Thursday, October 12, 2017

Audiobook Review: Easy Nights by Kristen Proby



Easy Nights 
(Boudreaux Series, Bk #6)
by Kristen Proby 
Narrated by Rachel Fulginiti and Zachary Webber

Blurb: 

No one said change was easy…

Savannah Boudreaux knows what it is to hurt. To bleed. To be afraid that the man she’s promised to be true to until “death do us part” might in fact separate them far sooner than anyone had ever anticipated. But Van also knows what it is to survive. To move on. To live life to the fullest. With five brothers and sisters and a loving mother as her constant source of strength during the pain and the healing, Van realizes there is little else she needs.

But some things never change…

Benjamin Preston sat on the sidelines of the Boudreaux family for years, in love with a woman he couldn’t have. As the best friend of the Boudreaux brothers since childhood, Ben has seen both tragedies and joys in the family. And as a former MMA fighter and Krav Maga expert, Ben’s used to fighting for what he wants—and winning. His hands were tied when Savannah married her high school sweetheart not long after graduation, but now two years have passed since Ben found Savannah broken in her own home.

Sometimes what you need most has been right in front of you the whole time…

Van’s convinced that happiness isn’t in the cards for her, no matter how right it feels to be in Ben’s strong arms—and his bed. Ben is determined to win her heart and fight for her trust. He’s promised to protect her, to be her friend. But more than anything, he wants to finally make her his, and this is one fight he’s not willing to lose.



Available for purchase at 



Viviana's Review: 
Readers of this series have been eagerly awaiting for Ben's and Val's HEA. We knew it would happen, we wanted to know how it would all play out. Ben has always been awesome! We loved his friendship to the Boudreaux brothers and his loyalty to the whole family. We also loved his tenderness and protective nature towards Van. He loved her from afar. I knew he would be patient with her once they got together and thought her trust issues (due to her past history) would be the conflict in the story. Nope. They fell step in step with each other once they finally got together. Which, honestly, I had a bit of an issue with. Based on her history and everything she went through, regardless of the fact that she KNEW Ben is totally different and would never hurt her, she should have had some issues... but nope.

The conflict came from a twist we weren't expecting or saw coming. Kristen seemed to try to add some suspense to the story and there were moments where it seemed to far fetch and others where it was just off. Fore example, the reason why she stayed in the abusive relationship for as long as she did. Considering who her family is and how they are with each other, it wasn't believable. This really knocked my love for the story. 


Narrator Review: 
I love Zachary Webber. He is a great narrator and has the ability to bring a vulnerability to the male characters, yet still be totally sexy and alpha. Which totally works for this book! Rachel has narrated the entire series and continues with her excellent performance.


Overall, it was a good read/listen. I wish there would have been more... what exactly, I can't seem to pin point it. Perhaps it was all the anticipation for the story and it not living up to it that is more disappointing. I still really liked it but not as much as I had hoped.




Rating: 3.5 Stars - I REALLY LIKED IT!





Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Spotlight & Giveaway: Hot Pursuit by Julie Ann Walker


Hot Pursuit 
(Black Knights Inc. Book 11) 
Julie Ann Walker

Blurb

Welcome to Black Knights Inc.
What appears to be a tricked-out motorcycle shop on the South Side of Chicago is actually headquarters for the world's most elite covert operatives. Deadly, dangerous, and determined, they'll steal your breath and your heart.

Fighting for his life is pretty much standard operating procedure for Christian Watson, former SAS Officer. Doing it with bossy, beautiful BKI office manager Emily Scott in tow is another matter entirely.


Available for purchase at 



Excerpt

What was he doing?
What the bloody hell was he doing?
Emily didn’t realize it, but all her acts of caring, her selfless moments of kindness—from waking him from his nightmare to pulling him into the cab of the pickup truck—had torn open his chest, ripped out his heart, and served it up on a platter.
Then, when she had stepped in front of him, ready to take a bullet that was bloody well meant for him, he had stopped pretending that what he felt for her was lust mixed with a heavy dose of vexation. Stopped pretending that he wasn’t completely arse over teakettle about everything she did, everything she said. Each smile. Each laugh. Each witty quip.
In that moment, he had known. Heart. On. A. Platter.
All she had to do was take it.
Unfortunately, he was the one taking.
Taking a kiss she hadn’t granted. Taking a taste she didn’t return. Taking advantage of a beastly situation.
Had he lost his mind? Had he forgotten the unwritten rule? The one that was bold, underlined, and all in caps?
Not to mention, he’d lost control of himself, of the moment. He blamed it on the memory of Emily in that bastard’s grip. The sight of her there—a pistol to her head, her eyes wide with fear, but her jaw gritted tight because she refused to give in to it—was forever tattooed onto the backs of his eyelids. He knew he’d see it when he closed his eyes at night.
It took effort, but he ripped his mouth away from Emily’s and dropped his hands. Curling his fingers into fists, he locked his jaw until his molars begged for mercy.
“Whaaa?” She blinked up at him through the rain in confusion.
“Sorry.” He ground out. The word was guttural. Hard. “I shouldn’t have…” He shook his head, water flying from the ends of his hair. “Just…sorry, okay?”
Her mouth opened in a bewildered little O. That mouth that tasted like mint toothpaste with a lingering hint of buttered toast. His favorite flavor used to be Welsh cakes, but now it was Emily. Emily and her mint toothpaste with lingering hints of buttered toast.
“That won’t happen again,” he assured her before grabbing her hand and towing her toward the others.
He had thought for sure the man in the black pants and the white shirt was dead. Ben’s shot looked as if it had drilled the bloke directly in the heart. Which meant Christian felt like a total prat for stopping to ask Emily why she had stepped in front of him—for stopping to kiss her—when they arrived in time to hear the decidedly alive man whisper his name. “Philippe Dubois.”
“You’re Boss’s friend,” Ace said, applying pressure to Philippe’s wound. “You’re the former Armée de L’Air commandant.”
Oui. C’est moi,” Philippe managed, water dripping from his chin and earlobes. He wasn’t wheezing. That was good. Meant the bullet hadn’t collapsed his lung.
“Don’t try to talk, Philippe,” Ace told him. “Rusty, call airport security.”
Christian was already pulling his mobile from his soaking hip pocket. The rain had let up. No longer a deluge, it was now more of a steady drip. “We don’t need security. We need an ambulance. This man needs to go to hospital.”
He dialed 999 without hesitation and waited for his call to connect. Dropping his free hand back to his side, he was startled when Emily grabbed it, threading her fingers through his. They felt dainty, delicate. And freezing wet. He desperately wanted to kiss them warmer, kiss them dry.
Glancing at her, he blinked the water from his lashes but couldn’t stop the questions in his eyes. So you forgive me? For taking without asking? For kissing you when you’ve given me no indication you were interested?
Before she could answer, an operator’s voice sounded in his ear, all efficient and bored. After explaining the nature of Philippe’s wound and what had happened in the vaguest of terms, he gave the operator their location. When she asked for his name, he growled, “That’s not what’s bloody important. What’s bloody important is a man’s been shot and needs help. Hurry!” He abruptly hung up. “Help is on the way,” he announced.
Philippe’s white shirt was soaked with blood despite the pressure Ace applied.
“Damnit,” Christian growled, looking around for something to stanch the bleeding. Nothing else for it, he decided, dropping Emily’s hand—he really, truly hated doing that—and shrugging out of his coat. Next came his sweater. He tossed both pieces of clothing to her.

His white cotton undershirt was wet and sticking to his skin, but it would have to do.



About the Author



Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Bookseller's Best Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. Her books have been described as "alpha, edgy, and downright hot." Most days you can find Julie on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

You can find Julie at
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram |
Amazon | Audible | Tantor







Giveaway

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Excerpt and Giveaway: One Summer Night by Caridad Pineiro


One Summer Night
(At the Shore Series, Book 1)
by Caridad Pineiro

Blurb
An offer that’s impossible to accept…

Maggie Sinclair has tried everything to save her family’s business, including mortgaging their beloved beach house on the Jersey shore. But now, she’s out of options.

The Sinclair and Pierce families have been neighbors and enemies for almost thirty years. That hasn’t stopped Owen Pierce from crushing on Maggie, and he’s determined to invest in her success. Now he has to convince her that he’s more than just trouble with a capital T…

Available to purchase at 



Excerpt

Sea Kiss, New Jersey

Tracy Parker was in love with being in love.
That worried her best friend and maid of honor, Maggie Sinclair, more than she cared to admit.
In the middle of the temporary dance floor, Tracy waltzed with her new husband in a satin-and-lace designer gown, gleaming with seed pearls and twinkling sequins. But the sparkle dimmed in comparison to the dreamy glow in Tracy’s eyes.
The sounds of wedding music competed with the gentle rustle of seagrass in the dunes and the crash of the waves down on the beach. The fragrance from centerpiece flowers and bouquets battled with the kiss of fresh sea air.
Connie and Emma, Tracy’s two other best friends and members of the bridal party, were standing beside Maggie on the edge of the dance floor that had been set up on the great lawn of Maggie’s family’s beachfront mansion on the Jersey Shore. Huddled together, Maggie and her friends watched the happy couple do a final whirl.
“She’s got it so bad,” Maggie said, eyeing Connie and Emma with concern past the rim of her rapidly dis- appearing glass of champagne.
“Do you think that this time he really is The One?” Connie asked.
“Doubt it,” Emma replied without hesitation.
As the DJ requested that other couples join the happy newlyweds, Maggie and her friends returned to the bridal party dais set out on the patio. Grabbing another glass of champagne, Maggie craned her neck around the gigantic centerpiece piled with an almost obscene mound of white roses, ice-blue hydrangea, lisianthus, sheer tulle, and twinkling fairy lights and examined the assorted guests mingling around the great lawn and down by the boardwalk leading to the beach.
She recognized Tracy’s family from their various meetings over the years, as well as some of Tracy’s sorority sisters, like Toni Van Houten, who in the six years since graduation had managed to pop out a trio of boys who now circled her like sharks around a swim- mer. Although the wedding invite had indicated No Children, Toni had done as she pleased. Since Tracy had not wanted a scene at her dream beachfront wed- ding, Emma, who was doing double duty as the wedding planner for the event, had scrambled to find space for the children at the dinner tables.
“Is that Toni ‘I’ll never ruin my body with babies’ Toni?” Connie asked, a perplexed look on her features. At Maggie’s nod, Connie’s eyes widened in surprise, and she said, “She looks…happy.”
A cynical laugh erupted from Emma. “She looks crazed.”
Maggie couldn’t argue with either of their assessments. But as put-upon as their old acquaintance seemed, the indulgent smile she gave her youngest child was positively radiant.
Maggie skipped her gaze across the gathering to take note of all the other married folk. It was easy enough to pick them out from her vantage point on the dais, where she and her friends sat on display like days’ old cakes in the bakery. They were the last three unmarried women in an extended circle of business and college acquaintances.
“How many times do you suppose we’ve been bridesmaids now?” Maggie wondered aloud. She finished off her glass and motioned for the waiter to bring another.
“Jointly or severally?” asked Connie, ever the lawyer. “Way too many,” replied Emma, who, for a wedding planner, was the most ardent disbeliever in the possibility of happily ever afters.
Maggie hadn’t given marriage a first thought, much less a second, in a very long time. She’d had too many things going on in her life. Not that there hadn’t been a few memorable moments, most of which revolved around the absolutely worst man for her: Owen Pierce.
But for years now, she’d been dealing with her family’s business and its money problems, which had spilled over into her personal finances. As she gazed at the beauty of the manicured grounds and then back toward her family’s summer home, it occurred to her that this might be the last time she hosted a celebration like this here. She had mortgaged the property that she had inherited to funnel money into the family’s struggling retail store division.
Unfortunately, thanks to her father’s stubborn refusal to make changes to help the business, she spent way too much time at work, which left little time for romance. Not to mention that none of her casual dates had piqued her interest in that direction. Looking down from her perch, however, and seeing the happiness on so many faces suddenly had her reconsidering the merits of married life.
“Always a bridesmaid and never a bride,” she muttered, surprising herself with the hint of wistfulness in her tone.
“That’s because the three of us are all too busy working to search for Prince Charming,” Connie said, her defense as swift and impassioned as if she were arguing a case in court.
“Who even believes in that fairy-tale crap?” Emma’s gaze grew distracted, and she rose from her chair. “Excuse me for a moment. Carlo needs to see me about something.”
Emma rushed off to the side of the dance floor, where her caterer extraordinaire, Carlo Teixeira, raked a hand through his thick, brown hair in clear frustration. He wore a pristine white chef’s jacket and pants that enhanced his dark good looks.
Emma laid a hand on Carlo’s forearm and leaned close to speak to him, apparently trying to resolve a problem.
“She doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but her Prince Charming is standing right in front of her,” Connie said with a sad shake of her head.
Maggie took another sip of her champagne and viewed the interaction between Carlo and Emma. Definitely major sparkage going on, she thought.
“You’re totally right,” she said with an assertive nod. Connie smiled like the proverbial cat, her exotic green-gold eyes gleaming with mischief. “That’s why you hired me to represent your company as soon as I finished law school. Nothing gets past me.”
“Really? So what else do you think you’ve seen tonight?”
Raising her glass, her friend gestured toward the right of the mansion’s great lawn, where some of the frater- nity brothers from their alma mater had gathered. One of the men slowly turned to sneak a peek at them.
“Owen has been watching you all night long,” Connie said with a shrewd smile.
“Totally impossible, and you of all people should know it. Owen Pierce has absolutely no interest in me.” She set her glass on the table to hide the nervous tremble of her hand as her gaze connected with his for the briefest of moments. Even that fleeting link was enough to raise her core temperature a few degrees. But what woman wouldn’t respond like that?
In his designer tuxedo, Owen was the epitome of male perfection—raven-black hair, a sexy gleam in his charcoal-gray eyes, broad shoulders, and not an ounce of fat on him, which made her recall seeing him in much, much less on a hot summer night on Sea Kiss Beach. She had been staying in the quaint seaside town on the Jersey Shore with her grandmother that summer, much as she had all her life. As they also had for so many years, the Pierce boys had been residing next door for the entire season.
The two beachfront mansions had been built side by side decades earlier, before the start of the Pierce and Sinclair rift. The cost of waterfront real estate had esca- lated so drastically since their construction that neither family was willing to sell their beloved home to put some distance between the warring clans.
Well, make that the warring fathers, because as far as Maggie was concerned, she had no beef with Owen.



At the Shore series:
One Summer Night (Book 1)
What Happens in Summer (Book 2)

Praise for Caridad Pineiro:
"A love story like nothing you've read before! This premise is utterly unique, and so original and brilliant that I wish I'd thought of it first." —New York Times Bestseller Maggie Shayne
“Pineiro is definitely an author to watch." —Fresh Fiction 





About The Author

NY Times and USA Today Bestseller Caridad Pineiro is a Jersey Girl who just wants to write, travel, and spend more time with family and friends. Caridad is the author of nearly 50 novels/novellas and loves romance novels, super heroes, TV and cooking. Caridad writes dark and sexy romantic suspense and paranormal romances for those who live to love on the edge. Her sweet, but still naughty side, Charity Pineiro, writes contemporary romances packed with emotion and humor. For more information on Caridad/Charity, please visit www.caridad.com 

You can also find Caridad




Giveaway


Monday, October 9, 2017

Cover Reveal Blitz: The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

   


THE REAL DEAL is coming July 10, 2018! 
A sexy, witty, and heartfelt brand new standalone romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely, THE REAL DEAL is sure to make you swoon, laugh, and squirm at all the right moments. Pre-order your copy today! And don’t miss the new cover below!

   

THE REAL DEAL
by Lauren Blakely

Sophie Kinsella meets Jennifer Crusie in your next favorite romantic comedy,
THE REAL DEAL!

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family's summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau -- the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?
 

PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon Paperback iBooks Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play BAM Indiebound

Goodreads


About The Author


A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 80 times, and she's sold more than 2 million books. In June she'll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! 

   

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Audiobook Review: Shade's Lady by Joanna Wylde

Shade's Lady (Reapers MC #6.5)
by Joanna Wylde
Narrated by Tatiana Sokolov and Sean Crisden 

Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde returns to the world of the Reapers Motorcycle Club…

Looking back, none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t dropped my phone in the toilet. I mean, I could’ve walked away from him if I’d had it with me.

Or maybe not.

Maybe it was all over the first time he saw me, and he would’ve found another way. Probably—if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Shade always gets what he wants, and apparently he wanted me.

Right from the first.

Shade's Lady is a stand-alone story. There is no need to have listened to any prior Reapers MC stories to enjoy Shade's Lady.


Available for purchase at 



Viviana's Review: 
Sooooo, I had read their ending (the epilogue) before I read their beginning. I really enjoyed it though there was one part that was cute but I didn't quit understand why they didn't do "breakfast" and now.... Awwwwww!

Okay "Shade's Lady" can totally be read as a stand-alone. It was nice to get to know Shade as we have heard of him in some of the previous books and as the National President of the Reapers, there is a great level of respect for the man and yeah.... as a biker, a touch man who you don't want to mess with. Getting to know a different side of him was nice. Don't get me wrong, he's a total alpha and takes his responsibility to his club and his men completely seriously.

Mandy, the heroine, is strong and independent and can totally hold her own against Shade's alpha male tendencies. She's moved in with her sister to her out with her kids. Though Mandy hasn't been lucky in love or in life, she is hopeful and knows there is more out there for her.

While I'm usually a bit nervous when it comes to reading novellas as you never know how things will turn out in such short length. However, Joanna did a fabulous job of providing us with a full story with well developed characters!


Narrators: 
I've listened to both narrators Tatiana Sokolov and Sean Crisden and love their work! They both do a fantastic job of providing each character with their own tones and voices. Bonus that they both do an awesome job with the opposite sex voices. 


Overall, this was a great read and has a little bit of everything from the sexy bikers, characters that are likable, steamy scenes and it will leave you wanting more. 



Rating: 3.5 Stars - I REALLY LIKED IT!





Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Branded Trilogy by Kat Flannery


Three stories in one great box set!


BLURB:

In a time where race and difference are a threat and innocence holds no ground…
Will courage, honor and love be enough?

“Engrossing, enchanting and suspenseful!”

“The blend of historical background and emotional, paranormal-tinged romance is beautifully executed and delicately wrought throughout.”



Available to purchase at 






LAKOTA HONOR, BOOK 1

Can the innocence and love of a girl turn a killer into an honest man?

"Loved this book! Can't wait to read the rest of the series!"

"LAKOTA HONOR takes readers on a heart-wrenching journey following the lives of a tenacious young woman and a dangerous tortured man."

Kat gracefully weaves the complexities of a flawed 1800s community with the simplicity of two people searching for truth and redemption."



Excerpt 

PROLOGUE



Colorado Mountains, 1880


The blade slicing his throat made no sound, but the dead body hitting the ground did. With no time to stop, he hurried through the dark tunnel until he reached the ladder leading out of the shaft.
 He’d been two hundred feet below ground for ten days, with no food and little water. Weak and woozy, he stared up the ladder. He’d have to climb it and it wasn’t going to be easy. He wiped the bloody blade on his torn pants and placed it between his teeth. Scraped knuckles and unwashed hands gripped the wooden rung.
The earth swayed. He closed his eyes and forced the spinning in his head to cease. One thin bronzed leg lifted and came down wobbly. He waited until his leg stopped shaking before he climbed another rung. Each step caused pain, but was paired with determination. He made it to the top faster than he’d thought he would. The sky was black and the air was cool, but fresh. Thank goodness it was fresh.
 He took two long breaths before he emerged from the hole. The smell from below ground still lingered in his nostrils; unwashed bodies, feces and mangy rats. His stomach pitched. He tugged at the rope around his hands. There had been no time to chew the thick bands around his wrists when he’d planned his escape. It was better to run than crawl, and he chewed through the strips that bound his feet instead. There would be time to free his wrists later.
He pressed his body against the mountain and inched toward the shack. He frowned. A guard stood at the entrance to where they were. The blade from the knife pinched his lip, cutting the thin skin and he tasted blood. He needed to get in there. He needed to say goodbye. He needed to make a promise.
 The tower bell rang mercilessly. There was no time left. He pushed away from the rocky wall, dropped the knife from his mouth into his bound hands, aimed and threw it. The dagger dug into the man’s chest. He ran over, pulled the blade from the guard and quickly slid it across his throat. The guard bled out in seconds.
He tapped the barred window on the north side of the dilapidated shack. The time seemed to stretch. He glanced at the large house not fifty yards from where he stood. He would come back, and he would kill the bastard inside.
He tapped again, harder this time, and heard the weak steps of those like him shuffling from inside. The window slid open, and a small hand slipped out.
“Toksha ake—I shall see you again,” he whispered in Lakota.
The hand squeezed his once, twice and on the third time held tight before it let go and disappeared inside the room.
A tear slipped from his dark eyes, and his hand, still on the window sill, balled into a fist. He swallowed past the sob and felt the burn in his throat. His chest ached for what he was leaving behind. He would survive, and he would return.
Men shouted to his right, and he crouched down low. He took one last look around and fled into the cover of the forest.




BLOOD CURSE, BOOK 2

“Captivating characters, stunning plot twists, and tense action scenes make BLOOD CURSE impossible to put down!”

"A richly-woven tale of early America and gypsy lore."

"Tragedy and unwavering perseverance fill this wonderful tale to a surprise ending."



Excerpt 


“Upon mine death for the blood ye have shed,
every daughter born to ye shall die before it draws breath, to which ye will know pain and worse, I cast unto ye mine blood curse.”  ~ Vadoma


PROLOGUE


The moon hurled shades of green and grey across the starless black sky. Waves rolled up onto the docks rocking the boats tied there. The water pooled around his booted feet as he walked briskly along the wooden boards. The air reeked of fish and sea, and he tucked his chin into the raggedy coat inhaling the stale garment. One hand in the pocket fingered a piece of rope while the other pulled open the door to The Cat House, a brothel on the docks.
Men of all kinds sat at the tables. Smoke, laughter and mugs clinked together. He ignored them all to take a seat at the table in the corner.
“Can you guarantee this to be done?”
“Of course.”
“You must kill him and bring the child to me.”
“Consider it done.”
He shook his head. “You must make sure he no longer breathes.”
“Indeed.”
“Do not be fooled. He is tough and knows his way around a sword.”
“I am not concerned.”
He nodded and slid a brown package tied with twine across the table to the broad-shouldered man on the other side.
Long slender fingers reached out and picked up the package.
“A name?”
“Kade Walker.”
  
CHAPTER ONE

Appalachian Mountains, Virginia 1723

Pril Peddler lifted the green shawl from her trunk and wrapped it around her bare arms. The change in seasons brought a damp chill to the morning air, and the heavy woolen wrap kept her warm. She peeked at the small face huddled under the blankets at the back of the wagon. The charm above the child swayed on the string Pril had hung it from. A dull ache hummed in her chest when she thought of the horrific loss her clan had been dealt.
The evil was near, and she’d need to work another spell to keep them safe. Late for counsel with her brother, Galius, she kissed the soft cheek of her daughter before heading to the door.
Hand up, she shaded her eyes from the bright sun as she stepped from the back of the vardo. She pulled the heavy burlap curtain down to close the opening and walked toward Galius.
“Your steps are light this morning, Sister. One would think you did not want to be heard,” Galius said as he stirred the coffee beans inside the metal pot.
Tension twisted her gut. He was right; she did not want this counsel. She did not know what to say. She let the flicker of merriment in her brother’s eyes wash over her relaxing the muscles in her shoulders.
“My step is the same.” She poked him with her finger trying to ease her own nerves and his as well.
His lips lifted as if to smile, and she held her breath. It’d been weeks since he smiled. Pril’s heart ached, and her lips trembled.
He held up the bubbling pot. “Would you like a cup?”
        She inhaled the aroma of strong coffee beans and nodded taking a seat on a wooden stump by the fire.
He handed her a cup and sat down across from her.
The wood crackled, and sparks jumped from the heat onto the ground in front of her. She tipped her chin concentrating on what to say next. Ever since the murder of her niece, she’d not been able to hold a conversation with either of her brothers without offering apologies. This morning was no different. She could not look Galius in the eyes and see the anguish and sorrow within them.
The Monroes had come again.
They’d never be safe.
She blinked away the tears hovering against her thick lashes. Tsura was asleep in her wagon, while another was lost to them forever. The door of her brother’s wagon creaked open and Milosh’s wife, Magda, stepped out. Black circles settled around her sunken eyes, and Pril felt the stab in her chest once more. Long brown hair fell untied down the woman’s back. The black clothes she’d put on weeks ago hung on her body unchanged and wrinkled from sleep. Milosh came from behind their wagon, a jar of honey in his hand. Pril stood when Galius’ large hand grabbed her wrist.
“They are not wanting to see you today, Sister.”
She heard the regret in his voice, swallowed past the guilt in her own throat and nodded. Milosh hadn’t spoken a single word to her since the death of his child. He blamed her, and it was clear so did Magda.
“I…I’m so sorry, Galius.”
He didn’t reply right away, and without seeing it, she knew he had wiped the tears from his eyes. “Alexandra’s death is not your fault.”
The words were spoken because they needed to be. Gypsies stayed together no matter what. They were family. There was no truth to his words, and Pril knew it.
“Are you going after them?” she asked.
“I hold no power, no spells flow from my lips. I am strong, yes, but they are stronger.” He stared at her, his eyes pleading. “We need the pendant.”
Guilt thickened her tongue; the gritty residue clung to her lips and tasted bitter.
The talisman had been in their family for generations, blessed by each new Chuvani. Vadoma had promised her the pendant before she died, but Pril never saw it, and there had been no time to search for the jewel when they fled. 
“Without the pendant we cannot break the curse. We cannot protect our people.”
She knew this. They all knew this, but no one had a clue as to where the talisman was. She’d tried to call an image forward, to make a finding spell, but nothing worked.
“We have lost one of our own. Our clan is frightened. They have lost faith. We cannot fight the Monroes. We have neither the numbers nor the skill.” He took a long drink of his coffee. “And neither do you.”
She glanced at him.
“I know you, Sister. You’re planning to take Tsura.”
Pril sighed. She did not know what else to do. The Monroes were coming for her child. Alexandra had died because of that. Milosh and Magda hated her.
“Running is not going to change anything.”
“It will save lives. It will…help Milosh and Magda to heal.”
“No, it will not. Running will get you and Tsura killed and that is all.”
“How can you look at me when you know what I’ve brought to our family, when you know that this is all because of me?”
Galius blew out a long breath that moved his thick beard from his lips. She watched through tear filled eyes as his bottom lip quivered.
“Vadoma put this burden on you. For that, we do not judge.”
Their sister had died a vile death. She’d betrayed their clan and had hung while being burned. Pril ached for her sister’s guidance and counsel. She yearned to know that what she was doing was right.
“We had a plan, and up until Alexandra’s death it worked. We will rethink and come up with something better—stronger.”
The plan was simple. Dress the girls as boys, and the Monroes wouldn’t find them. But someone had figured out Alexandra was a girl. Someone had told the Monroes. They came for her, stealing the precious child in the middle of the night. The morning two weeks before, as the clan frantically searched for her, a harrowing scream Pril would never forget echoed across the land. Milosh found his daughter’s body by the river, her neck broken. 
She raised a shaky hand to her mouth so she wouldn’t let out the sob she held against her lips.
“I have enough for one more protection spell.” She lied; her forehead ached because of it.
He glanced at her, his eyes showing no emotion. “You will concoct another.”
“I cannot.”
He frowned.
“The spell has the oil Vadoma blessed. Without it, Tsura is at the mercy of the Monroes and so are we.”
Galius pumped his large hands into tight fists. “Surly you can think of another?”
“I cannot. Vadoma placed the blood curse. It is only with the blessed oil that I am able to create the spell to keep danger away. The oil is almost gone.”
He worked his jaw. “That gypsy whore—
 She held up her hand to stop him from blaspheming their sister. It wasn’t right. It brought evil to curse your own, and Pril would have none of it.
“Our sister had her reasons. Leave it be.”
“Reasons? She betrayed us. Left us with a curse we cannot break and wealthy plantation owners hunting our very hides—killing our children!”
She hung her head unable to look at him. What could she say? He was right. Her very niece had died but thirteen days ago.
“Where is the book?”
Throat tight and dry, she refused to meet his gaze. The book held her mother’s spells. Only she knew where it was, and unlike the pendant, she’d not lose it.
“I have it safely tucked away.”
“Is there no spell for what we need?”
“The child is not of my blood. I cannot protect her or the others like she can.”
Tsura was Vadoma’s child, but Pril raised the girl as her own.
“And she is gone.”
“Has been nigh on four years.”
Galius’ face softened. He placed his hand on her shoulder. “I need to speak with Milosh. We may have to move again, once he’s healed.” He gave her a light squeeze and walked away.
Pril watched through hooded lids as Galius moved toward Milosh. The two shook hands and embraced. She longed to be enfolded in Milosh’s arms, forgiven of all her transgressions.
She wiped at the tear on her cheek. He’d not consider it, for he despised her. Magda placed her head on her husband’s shoulder. Their love was strong, and she prayed it would get them through their grief.
She brought the cup to her lips and sipped the now cold coffee. Memories of a time when life was simpler brushed her mind. There were no worries. No threat of the Monroes hanging over them. They were free. Now, they never stayed in one town longer than a month. The Peddlers wandered the land, searching for a safe haven where they could raise their children.
The rustle from the other wagons brought her head up, and she watched as the rest of the clan rose for the day. Sisters Sabella and Sorina exited their vardo and smiled at her from across the yard. The two girls joined them a few years ago when the Monroes had attacked their family, burning the wagons and killing most of them. Both unwed and beautiful, they were very good at creating new balms and potions to sell at the markets. Sorina enjoyed living with the clan, and she loved to visit with the others, while Sabella never spoke and preferred to remain alone.
She lifted her hand and waved. She liked the sisters and had shared dinner with them many times.
Her brothers knew the truth about Pril’s child, and had made a pact to never speak a word of it to anyone. She, on the other hand, was finding it difficult not to tell the others. Each time they hid the children, packed in the middle of the night, or took turns guarding the camp she felt the stab of guilt twist in her heart.
“Mama?”
Pril turned, mug still in hand, and gazed at her daughter. Black corkscrew curls fell around her plump cheeks and clung to her pink lips. She wondered what her hair would look like grown out, and knew if the Monroes did not stop their relentless hunt, she’d never see the day.
There were days when Pril herself forgot, only ever seeing her child in long pants, cotton shirt and a cap. But in the evenings when the moon was bright, she cherished the mother-and-daughter moments they had in their wagon. Pril told her daughter made up fairytales of Kings and Queens. She’d allow Tsura to play with her dolls and try on the lovely dresses Pril had secretly made for her.
She held out her hand, and watched as Tsura ran to her. At four she didn’t understand how to use her gifts, which sometimes resulted in accidents. But it wasn’t the mishaps that had her worried. It was the mixture of good and evil within the girl that she feared.
“Oh, my sweet. What has you up and out of the vardo already?”
Tsura’s green eyes locked with hers. “I had a bad dream.”
Pril straightened. Dreams were the way her people saw future, or past. Tsura had them often. She took the girl’s hand and led her back to their wagon. She smiled at those they passed on the way. Her shoulders straight, she remained the same not to draw anyone near. Once inside the wagon, she closed the flap, and waited a few minutes before she sat on the bed beside her daughter.
“What did you see?” she asked.
“Blood, Mama. Lots of blood.”
She squeezed the blanket on the bed to stop her hands from shaking. “Whose blood?”
The child shook her head, black curls bounced up and down. “I do not know.”
Pril pulled her daughter close and kissed the top of her head. Tsura went very still, and her tiny body grew hot. She sat back and gently placed Tsura away from her. Past lessons had taught her well.
“Sweetheart, are you okay?”
Beads of sweat formed at Tsura’s hairline to drip down her forehead and cheeks.
She was careful not to touch her and placed a hand beside her daughter’s instead. The heat from the girl’s flesh warmed her hand, and the wagon grew hot.
“Tsura, look at mama.”
Green eyes that showed a red rim around the color stared up at her, and Pril wished she could do more to help her child. When Tsura got like this, Pril knew she couldn’t control what her body was doing. She wanted nothing more than to help her daughter learn how to use her gifts, but with Vadoma gone she would have to learn alongside Tsura.
“Mama?”
She smiled watching as the redness left Tsura’s cheeks, and she reached out to sweep back the wet curls hanging in the girl’s eyes.
“I’m sorry.” Tsura hung her head.
She pulled the girl into a tight hug, her body still hot, but Pril didn’t care. “You are learning,” she said.
She felt the nod against her chest and squeezed her tighter. Thankful once more that she was safe. “What were your thoughts?”
“I was angry.”
“How come?”
Green eyes peered through black lashes. “Because Alexandra’s gone.”
She ran her finger along her daughter’s round cheek. She pushed aside the guilt pressing against her soul. “We are all very sad.”
“I’ve seen the man who stole her.”
Pril waited until her heart resumed its normal pace and asked, “You saw him?”
She nodded.
“What did he look like?”
“He was a negro.”
That was odd. The Monroes always sent a well-dressed aristocrat to do their dirty work. Were they enlisting the help of their plantation workers now? That would explain why none of the Peddlers spotted the well-dressed killer. The Monroes had sent a slave.
“But, mama?”
“Yes, dearest?”
“The man did not kill her. He tried, but he could not do it.”
“How did Alexandra die?”
“I do not know.”
Pril pulled her close. If Alexandra hadn’t been killed by the slave, then who had taken her life?
“And mama?” Tsura whispered. “They killed him.”

Pril ran her palms down the front of her skirt as uneasiness settled deep in her stomach and turned the soup she’d eaten for dinner. The Monroes were near once more. She’d not done the protection spell over them all, the one she’d said countless times before to protect Tsura and the others from harm. She used the oil on Tsura, thinking she’d concoct a different spell for the others—but she’d forgotten, and now Alexandra was gone.
She hung her head. How could I have been so foolish? I am the reason my niece lies within the cold ground. There was nothing she could do to stop the desolation as it crawled up her spine and curved her back. Life was precious—even more so when it was a young one. It was any wonder Milosh blamed her so. The shame covered her and blurred her sight as tears washed her cheeks. She’d been selfish when she should have rationed the oil and cast the spell—strengthened the charms. 
 She pulled the jars from the shelf. Rosemary, bark, and the remnants of the oil her sister had blessed. The jar was empty, except for the thin layer that clung to the glass walls.
Pril did not receive the gifts her sister had. Vadoma had been the firstborn daughter to Imelda, the enchantress. Their mother had been very strong in her magick, aiding those in need with potions and spells. Pril held no such power. Her only gift the counting of the spells. She could not move things, throw a beam, or have seeing dreams. She was useless.
She blew out a breath and stared at the last of the oil. There was enough to strengthen the charm, but not cast a full protection spell. She’d known this when she used the oil for Tsura a month ago. But now that her niece was gone, the act of what she’d done came down upon her, weighing on her heavily. She leaned into the counter and pressed her fingers to her temple massaging the strained blood vessels.
She took the jar and stepped outside into the darkness. The clan asleep for the night, she went to Mortimer, her Ox, tied behind the vardo.
“Hello, my friend.” She stroked his rough fur. “I need but one drop this time.”
The ox turned his head toward her and bowed.
She smiled.
“Good boy.”
Quickly, she slid the needle along his neck enough to produce one drop of blood. She held the jar next to Mortimer’s neck watching as the blood ran into the glass mug and mixed with the oil. She dipped her finger into the mixture and ran it along the scratch.
“For the gift thou hast given, receive mine with love.” She watched as the wound healed.
Inside the vardo, she stoked the fire in the small cook stove and placed an empty pot on the burner. She pinched the rosemary, a symbol of Vadoma, and dropped it into the jar of oil to swirl with the spice. She watched as it mixed together with the oil and blood. Next she took the bark from the forest and dropped it into the pot. The bark sparked. She poured the mixture of oil, blood and rosemary into the pot listening as it bubbled and hissed.
 “Protect mine child from the evil that hunts. Keep her spirit hidden to their wants.”
The liquid evaporated into a cloud of smoke, and she watched as it drifted over the child to settle on top of her sleeping form.






SACRED LEGACY, BOOK 3

“SACRED LEGACY will immerse you in a harrowing journey of anger and bitterness that only love and forgiveness can heal.”

“A compelling love story you can't put down.”

“A riveting story line fueled by the passions and angst of many characters…a smashingly powerful crescendo to an already-powerful story.”


Excerpt 



CHAPTER ONE


Jamestown, Virginia, July 1740


Tsura Harris lifted the hem of her green skirt and stepped up onto the wooden plank. She clutched her reticule in her right hand and reached for the rope with her left. The planked bridge swayed as the boat rocked against the seas. She stared at the water below. White-capped waves crashed along the ship’s hull, rocking the boat. She inhaled, forced her chin up, and took another step. She walked the short distance to the boardwalk, releasing the breath she’d held when her boot touched land. She planted both feet upon the wooden dock and set her shoulders, but the reminder of why she was here intensified the weight upon her chest. Despair was her shadow, and it was with her today.
“Sister!”
Her brother’s deep, masculine shout came from above.
She shaded her eyes from the hot afternoon sun and peered up at him. His stature always shocked her. Micah Walker was six foot with broad shoulders and strong arms, a spitting image of their father, Kade. His white shirt gaped open to show the tanned skin beneath, a sign of too many days out on the water. Long blond hair waved in the breeze. Her handsome brother had his pick of the ladies, but still hadn’t settled down. It was a shame. She knew he wanted children and a wife of his own, but his heart belonged to the sea and time would lend him those favors only when he was ready.
“You must wait,” he called and raced past his men carrying crates of goods onto the wharf.
She placed her bag onto the wooden walk and clasped her gloved hands together.
He reached her, his cheeks glowing and dark eyes lit with mischief. Before she could discourage him, he picked her up and swung her around. Her boots kicked the bag, knocking it over, as his strong arms held her tight.
Micah had always been affectionate. He never shied away from holding her hand, kissing her cheek, or teasing her like a brother would. He’d come to her side when she needed him the most. When her life had fallen apart, and she couldn’t see past her own misery to pick herself up. He had carried her, and she loved him for it.
“You cannot go off without wishing me well.” He smiled down at her.
“If you would simply release me, I’d be able to make it so,” she retorted. He was the only one, aside from her mother and father, who she allowed to touch her.
“Very well, nit.” He set her in front of him. The nickname he used for her was one of endearment and came from her pestering him as a child.
“Thank you.” She smoothed her skirt before bringing her eyes to meet his.
“You do not need to do this.”
She glanced away unable to stare at him any longer.
“Come sail with me.”
She shook her head. The urge to leave caused her legs to shake. She couldn’t be around him any longer. His cheerful disposition haunted her and made her think of things she’d rather forget.
“I know you don’t want to speak of this, but—”
“No, Micah.”
“Tsura, you need to forgive—”
“Forgiveness is not within my heart.”
“It surely is.”
She shook her head, careful not to release the many pins holding her thick corkscrew curls in a loose chignon.
“It is in all of us.”
She glared at her brother.
“Do not speak to me of forgiveness, brother. My heart is cold to it.”
His dark eyes watered, and she knew her words had hurt him, but she didn’t care. It was better this way—it was easier.
“Will you not reconsider?”
 “No.”
“Please stay. I will protect you.”
Protection was not what she needed. She could care less if she died. It’d be a relief from the constant pain she felt each day.
“I should’ve taken you to mother and father.”
“Do not speak to them of my presence here.”
“They will understand.”
“Not one word.”
Micah sighed. “As you wish.”
“I must go.” Anger pressed on her spine, and she straightened.
His shoulders dropped.
“Be safe. Trust no one.”

She nodded.



About The Author

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. She has her Certificate in Freelance and Business Writing. 

A member of many writing groups, Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. Kat loves to teach writing classes and give back to other aspiring authors. She volunteers her time at the local library facilitating their writing group. She’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career


Her debut novel CHASING CLOVERS has been an Amazon Top 100 Paid bestseller twice. LAKOTA HONOR, BLOOD CURSE, and SACRED LEGACY (Branded Trilogy) are Kat’s three award-winning novels and HAZARDOUS UNIONS is Kat’s first novella. Kat is currently hard at work on her next series, THE MONTGOMERY SISTERS.





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