You’d know somethin’ about that. Wouldn’t ya?”
“It’s not the same thing, Cap. Those rich fancy clients of hers freakin’ love her because she drops everything to get them what they need. The woman is nothing, if she’s not tenacious.”
“I guess that includes resisting your charms too, eh McGuire?” Jenkins laughed and wagged a finger at Ronan. “You like this broad, so don’t even try to deny it. “
“Of course I do. We’re friends.”
“Yeah but you wanna be more than friends.” Jenkins raised his salt and pepper eyebrows. “You know how I can tell?”
“No.” Ronan stapled the reports and busied himself, trying not to let Jenkins know how right he was. “Enlighten me.”
“Ever since she came to town, you haven’t been out on a single date.” Jenkins hoisted his rotund form out of the chair with a groan. “And for a guy who seemed to have a different date almost every Saturday night for the past several years, that seems a bit odd. Don’t ya think?”
“Careful, Cap.” Ronan winked and extended the two finished reports to his superior. “You sound jealous.”
“Some detective you are.” Jenkins made a snort of derision and snagged the papers from Ronan. “Not jealous, more like impressed. I can’t remember the last time I went out on a date and believe me; it ain’t for lack of effort. A good lookin’ guy like you could be out with any woman he wanted. And here you are, pining away for the one broad in this city who turned you down.”
“See?” Ronan leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his head. “You’re working under the assumption that I’ve asked her out, for an actual date, that is. I’m still in the game.”
“Sounds like you’re on the bench.” Jenkins narrowed his pale brown eyes. “You haven’t actually asked her out? You been joggin’ with this woman all the freakin’ time. What’s the hold up?”
“I told you, man, we’re just friends.” Ronan shrugged. “Period. End of story.”
“Bullshit,” Jenkins snorted. “I may be old-fashioned but men and women can’t only be friends. Not really.”
“Whatever, man,” Ronan sighed and dropped his hands the arms of his chair. He would never win that argument with his Captain. “It’s complicated, okay?”
“You mean because of the dead boyfriend?”
“Real sensitive, Cap.” Ronan gave him a sarcastic thumbs-up. “His name was Rick and he was a firefighter back in our home town. He bought it on the job. I knew him, okay? He was a good guy.”
“Right, that sucks,” Jenkins, said slowly. “But with all due respect, she can’t date a dead guy, and his memory ain’t gonna keep her warm at night.”
“Come on, Cap,” Ronan persisted. “They were practically married and were together for years, like almost a decade. It seems shady to be hitting on her so soon after something like that. I’m being her friend, which is exactly what she needs.”
“Maybe, but it sounds like an excuse to me.” Jenkins snapped his fingers at his dog. “Come on, Saratoga. Let’s go, girl. It’s time to head home.”
“Why would I need an excuse?” Ronan shouted after him.
“Easy,” Jenkins barked over his shoulder. “If you don’t ask, then she can’t turn you down.”
Ronan had no response to that. The son of a bitch was absolutely right. He hadn’t come right out and asked Maddy on a date because he was pretty sure she’d say no. Plus, why would he want to make it weird between them, especially before the wedding? That wouldn’t be fair to his brother and Jordan. The last complication they needed was awkwardness between the best man and the maid of honor.
He went to close his computer down, the Bowman case came to mind. A knot formed in his gut. Like the investigating officers, he too suspected that Lucille knew her killer—at least enough to go off with him without raising an alarm. But on the other hand, the New York City real estate market was massive, The odds were probably slim that Maddy knew this guy too, whoever he was.
Slim or not, he was going to have to have a chat with her about safety precautions. Bowser yawned loudly before stretching and rising to his feet.
“What do you think, buddy?” The bloodhound came over and laid his head in Ronan’s lap, as though asking to get the hell out of there. “Think Maddy will take advice from me and take the proper precautions?”
Bowser snuffled loudly and sat on his haunches.
“Yeah,” Ronan laughed softly. “Me neither. But that won’t stop me from trying.”

 

***

 

Maddy discreetly checked the time on her phone before turning her attention back to the young couple whispering with each other in the kitchen. Mrs. Bartholomew loved the place and Mr. Bartholomew wasn’t entirely sold but if she had to bet—the wife was going to win.
The Friday evening Open House, while at an unorthodox time, was turning out to be one of her busiest in the past month. Brenda was supposed to assist Maddy tonight to get a little more experience under her belt, but she’d never showed. The girl was new and eager to please, but flaking out on this Open House was not cool. Maddy loathed reprimanding people but a lecture was coming Brenda’s way. The beautiful blonde was barely out of college—would she have blown off work for a better offer and a hot date? The company had taken a chance bringing someone so young and green into the office.
It looked like they had made a mistake but Maddy hoped like hell the girl had a good reason for flaking out. A smile curved her lips. Terrence, her boss and the owner of Cosmpolitan Realty, would surely tell her to give Brenda another chance. His compassion and strong ethical code were the two main reasons she signed on with his company. His business was about people not only making the sale, which was unusual in the cutthroat real estate world.
Maddy came to this city to live without emotional attachments but time and again she found herself getting suckered in. She couldn’t help it. The city might be cold and unemotional but no matter how hard Maddy tried, she couldn’t be.
Letting out a sigh, she checked her phone again. There was no answer to the text she’d sent Brenda, and no missed calls.
Perfect. Managing staff and juggling personalities was Maddy’s least favorite part of business. She used to tell Rick she was fine not having kids, because she knew plenty of adults who acted like children. Maybe she was being too hard on the girl and too quick to judge.
She pictured herself scolding the girl but Maddy knew the fantasy would have to suffice. She’d never do it real life. One look into the sweet wide-eyed apologetic face of Brenda and Maddy would be telling the girl not to worry about it.
I’m a sucker.
Handling this Open House on her own wasn’t difficult, per se. She could handle events like this with her eyes closed. But it had been busy. The spacious Upper West side penthouse had only been on the market for a week and the owners were eager to sell. That typically happened with a divorce. Since they were so eager, Maddy set up a Friday night Open House to go with the one on Sunday but based on the interest tonight, the place could be sold by then.
God bless the Internet.
She’d done damn well back in the Old Brookfield beachfront market and many of those wealthy clients who bought summer property lived and worked in the city. Transitioning to the New York City market had been surprisingly easy.
Besides, her favorite part of being a realtor was helping people find the place they would call home. The one space where they could kick off their shoes, snuggle up on the couch, and find shelter from the world and their worries. It was the most satisfying part of her job.
Maddy gave the wealthy young twosome the space she knew they wanted, and loitered by the front door while they chatted quietly. Twelve other realtors had been through the massive apartment with their clients at last count, in addition to seven walk-ins. It had been a long and emotionally draining week., and there were about ten minutes left before she could go home and collapse.
Just as that thought rushed through her weary brain the private elevator to the penthouse dinged. The doors slid open and a man stepped out. He was older, probably late fifties, good looking and distinguished in a Gordon Gecko kind of way. He had Wall Street sleaze ball written all over him and reeked of over compensation. She’d be willing to bet he drove either a Porsche or Corvette—probably bright yellow.
It was something about the way men like him carried themselves: shoulders back, head up, expensive suit—but the fear of discovery lingered behind their eyes. It was like at any moment someone might reveal them for the fraud that, deep down, they believed themselves to be.
Sucker or jaded bitch? Maddy forced a smile and extended her hand. This city has already done a number on me.
          “Hello, I’m Maddy Morgan.” She shook his hand briefly as he moved into the large foyer. His gleaming polished shoes clicked on the tumbled marble floor. “You made it to our Open House just in time.”
“Thank you.” He didn’t look at her but scanned the foyer as he continued toward the open living room. “Peter Gregory.”
“Did you have an opportunity to sign in at the front desk? The building’s board insists upon it.” Maddy strode up next to him. “The security here is top notch, which is, of course, one of the selling points.”
“Of course.” He gave her a tight smile and nodded toward the window bank on the opposite wall. “May I have a look around? I’ve just begun the process of finding a new home and this one seemed perfect on paper.”
“Absolutely.” Maddy folded her hands in front of her and glanced at the yuppies. Still whispering. “Then you know that this lovely home has four bedrooms and three and a half baths. The kitchen is state of the art and you have a private garden terrace off the master bedroom.”
“Yes. As I said, I’ve seen the listing.” He tilted his head and strolled across the room with an air of arrogance around him. “Thank you, Ms. Morgan. I’ll just take a quick walk through. I realize the showing time is almost over and I wouldn’t want to throw anyone off schedule. My wife will be joining me in a few weeks and if I don’t have something decent to show her, she’ll be quite perturbed with me.”
A wife? That was surprising. Maddy thought for sure this man was a bachelor.
“I see,” Maddy said as she scolded herself for jumping to conclusions. “Is there something in particular she’s looking for?”
“I’ll know it when I see it,” he said quietly. He held his hands behind his back and surveyed the space. “Finding a new home, knowing when it’s the right one, is more of a feeling. It’s not something one can put on paper. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Yes, absolutely.” Her lips lifted. She had definitely misread this man. “In fact, I couldn’t agree more.”
“Well, then. I’ll be just a moment.”
“Take your time, Mr. Gregory.” Maddy meant it, too. She may have been tired but time was money. Besides, if he and his wife weren’t already working with another realtor, she’d be more than happy to help them. “I’ll be right here if you have any questions.”
“Excuse me, Ms. Morgan?” The young Mr. Bartholomew strode out of the kitchen with his wife’s hand clasped tightly in his. Based on the excited twinkle in the pretty blonde woman’s eyes, she’d won the whisper war. “We’ll be putting in an offer. We didn’t officially sign the contract with you and Cosmopolitan Realty yet but I’d like to rectify that immediately.”
“Absolutely. I know you had to rush out to another appointment after our last meeting.” Maddy smiled warmly. She pulled her card from her pocket and handed it to him. “This is my listing and I’m happy to help you.”
“Thank you,” the young woman squealed with excitement. “I know you’re not supposed to show how much you love a place but I can’t help it.”
“Believe me, I understand.” Maddy nodded. “I knew my apartment would be mine from the second I stepped through the front door. It just felt …”
“Like home?” She asked hopefully.
Referring to Maddy’s apartment as home would be a major stretch. Nowhere in this huge heartless city ever would ever be her home. Not really. Honestly, she’d begun to wonder if she’d ever feel at home anywhere ever again.
“You could say that,” Maddy smiled. “It felt safe.”
Yeah, safe for you to hide from your life and the rest of the world. Coward.
          “Honey,” her husband said warningly. “We still have to go over a few items. I’m sure if Ms. Morgan gets any offers between now and nine o’clock tomorrow morning she’ll let us know, so we can jump into the bidding. Right?”
“Definitely.”
Maddy showed the Bartholomews to the elevator and let out the weary laugh the instant the door slid closed with a dull thump. Their enthusiasm was refreshing if not, naïve. They were first time buyers and from a big money family. Private schools and country clubs had been their playgrounds, and dropping several million on this apartment didn’t seem like it would faze them in the least.
Really, though, what did Maddy know? They could have won the freaking lottery, or maybe the guy hit it big with some start-up company. At the end of the day, where they got their money didn’t matter. It was none of her business, but that aside, she did like to speculate. It kept the process interesting and forced her to pay attention to details. Usually, it was the smallest detail that gave the largest amount of information.
Like Ronan McGuire and the coffee, for example.
A smile curved her lips when she recalled the way he effortlessly ordered her coffee exactly the way she liked it. It might have seemed silly to some, but that small bit of knowledge showed his attentiveness. Her smile faltered and she fished her phone out of the pocket of her suit jacket. In all the years she’d been with Rick, the man never had remembered how she liked her coffee. He got it wrong so often it had even become a running joke between them. Then again, he’d always had a rotten memory and had even forgotten her birthday a couple times.
Details hadn’t been Rick’s strength.
“Ms. Morgan?” The voice pulled her from her memories and Maddy spun around quickly, feeling foolish for drifting off like that. “Are you feeling alright?”
Mr. Gregory stood behind her and was peering at her as though he was worried she was going to faint or something.
“Yes,” Maddy said, quickly.
“You’re certain? Because my wife has been ill and…well…she sometimes gets a faraway look on her face, like the one you just had. It makes me worry.”
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Gregory.” Maddy’s voice softened. “I hope she’s on the mend.”
“As much as one can be after a few rounds of chemotherapy.” He dropped his gaze from hers and cleared his throat before turning his back to her. “I don’t think she would like this penthouse and given the circumstances, it must be exactly right.”
“Of course.” The broken tone of his voice tugged at her heartstrings. “If you decide work with me, I promise you we’ll find the perfect home for you and Mrs. Gregory.”
“Thank you.”
“Do you have any questions?”
“Yes and no.” He turned to face her again, his cool demeanor once again in place. “I saw what I needed to see. As I am just starting my search, I’d like to go look at some other spaces. Do you have time on your schedule this weekend?”
“Of course.” She squared her shoulders and grabbed a copy of the listing off the table before handing it to him. “I apologize, I should have given you this when you came in. I will tell you that the couple that just left have said that they’ll have a bid in by morning. No pressure, but I want you to have all the information you might need to make an informed choice.”
“I see.” He folded the paper lengthwise and slipped it inside his jacket pocket, and all the while his cool gaze remained pinned to hers. “While I like this particular apartment, I want to see others. While I am not a man who normally makes decisions quickly, time is of the essence. For obvious reasons.”
“Understandable.” Maddy gathered the extra listing sheets into a folder. “If you’re not already working with a realtor, then I’d be happy to help you.”
“I was but…it didn’t work out.” He lifted one shoulder and waved his hand dismissively. “She wasn’t a good fit. The woman seemed more concerned with her commission than finding me what I needed.”
“I’m sorry to hear that you had an unpleasant experience.”
“It’s business,” he said flatly. “I want the best and based on everything I’ve heard lately, that would be you. You came highly recommended.”
Maddy tightened her grip on the folder and held it against her chest.
“Really?”
“Yes.” He nodded curtly. “I’m new to the city. Until recently, I operated out of our company’s Chicago offices. After my unpleasant experience with the other realtor, I was told by our CEO, Bill Weinstein, that you are the best in the business on every level.”
“I’ll have to thank him for the kind recommendation.” Maddy’s chest puffed a bit with pride. The Weinsteins were one of her best clients, and had rented houses in Old Brookfield from her every summer for the past several years. They had been persnickety about their new home in the city but she’d stuck with them and found them a fabulous duplex that met every one of their needs. No small task, to be sure.
“If you know Bill,” he said, a hint of a smile played at his lips, “then you know he’s not one to pass out compliments easily. My wife, Helen, told me if I didn’t take his advice I was a horse’s ass.”
Maddy’s brows lifted and her reaction elicited a small smile from Mr. Gregory.
“Thirty five years of marriage and one learns to listen to one’s wife. Especially when she refers to one as an animal’s backside.”
“Then I’ll be sure I take the time to find out exactly what you’re looking for.” Madd’s lips lifted . “Perhaps we could meet at my offices tomorrow, or Sunday. Just let me know what’s best for you. I like to meet with my clients first to find out exactly what they are looking for.”
Maddy handed him her card, which he promptly slipped into his pocket without even looking at it.
“Sunday.” He strode past her to the elevator and hit the button. “Your office at noon.”
“Wonderful.” Maddy smiled. . “I’ll see you then.”
The door slid closed and Maddy was left alone in the enormous apartment. She hoped that his former realtor wasn’t anyone that she knew.That could get awkward fast. This business was nothing if not cutthroat but Maddy wasn’t. Stealing clients was plain old wrong and there was no way she would knowingly poach from another realtor’s list.
Gregory was uptight and bossy but none of that mattered. Maddy had a new bee in her bonnet and it was finding a home for him and his ailing wife. Thirty-five years? Holy shit. That was a long damn time to be with one person.
She made quick work of shutting off all the lights and making sure everything was exactly as the owners had left it.
Her phone buzzed in her pocket as she stepped out of the elevator into the ornate lobby. She expected to see a voicemail or text from Brenda, explaining where she’d been.
Maddy glanced at the screen and a slow smile curved her lips. Her heartbeat picked up along with a giddy fluttery feeling in her belly, making her feel like a swarm of butterflies had been let loose. Definitely not Brenda.
It was a text from Ronan.

 

Meet you in the park for our Saturday morning run tomorrow? By the Alice in Wonderland statue. 9am. Be there or be square.
         
Maddy bit her lower lip and started to type back but her thumb paused above the screen. It hovered there like an indecisive squirrel in the middle of the street, choosing whether or not to get run over by the oncoming car. If she continued meeting up with Ronan, eventually, their platonic relationship would likely take a hefty turn toward lusty.
Would that be so bad?
Before she could talk herself out of it, she typed back.

 

Yes. See you then and this time coffee is on me.
          She went to put it in her pocket but Ronan, the speed texter, texted back immediately.

 

Good. You do know how I like it don’t you?
          A wicked grin cracked Maddy’s face because the message was brimming with sexual innuendo. Before she could come up with a witty response, he texted again.
My coffee…I was talking about my coffee…really 😉

 

A delicious shiver flickered and got her blood moving. How silly was it a flirty text exchange could give her such a thrill? Maybe pathetic was a better word but she didn’t care. She was having too much fun and it had been far too long since she’d had any of that. Maddy puffed a curly strand of hair away from her eyes and texted back.

 

Sure, McGuire. See you tmrw.
      
    Smiling and filled with an almost schoolgirl giddiness, Maddy tried to maintain her professional exterior. She collected the sign in sheet from the front desk bell captain and slipped it into her folder. She placed everything on the quilted bench by the desk and pulled on her wool coat, bracing herself for the dark chilly night air. Her last message to Ronan was still on her screen and without even thinking about it, she scooped up the phone and sent one more text.

 

And for the record, I bet I know exactly how you like it.
~~ Other Books in this Series ~~

 

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Purchase Links:
Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
Barnes & Noble : Books-A-Million : Google Play : iBooks
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~Meet Sara Humphreys~

 

Sara Humphreys is the award-winning author of the Amoveo Legend series. The third book in the series, UNTAMED, won two PRISM awards–Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best. The first two novels from her Dead in the City series have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award. Sara was also a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.

 

She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with Mr. H., their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she’s not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook. 

 

For a full list of Sara’s books and reading order, please visit her website.  www.sarahumphreys.com
~ Connect with Sara ~
Facebook : Goodreads Author Page : Instagram : Pinterest : Twitter : YouTube : Amazon Author Page
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Hell on an Angel * Release Boost * Lauren Firminger

 

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Hell On An Angel by Lauren Firminger
Fated Love Series; Book 2
Published Date ~ 7/16/16
Published By ~ Lauren Firminger
Genre ~ New Adult; Romance
Cover Designed by ~ MadHat Books
Photographer ~ Lindee Robinson Photography
~Blurb~

 

A story of Second Chances

 

I had the perfect girl and I loved her more than anything.
We had our futures planned together.
I was gonna give her the world but my father had other ideas.
Will she ever forgive me?

 

He was my life when I had nothing left.
He made me believe that maybe I wasn’t just destined for pain and hurt.
In the blink of an eye that was taken away from me and again my heart was broken.
Years later and he still owns a piece of it.

 

I don’t know that I can give him the second chance he wants.
Goodreads

 

Purchase Links
Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
iBooks

 

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~Meet Lauren Firminger~

 

Lauren Firminger grew up in a small country town only a couple hours away from where she currently resides in Sydney, Australia.
During high school, Lauren fell in love with books and reading, and like most, was a Potter-head then turned Twi-Hard, Vampire Academy soon followed by the Mortal Instruments.

 

However, it wasn’t until she got her hands on Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series that Lauren fell in love with reading again. Soon after, her new writing journey began, bringing her to her official debut release of Learning to Fly.
~Connect with Lauren~
Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Instagram

 

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Will you be in Sydney in 2017? You can find Lauren and many other amazing authors at the “Books by the Bridge” author event. You can find more information on their Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/booksbythebridgeauthorevent

 

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Rave Reviews

Another great shifter book by Ms. Shaw!

on January 25, 2016

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Bethany Shaw is one of my favorite shifter authors and this book did not disappoint. It is a quick read but a good story. I loved the characters Eric and Lexi. this book kept me hooked from the beginning. Eric and Lexi aren’t suppose to be together, his parents send him away to keep them apart. Lexi move on and returns to town a few years later with a son. Can they rekindle their love, or is it to late?

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A Great Read

on May 1Purchase

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I picked this book up when I needed something light and not too serious. From the moment I started to read I was drawn into the story and I wanted to know more about the characters I was reading about. I found the characters to be well developed and it was really an enjoyable read. I am definitely planing on reading this book again. I felt the world that the characters lived in was well developed and I felt like I could reach out and touch it. I wanted to curl up with Erik and run my fingers through his fur. Lexi’s fear that Erik would leave her again felt very real and I could understand her fears.

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Rising Ashes * Excerpt Reveal * Annie Anderson

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✦ ✦ ✦ Available for PreOrder ✦ ✦ ✦

 

RISING ASHES
by Annie Anderson
Ashes to Ashes; Book 3
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: August 18, 2016
Cover Design by: MadHat Books

 

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Synopsis:
West Carmichael is not my real name.

 

It is the name I pulled from thin air over five hundred years ago. I don’t come from royalty—I come from the dregs of the ethereal. As the King’s assassin, I have more blood on my hands than most. I don’t deserve her. I don’t deserve anyone.
But I will keep her safe.
Even if I die trying.

 

Evangeline Black.

 

My name sounds like the heroine of a historical romance novel – not that I read those or anything. My life so far: Dead parents? Check. Broken heart? Check. Evil mistress of darkness, hell-bent on power and thirsty for my death? Big. Honking. Check. But this mess won’t get cleaned up by itself.
I’ve got a job to do.

 

As these two reluctant hearts fight their pull, they must decide if they want to fall apart in the midst of the chaos swarming around them or yield to their hearts…
and rise.

 

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Goodreads

 

Pre-Order Rising Ashes
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iBooks : Kobo

 

Excerpt:

 

EVAN – 1928 – Los Angeles, CA
The first time I met West Carmichael, I was singing at a speakeasy in Los Angeles. My parents didn’t know where I was, and for the first time in a long time, neither did Aurelia. Hiding from a Seer is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but a special cloaking amulet from a witch friend seemed to have worked wonders.
It was pretty. A sapphire the size of my thumbnail set in a silver filigree setting hanging from a thin chain that rests just below my collarbone. It wasn’t the nicest piece of jewelry I owned, but it was my favorite.
Maybe because it granted my freedom.
Or maybe because it matched my royal blue silk charmeuse gown to perfection. I used to hate dressing up, but this dress made me feel like a woman. It was an off the shoulder number with a daring sweetheart neckline – far ahead of its time. It fit like a second skin until it hit my thighs and then flared out like a calla lily into a delicate but short train. It may not have been the most comfortable dress I owned, but it made me feel like a sexy siren. Something that with my diminutive height, I rarely felt.
I was alone – finally alone even in this sea of people– after so much time with the ones I loved breathing down my neck. It was like a vacation. I needed something of my own. A secret, a life, something to break away from my family. Something that didn’t say princess or royalty.
Something that let me just be me. Singing was it for me.
I was ending my five-song set with a favorite of mine, an old Jane Greene song when I saw him. I’d seen him around town a few times, when I was shopping by myself or when I watched a boxing match at the Olympic Auditorium, a scandalous activity for an unchaperoned young lady.
But we’d never met.
He was handsome. I even daresay beautiful, if you can call a man like that beautiful. He was tall – taller than anyone in the room by nearly a whole head –and built so powerfully he made the other men look like pitiful adolescents dressed up in their daddy’s clothes. It was difficult to tell if his hair was as dark as it seemed in the low light of the secret club, but it appeared black in the dim. Dressed to the nines in a brilliant black suit, he moved with grace through the crowd until he found his seat at the only open table in the joint, folding his huge frame into the chair with the grace of a jaguar.
Papa had taken me to Brazil when I was just a little girl, and we saw the big cats roam the rainforests. He moved just like those jungle cats, scanning the room for prey and threats, watching everything with disinterest, as if he could take or leave the sights and sounds and people. As if he were bored in this raucous party that seemed to never end.
© Copyright 2016 Annie Anderson

 

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Also Available in the Ashes to Ashes Series

 

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SCATTERED ASHES (Ashes to Ashes, #1)
Amazon US : AU : CA : UK  

 

FALLING ASHES (Ashes to Ashes, #2)
Amazon US : AU : CA : UK  
**Available on Kindle Unlimited

 

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About the Author:
 
Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad.
 
As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she’ll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, and old man of a dog.
 
 
Connect with Annie:
Website : Facebook : Twitter : Pinterest : Google+ : Amazon Author Page : Goodreads Author Page
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~Trouble Walks In * Excerpt Reveal * Author Sara Humphreys~

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Trouble Walks In (The McGuire Brothers, #2)
Trouble Walks In by Sara Humphreys
McGuire Brothers Series; Book 2
Pages
Published August 2, 2016
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca

 

Blurb:
Big city K-9 cop Ronan McGuire loves women, loves his dog, loves his job – but when old flame Maddy Morgan moves into his jurisdiction, he can’t think about anyone else.
Ronan knows she’s way out of his league, but he’s determined to help Maddy live life to the fullest.

 

Maddy has immersed herself in work and swiftly made a name for herself in the hot New York City real estate market. She’s looking for safety, not love, but Ronan McGuire is as persistent as he is sexy, and his crooked smile is hard to resist. But all other concerns are wiped away when Maddy goes missing and Ronan and his bloodhound K-9 partner are tasked with finding her and bringing her home.

 

Goodreads

 

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Pre-Order Links:
Amazon US : AU : CA : UK  
Barnes & Noble : Books-A-Million : iTunes  

 

 

Excerpt:

 

PROLOGUE

 

The boy had been missing for twelve hours, and Ronan McGuire knew better than anyone that if they didn’t find the kid soon, the search could end in the worst possible way. It had been an unusually cold November, and when little David Newhart wandered away from his parents this morning in the park, he hadn’t been wearing a coat. The sun had gone down hours ago, and the temperature was close to freezing.
Ronan’s partner grew increasingly agitated as they climbed the steep incline of the hill near Turtle Pond, and hope fired brightly in Ronan’s chest. He knew the dog’s signals and could read him better than he could most people.
The boy was close.
Bowser whined loudly and tugged harder on the long leash, and Ronan swore under his breath. The enormous bloodhound had the best nose in the tristate area. Once he detected a scent, he rarely—if ever—failed to find what he was looking for. He tilted his snout to the air before spearing it back to the ground and turning left. Bowser’s lanky brown-and-black-furred body quivered with excitement, the way it did whenever the trail grew stronger.
The scent article they’d given Bowser, the missing boy’s hat, had given him a solid lead to follow, but this was more an art than a science. David had been missing for hours, and the gusty winds of late November had been blowing hard, making the search-and-rescue job that much more difficult. Well, for Ronan, it was a job. For Bowser, it was more like playing a big game of hide-and-seek. And there was nothing his dog loved more than finding what he was looking for.
Bowser kept his nose to the ground and trotted to the left toward a long stone wall. He followed the scent through the brush and dried leaves in an almost sideways direction along a wooded section of Central Park. Bowser was one of the most talented bloodhounds on the force and could detect scents up to a week old if he had to.
Tension settled in Ronan’s shoulders, and his muscles bunched as he wrapped the leather lead tighter around his hand. He scanned the area ahead, and a tickle of panic glimmered in his chest as it sometimes did when he was searching for a missing kid. Faint memories from years ago bubbled to the surface. He knew exactly how this little boy was feeling. Alone. Terrified. Cold.
“David?” Ronan shouted. “I’m Officer Ronan McGuire with the NYPD. Your mom and dad are worried about you. David, can you hear me?”
The wind whistling by his ears was the only answer. The glimmer of hope began to fade right before Bowser whimpered and made a sudden turn to the right, his long, sword-like tail bouncing wildly as he picked up the pace. A bitter gust of wind whisked through the woods, sending a chill up Ronan’s spine. Shit. Please let the kid be okay. Bowser dodged around a massive elm tree, and Ronan ran around behind him.
“David!”
That was when he spotted a dark lump…and it moved. Ronan’s heart thundered in his chest. He shone his flashlight over the area, and the breath rushed from his lungs. Got him. David was curled up in a ball in a pile of leaves at the base of the tree. Bowser barked and went right over, sniffing and licking at the boy before sitting down beside him protectively.
“I wanna go home,” David whimpered as he placed one quivering hand onto Bowser’s paw. “I want my mommy.”
“I gotcha, David.” Ronan squatted down and took off his coat before quickly wrapping it around the kid. “Bowser and I are gonna get you back to your mom and dad. They’re worried sick about you.”
“I’m cold.”
“I know, pal, but you’re safe now. Everything’s gonna be okay.”
He started rubbing the boy’s arms, but Bowser moved in and lay down right next to the kid, practically on top of him. David giggled through his sniffles and swiped at his eyes before snuggling up to the dog. Bowser was panting heavily, his long, pink tongue dangling from the side of his open mouth. The damn dog looked like he was smiling.
“Good boy.” Ronan repeated the phrase a few times, scratched Bowser’s ears, and gave him the praise he expected. “Nice job, buddy.”
Bowser licked his hand quickly, as though returning the kudos. Ronan crouched next to his panting K-9 and radioed for the other officers in the area.
Ronan loved his job, especially when it had a happy ending.

 

CHAPTER 1

 

“I told you that I’d be there, and I meant it.” Maddy Morgan pressed the iPhone harder against her ear. She was attempting to block out the sounds beyond her office door while her best friend pestered her to within an inch of her life. “I’m your maid of honor, for heaven’s sake. What? You think I’m gonna bail after everything you and Gavin have been through? Hell no!”
“Okay, well, you can’t blame me for double-checking, can you?” Jordan hesitated, her voice concerned. “We’ve hardly spoken. I mean, you haven’t been home since… It’s been over a year and…”
Maddy stared out the window that overlooked the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and sucked in a deep breath, her friend’s unfinished thought hanging in the air. She nibbled her lower lip and fought the sudden, unexpected swell of emotion. It had been fifteen months since Rick died and a full year since she had been back to the town she’d always called home.
At least, she had until recently.
“I know,” Maddy said quietly.
She swallowed the lump in her throat and refused to cry. She’d cried enough at Rick’s funeral and during the weeks following. No more tears. If Rick were here, he would tell her to put on her big girl panties and get on with life.
“I’m not missing your wedding,” she said firmly. “Jeez, Jordan. You and Gavin have waited sixteen years to finally get hitched. Hell, you two would have gotten married last Christmas if it weren’t for me.”
“That’s not true,” Jordan said firmly.
“Bull.” Maddy laughed.
“Okay, well, it wasn’t the only reason.” Jordan replied. “Gavin’s parents wanted to throw us a huge Christmas wedding, and four months wouldn’t have been enough time to pull it all together. Deciding to wait a year has been a win-win. My future mother-in-law had plenty of time to do her thing, and we all had time to properly grieve for Rick. But I’m still worried about you…”
“I’m fine, Jordan, and I promise… I’m gonna be there to witness your dream coming true.”
“Okay, but—”
“No buts.”
“Yo, Maddy.” The increasingly irritating voice of Chris Drummond shot into the room as he barged in. “That blond, the Brenda chick—are you gonna to take her out to an open house this weekend, or should I? And what about those newlyweds? I know you’ve been slammed. I could take them out to see the new listings, if you want.”
“Hang on, Jordan,” Maddy said tightly.
She covered the phone with her hand and leveled an irritated gaze at her colleague. She knew that Terrence, the owner of the realty agency, had hired Drummond because he had an amazing reputation for selling and one of the best portfolios in the business, but he was a letch. A letch that thought anyone with boobs wanted him. Maddy had learned a long time ago that big talent usually meant even bigger egos.
Unfortunately, this talent was also turning out to be an asshole. She had already reported him once to Terrence for inappropriate advances on the young women in the office. Big talent or not, he was making her tired of him and his misogynistic bullshit. And lately, there had been attempts to steal her clients.
“Did you happen to notice that my door was closed?”
“Yeah.” He leaned in the doorway with his usual casual arrogance. Tall, slim, well dressed, and always perfectly coiffed, he was considered good-looking by most. But the air of entitlement he wore like a cloak was a turnoff as far as Maddy was concerned. Besides, she would never date a colleague.
“I’m on a call.”
“Right.” He jutted his thumb over his shoulder. “Anyway, should I take that Brenda chick out and, uh, show her the ropes? We could take the newlyweds, the, uh…”
“The Bartholomews,” Maddy finished for him. “No, I can handle my client list. Thank you.”
“Fine, then let me take Brenda out.”
The smarmy smile on his face gave Maddy pause. He’d been hitting on the assistants, who were savvy New Yorkers and more than capable of handling themselves, but now he was moving on to the young real estate agent. Brenda was a recent college grad from the Midwest. She was pretty, smart, and naive.
A prime target for a guy like Drummond.
“No,” Maddy said firmly. “Terrence asked me to handle her training. Thank you, and please close the door on your way out.”
His smile faded, and a hard, cold look settled in his eyes. Maddy had moved up the ranks quickly since joining Cosmopolitan Realty House, and her rise hadn’t gone unnoticed by Drummond. He hated not being number one, but she suspected that being second to a woman was a bigger insult.
“Sure thing,” he murmured.
Drummond left but neglected to shut the door. Maddy crossed the room, pausing only to tell Sharon, her assistant, to hold her other calls before she closed her door once more.
“Sorry about that, Jordan.” She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window and grimaced before running one hand through her unruly brown curls. “I’m coming into town a week before the wedding so I can help you with whatever you need. Y’know, all that bridesmaid stuff. I mean, I’m not a real girlie girl, but it’ll be fun to hang out. And tell Gavin he better not try to horn in on our girls’ night out. It might only be the two of us, but there’s a no-boys-allowed rule in effect for that event.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that,” Jordan said through a chuckle. “All four of his brothers are coming in early as well. From what I hear, Ronan has quite the bachelor party planned. Speaking of Ronan, why don’t you two ride back to Old Brookfield together? I mean, you’re both in the city, and he is the best man.”
“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. I’ll take my own car, thank you very much. I’m staying at the Old Brookfield Inn, and Ronan will be at his parents’ house, obviously.” Maddy’s eyes narrowed, and the smile on her face grew. “Your matchmaking scheme hasn’t worked, Jordan. But I’ll give you and Gavin an A for effort.”
“What are you talking about?” Jordan asked with feigned innocence. “When you moved to the city last year, Gavin merely suggested that Ronan should look out for you. He’s been a cop there for over a decade. Besides, I heard through the McGuire brother grapevine that you two have been going running on the weekends, so Ronan can’t be all bad.”
Nope. –That was half the problem. He was exactly the right kind of bad.
They had gone jogging in Central Park almost every weekend for the past several months, but Maddy had made it clear from the start: she wasn’t interested in dating. Not him, nor anyone else. Friends? Sure. Romance? No way.
Her heart couldn’t take another turn through the shredder. Dating a cop, just because he also happened to be one of the sexiest men God ever put on this earth, would not be a smart move.
Besides, Ronan had a reputation as a total ladies’ man.
Not that she could blame any woman for taking a ride on that handsome train. When he flashed that lopsided grin and his bluish-green eyes crinkled at the corners, it took superwoman strength for Maddy not to drop her panties. He was a combination of mischievous little boy and irresistible alpha male—a deadly pairing.
Ronan McGuire was wickedly sexy. The worst part was that he knew it.
“Well, yeah,” Maddy said quickly. She sat at her desk and spun the chair to face the window so she could see the rest of the world. Living and working in this city made her feel like a rat in a cage sometimes. “Running around, getting sweaty, and panting in the cold is not exactly dating, Jordan.”
“Sweaty and panting sounds promising,” Jordan teased.
Maddy’s face flushed. “That’s not what I meant.” She quickly added, “I was talking about Bowser.”
“Sure,” her friend said slowly. “Sure you were.”
“You know Ronan doesn’t go anywhere without that dog. Speaking of which, are you prepared to have a drooling animal at your wedding?”
“Oh fine, change the subject.” Jordan sighed. “Any chance I can talk you into coming for Thanksgiving?”
“Sorry, babe. I’m slammed.”
“Then how about staying for Christmas? The wedding is on the twenty-third. Come on. Please? The girls would love it,” she said, referring to her two adorable daughters. “You’re going to be here for a week, so what’s a couple more days? You said they were closing your office between Christmas and New Year’s anyway.”
Maddy had never been part of big family holidays, and that had been fine with her, but the pleading tone in Jordan’s voice was starting to make her rethink her decision.
“You know the holidays were never a big deal for me, Jordan. My mom hated celebrating them after my dad died, and then once she was gone, I didn’t really want to. And besides,” she added quickly, “Rick and I never even got a tree or anything. He was always working, and so was I.”
“I know, but I hate to think of you alone in that big city on Christmas. Again. It’s bad enough you wouldn’t come last year. Please think about it?”
“I’m hosting a huge New Year’s Eve party for my clients—it’s at my apartment.”
“You could leave on the twenty-sixth and still be back in plenty of time to be party ready,” Jordan persisted. “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to call bullshit on that excuse. You and I both know your assistant already has the whole shindig tied up and ready to go.”
Jordan was right. The party was a lame reason not to spend the holiday with them. Besides, it was all being catered, and the invitations had been sent. What did Maddy really have to do other than show up and schmooze? And what was here for her on Christmas? She didn’t even have a cat or a fish to feed.
Ugh. She felt more pathetic by the second.
“Okay,” Maddy said with a dramatic sigh. “I’ll think about it. Jeez, when did you become such a nudge?”
“Since I had two children and learned that being a nudge can sometimes be quite effective.”
A knock on Maddy’s door sent a flicker of irritation up her back. But when she spun around, Sharon’s tearstained face stopped her cold.
“Girl, I have to go.” A knot of dread curled in her gut. “I’ll see you in a few weeks. Give Gracie and Lilly a kiss from Aunt Maddy.”
Maddy hit End and set the phone on her desk. Her legs felt like Jell-O as she rose to her feet. Sharon was still weeping while she closed the door behind her, and before it shut, Maddy saw two of the other agents in the office crying.
“Sharon, what is it?”
“Th-they found her.”
“Who?” Maddy asked shakily, her fingertips pressing into the mahogany desk. But she knew the answer before Sharon said it.
“Lucille Bowman.” The young woman swiped at her eyes and let out a shuddering sob. “She’s dead.”

 

***

 

A haunting rendition of “Amazing Grace” spilled from the organ filling the small church, and Maddy wiped the tears from her eyes. The last time she’d heard this song had been at Rick’s funeral. A new surge of sadness and grief welled up inside as the pallbearers carried Lucille’s casket silently toward the open double doors.
The sounds of the city spilled in, buzzing beneath the mournful melody—a bitter reminder of how cruel life was. The world outside went on as though nothing had happened. While Lucille’s death had barely been noted on the evening news, it was far more personal for Maddy and her coworkers. According to police, the last call Lucille had made was to her husband, saying she was going to meet a client at an open house. The client had called the office later that day to say Lucille had never arrived.
Lucille’s husband kept his vacant gaze fixed to the ground. He lumbered silently behind his late wife’s casket, seemingly unaware of anyone or anything around him. Grief and shock clung to him like an invisible shroud. Maddy knew that feeling all too well.
He and Lucille didn’t have any children and, according to a few of the other realtors, had been married only a couple of years. People said that as though it would somehow make his loss less horrible. Did the amount of time he and Lucille had been together even matter? One year or ten, a loss was a loss.
The remaining mourners filed out, all of them in various states of grief, but Maddy remained quietly in the back row. She had spoken with Lucille only a few times, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to pay her respects—but without overstepping her bounds. The little church in Old Brookfield had been full for Rick’s funeral. Even though she couldn’t possibly have said who was there and who wasn’t, the presence of every individual was a comfort to her. The least she could do was offer the same to Lucille’s husband.
After everyone had left, Maddy rose to her feet and slipped out of the pew. She could still go to the burial and reception afterward. The invitation had been extended to everyone at the end of the service. But those events felt like they were for close friends and family, and Maddy didn’t qualify for either role. No, it was probably best if she dragged her butt back to work. After all, it wasn’t like she had anyone waiting for her back at her apartment.
Maddy tugged her black wool coat closed and tied the sash, bracing herself for the brisk air that awaited her outside. As she passed, she gave a polite smile and nod to one of the ministers rearranging some pamphlets in the vestibule.
Life went on, it would seem, even for the clergy.
When Maddy pushed open the heavy wooden door, a gust of brisk November wind rushed over her, making her suck in a sharp breath. Why did this city seem cruel and cold at every turn? The stubborn wind had pulled several strands of her curly hair free from her lame attempt at an updo. She pushed her unruly locks from her eyes and started down the stone steps, prepared to go back to her desk and stare at the computer. She had cleared her calendar today, but returning to an empty apartment was simply too depressing an option. At least at the office, she’d have the illusion of not being alone.
Maddy had made up her mind to hail a cab by the time she reached the sidewalk, but when she saw who was waiting for her, she stopped short.
Not much surprised her in Manhattan anymore—she’d seen just about everything in her year living here, including a woman walking a ferret on a leash, a naked homeless guy streaking down Park Avenue, and an old man strolling through Central Park with a squawking parrot on his shoulder.
But she never expected to find this.
Standing beside a lamppost, brimming with confidence and with his K-9 partner by his side, was Ronan McGuire. Dressed in his dark-blue NYPD uniform, he looked every bit the ruggedly handsome hero that he was. His cap obscured her view of his thick ebony hair, but those pale bluish-green eyes peered at her from beneath a furrowed brow. His tall, broad-shouldered frame was covered from head to toe against the bitter air, and the bulletproof vest he wore only served to accentuate his size.
How did Ronan manage to look devastatingly gorgeous in a standard-issue uniform? She’d seen plenty of other cops in this city, but not one of them hummed with masculine sexuality the way Ronan did. He reeked of calm control and steely strength. On the surface, he was cool and steady, but beneath was a distinctly powerful energy. She knew, without a doubt, that he could burst into action in a split second.
The guys brushing past her on Park Avenue, the ones dressed in thousand-dollar suits, didn’t look half as sexy as Ronan did in his uniform.
I bet he looks pretty good out of it too.
Bowser, an enormous bloodhound who seemed to delight in startling Maddy whenever possible, barked loudly. She flinched as Ronan’s constant companion interrupted her naughty train of thought, and her face heated. How long had she been standing there staring at him? Based on the slight smirk curving Ronan’s lips, it was longer than she’d like to admit.
“Hey,” Maddy said, trying to collect herself. She crossed the sidewalk to greet Ronan but kept a healthy distance from the two of them. “What are you doing here? Did you just happen to be in the neighborhood? Because if I’m not mistaken, this isn’t your usual haunting ground.”
“This is most definitely not my neighborhood. Too rich for my blood,” Ronan scoffed. He gathered Bowser’s leash, wrapping it around his hand, before he pushed himself off the post and inched closer. “Our shift starts in a couple of hours. We came to check on you.”
Her gaze flicked briefly to Bowser. He was staring at her as usual. She had never met an animal as tuned in to people as he was. But then, he was a search-and-rescue K-9, so tuning in was part of his job.
“Me?” Maddy stilled. “I’m fine, really,” she said in a shakier voice than she expected.
Even she didn’t believe it. Nope. Not okay.
“Your friend was murdered, and you just attended her funeral.” Ronan leaned in and lowered his voice. “Don’t give me that. There’s not a damn fine thing about this whole crappy situation.”
Something in Maddy’s chest crumbled a little at the tenderness in his voice. How long had it been since someone had expressed concern for her well-being? It felt like forever. Still, she suspected there was more to it than that.
“You’ve seen things like this before,” Maddy whispered. “Does it ever get any easier?”
“No,” he said quietly. Bowser whined and licked Ronan’s hand in a sweet, almost reassuring gesture. “Sucks every time. Nothing easy about it.”
Ronan and Bowser had been part of searches that ended badly. He’d obviously been affected by those experiences, and knowing that he’d remained unjaded by the cruelty of his job somehow made him even more attractive.
Bowser, who was sitting dutifully at Ronan’s feet, let out a low whine and snuffled loudly. Sometimes Maddy was convinced that dog was more human than half the people in this city.
“No…I don’t imagine there would be.” Maddy adjusted the purse slung over her shoulder, trying to squash a fresh swell of emotion. She pulled her leather gloves from her pocket and tugged them on while avoiding Ronan’s inquisitive stare. “I mean, it’s sad. It’s beyond sad, the whole situation is horrible, but—”
“What are you doing now?” he asked abruptly. “Everyone else is gone. Since you’re still here, I’m figuring that you opted not to go on to the burial. And knowing you, that means you’re going back to work.”
Maddy opened her mouth to argue with him but snapped it shut. He’d hit the nail on the head. Ronan’s lopsided grin widened.
“I-I have work to do,” she sputtered.
“Really?” He tilted his head and narrowed those beautiful eyes. They looked more blue today than green.
“Yes, really.”
“Because if I had to guess, I’d say you were gonna go back to that fancy office of yours and stare at your computer or surf the Internet. Maybe play some solitaire or ?”
Why, oh why, does he have to be so damn observant?
Maddy wasn’t sure if it was comforting or irritating to have someone see her so clearly. Maybe it was both? She had started to get used to the anonymity of this city, the sense of disconnection from other people. She’d left Old Brookfield to give herself distance from Rick’s memory and the well-meaning but meddlesome members of her small community.
No one here knew her past, or even cared enough to ask. Her life in Manhattan was strictly business, which made her feel safely cocooned, sheltered from painful memories. She remained insulated from having to dig past surface pleasantries. Ronan wasn’t like that. He was a cop, and his desire to find the truth was evident in everything he did.
“Well, smarty-pants.” Maddy folded her arms over her breasts, suddenly feeling exposed. “For your information, I don’t play Candy Crush.”
“Farm Heroes ?” he asked playfully.
“No,” Maddy said through a bubble of laughter. She swatted him on the arm and tried not to smile while avoiding his gaze. “I don’t do any of that stuff.”
“How about coffee?” He offered his arm and jutted his head toward the corner. “You do that, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Maddy said slowly. She flicked her gaze to his elbow and sighed dramatically. “You aren’t gonna quit until I agree to go, are you?”
“Nope.” His grin widened. “After all these years, you should know how persistent we McGuire boys are. Carolyn and Charles didn’t raise any quitters.”
“I can see that.”
“C’mon, and I won’t even try to pretend it’s a date,” Ronan prodded. He wobbled his elbow at her. “Don’t make me look bad in front of Bowser.”
“Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to be responsible for that,” she said dramatically. “Coffee it is.”
Maddy slipped her arm through his and shivered, the warmth of his body seeping through the layers of wool. Her gut reaction was to snuggle deeper against him and his rock-hard body, but she resisted, straightening her back. She couldn’t afford to dip beneath the surface and touch the raw emotions lingering there. That would get her nowhere, and she refused to be reduced to a weepy woman in the middle of the street. If Ronan noticed her subtle shift away from him, he didn’t comment on it.
They walked in silence, arm in arm, with the bloodhound trotting dutifully at Ronan’s side. They approached a Starbucks, but instead of crossing Fifty-Sixth Street, Ronan led her straight toward one of the street vendors.
“It’ll have to be coffee and a walk.” He jutted a thumb at his partner. “Starbucks isn’t big on having dogs in their establishments. Besides, our squad car is parked around the corner. How about coffee and a ride home?”
“That’s fine by me.” Maddy sucked in a deep breath of cold air. “Sitting in a crowded coffee shop with half the population on their laptops doesn’t sound appealing. But a walk sounds great.”
“I thought you’d say that.” He nudged her gently and smirked. “But don’t worry, I know you’re not a cheap date.”
“It’s not a date. It’s coffee.” Maddy kept her tone light. “We’ve already been through this, McGuire. I’m not dating anyone, so don’t take it personally.”
“Can’t blame a guy for trying.”
They stopped at the truck, and she slipped her arm from his before quickly shoving her hands in the pockets of her coat. The cold air slithered under her clothes with surprising speed as the warmth of his body against hers became a memory. Ronan made quick work of ordering their coffee and, to her surprise, knew exactly how she took it.
“I know it’s not that fancy French stuff you like, but it’ll do in a pinch.”
“Impressive,” Maddy said, taking the steaming cup from his hand. “You nailed it.”
“I pay attention.” Ronan slid a sidelong glance at her while he handed money to the guy in the truck. “We’ve been going for a run followed by coffee almost every week for months. What kind of a cop would I be if I couldn’t even remember how you take your coffee?”
“You love being right, don’t you?” She tilted her chin, daring him to deny it.
“Yes.” Ronan inched closer, cradling his cup in one hand and holding Bowser’s leash in the other. Confident and in total control as always. “But especially when it comes to you.”
She was about to ask him what exactly he meant by that, but Bowser started walking toward the corner. They strolled side by side, but she kept her eyes on the pedestrians ahead of them. If she looked at Ronan, he might get a peek at the conflicting swirl of emotions currently running through her.
“Okay, explain, please.” Maddy shivered again, but not from the cold. “Why do you want to be right when it comes to me?”
“Because you’re this big, bad businesswoman who acts like she’s got it all under control.”
“And I don’t?” She let out a short laugh. “Gee, thanks.”
“That’s not what I said, and definitely not what I meant.”
They stopped at the corner. Maddy was about to cross, but Ronan grabbed her arm, pulling her back just as a car blew through the light. If it hadn’t been for him, she would have gotten hit.
“Shit,” Maddy hissed. “Damn taxi drivers.”
She turned her eyes to his, and his grip on her tightened, almost imperceptibly. Maddy’s heart thundered in her chest. Was it from the near miss with the cab, or the feel of Ronan’s fingers curled around her bicep?
“I like surprising you,” he said quietly. Bowser made a snuffling sound and sat between them, but Ronan didn’t take his eyes off hers. “How am I doing so far?”
“Today?” Maddy asked quietly. “Well, to be honest, you shocked the hell out of me by showing up at the church. Why did you come?”
“Are you serious?” His brows furrowed. “I thought that would be obvious.”
“Not to me.” Maddy shook her head slowly and studied him, clutching the cardboard coffee cup with both hands.
“I figured it would be a tough day for you.” His mouth set in a tight line before he completed the thought she could practically see floating over his head. “Going to the funeral couldn’t have been easy, and I thought you could use a friend. I didn’t think you’d want to be alone.”
“I didn’t,” she whispered. “Thank you.”
The wind blew over them, sending her hair flying into her eyes. It was perfect timing, making the tears that welled up easy enough to explain away. Maddy tugged the strands of hair aside and nodded before turning her attention to the passing cars.
“See, Bowser?” Ronan scratched the bloodhound’s head, which elicited a loud bark from the dog. “Right again.”
Maddy burst out laughing in spite of the surge of emotion and wiped discreetly at her eyes. “No one likes a know-it-all, McGuire.”
“Maybe not,” he said with a wide grin. “But I still surprised you. Come on, the light changed. Let’s cross before another taxi tries to run you over.”
As they made their way to the safety of the other side, Maddy had a feeling that there would be more surprises where Ronan was concerned.
That was the part that frightened her.

 

~~ Other Books in this Series ~~

 

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Goodreads

 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
Barnes & Noble : Books-A-Million : Google Play : iBooks

 

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~Meet Sara Humphreys~

 

Sara Humphreys is the award-winning author of the Amoveo Legend series. The third book in the series, UNTAMED, won two PRISM awards–Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best. The first two novels from her Dead in the City series have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award. Sara was also a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.

 

She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with Mr. H., their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she’s not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook. 

 

For a full list of Sara’s books and reading order, please visit her website.  www.sarahumphreys.com

 

~ Connect with Sara ~
Facebook : Goodreads Author Page : Instagram : Pinterest : Twitter : YouTube : Amazon Author Page

 

 

~~ Giveaway ~~

 

 

Pre-order TROUBLE WALKS IN by 8/2/16 and you can get a FREE ebook of YOUR choice!

 

PLUS you’ll be entered to win the GRAND PRIZE – Signed copies of my entire backlist PLUS signed copies of EVERY book I publish for the rest of my life. YES. A LIFETIME OF SIGNED BOOKS!

 

1. Go pre-order your copy of TROUBLE WALKS IN
2. Enter your info in this GOOGLE DOC to redeem! > http://bit.ly/29MA4UV
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Dracones Revelations 🐲 Release Boost 🐉 Author Sheri-Lynn Marean

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Dracones Revelations by Sheri-Lynn Marean brings you back up to the inner circle of the Dragons lair. Tierney, Jax and Sami are back with Thaniel, of course and a few new faces come together in an EPIC tale of all things supernatural. Get ready for Sami and Hellfire’s Revelations….

Join the fun. Join the passion. Take a ride on the scaled side!

#Dracones #DraconesRevelations #SheriLynnMarean #ReleaseBoost

Dracones Revelations by Sheri-Lynn Marean
Dracones Series; Book 2
232 Pages
Proposed Publish Date: June 21, 2016
Published by: Sheri-Lynn Marean

Blurb:
At the young age of only seven, the Ilyium swept through Samarias’s village in a brutal massacre. Sami, his brother, his best friend, and her father fled their world for Earth, making a new home in Washington State. At nine, Sami’s father arrived and yanked his boys away from the security of their new home. At ten, they returned—broken, and silent.

Now at twenty-one, Sami continues to hide the secrets of the past, pretending everything is fine. But it’s all a lie. With his dragon powers awakening, Sami longs for freedom from the pain and guilt, along with a soul mate of his own.

When Sami recently infiltrated an enemy compound and witnessed the Ilyium send a woman to a fiery death, it hit him hard, but he can no longer pretend anymore.

Everything is not as it seems. After learning the woman is alive, and somehow connected to Sami, his world is turned upside down. Confused, angry, and with his emotions unraveling, Sami loses control. When he is called on to fly to Calgary to rescue someone else in trouble, strange things happen, and now he comes face to face with the demons of his past. Sami has some brutal decisions to make, possibly sacrificing what he desires most in order to do the right thing.

Dracones Revelations is the second book in the Dracones series for readers age 17+.

If you are a fan of dark, steamy paranormal romance, get Sami’s story today and be swept into the world of Dragons, Phoenix shifters, Night and Day Walkers, Magic, sensual heat and the revelations of Sami’s past.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30038347-dracones-revelations

Purchase links:
Amazon
US: https://amzn.com/B01ESK2X1Q
AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01ESK2X1Q
CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01ESK2X1Q
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01ESK2X1Q

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Excerpt:

Who is Samarias?
Sami is a sexy gentle giant. He’s sweet, kind, smart and hides a huge secret. A secret that has been tearing him apart and as the mysterious actions of the last few weeks start to reveal themselves, will Sami be able to survive all he learns?

“Well?” she asked, staring intently into his eyes. Sami saw her Phoenix’s fire blazing deep in her soul and it singed him, making him want more—want her, with every part of himself.
“Ah,” Sami said on a ragged breath as Hellfire pressed against him, trapping his cock between them, and stunning him as she pulled his lips back down to hers. Then her tongue was dancing with his as fire raced through him, out of control.
Hellfire slipped her hands under his shirt, her touch just about bringing him to his knees. Her hands were like brands trailing over his skin, heating everywhere she touched. She was the outdoors mixed with the scent before the storm, and she was driving him wild.
Never had Sami felt anything like it before. He moaned against her mouth, as she teased him with her tongue. Her hands were unbuttoning his jeans when she paused and pulled her lips from his, making Sami want to cry as she broke contact.
Looking down, Sami saw her surprise as she suddenly noticed his knives and handgun holstered on his hips. “How did I not see those earlier?” she asked absently as she studied him.
When he didn’t answer, she shrugged and her lips curled slightly making him groan. Then she unbuckled everything and slid his weapons to the floor, all the while keeping eye contact with him. When she reached for his pants, Sami sucked in a gulp of air. Down his pants went followed by his boxers. Eyes riveted on his erection, Hellfire licked her lips. “Hmm…you’re a big guy, aren’t ya?”
Sami quivered, need like he’d never before felt racing through him. With a grin, Hellfire stepped back and tugged her tight T-shirt off over her head. Having obviously noticed the desire in Sami’s eyes, she stopped and with another slow, seductive lick of her lips, she took her time unfastening her bra. Then she let it dangle in her fingers before dropping it to the floor.
Groaning at the sight of her perfect perky breasts, his cock reacted by bobbing as he struggled for control. It was all he could do to not grab her and pull her against him.
“This is what you want, isn’t it Sami?” she asked huskily as she wiggled her pants down the length of her legs, and stepped out of them. Damn! She wasn’t wearing any panties. Sami could only nod as he gazed hungrily at her.
Then she stepped up and while her breasts teased his chest, she tugged at his shirt until he pulled it off over his head. Pressing against him, the contact of skin against skin seared him, making him cry out for more as power hummed between them. Hellfire tugged his head down, meeting his lips with hers. Her tongue delved back into his mouth as if she couldn’t get enough of him. Sami’s hands found themselves on her back, touching her smooth skin. Pleasant shocks of electricity zinged through him while his cock throbbed between them.
“Tell me,” she murmured, her tongue teasing his, making him moan.
“Y-yeah…I want…you…” he barely managed. She was intoxicating and he wanted all of her.

****What others are saying…****
I was gifted my copy by this wonderful author.
Loving this series!! Characters are well written and very likable. If you like Dragon shifts, you will absolutely love this series. I highly recommend it! Hold on tight and enjoy the ride that is Dracones revelations. ~ Holly – Goodreads Reviewer

I cannot, for the life of me, see where these three are going, I really can’t and it’s driving me nuts! Neither can I see the bigger picture. I can’t see where Val Jean fits in, where Thaniel fits, where the new characters introduced here fit either. And that’s worse than these three!
BUT!!! This is NOT a bad thing, not at all. This is a GOOD thing. Because I’m not sure if I’ve missed it, or it hasn’t been totally laid out for me yet. I really don’t care. It’s keeping me on my toes, and it’s keeping me totally engaged with this series. ~ Debbie – Goodreads Reviewer

****Other works from Sheri-Lynn Marean****

Dracones Awakening by Sheri-Lynn Marean
Dracones Series; Book 1
327 Pages
Published: March 8, 2016
Published by: Sheri-Lynn Marean

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28799668-dracones-awakening

Purchase Links:
Amazon
US: https://amzn.com/B01B5BJLZC
AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01B5BJLZC
CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01B5BJLZC
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01B5BJLZC
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1Lfw3qJ
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/dracones-awakening

 

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~Meet Sheri-Lynn Marean~

Sheri-Lynn Marean, Author of Dracones Awakening, the first book in the Dracones series, resides in western Canada with her husband, three kids, one dog, one cat, and two fish. Sheri did not grow up thinking she would one day be an author. Instead, she grew up riding and working with racehorses, drawing and selling her animal artwork, and of course reading.

Sheri fell in love with reading at age twelve when she read The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. She has not stopped reading. With a wide variety of reading interests, Sheri’s passion presently is the paranormal romance genre.

One day, after reading an unsatisfying book, she decided she would write her own book, with her own characters, doing what she wanted them to do. She began to type and the characters came to life in her head. She has never looked back.

Website: http://www.sheri-lynnmarean.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SheriLynnMareanAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SheriLynnMarean
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14926752.Sheri_Lynn_Marean

 

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