Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jody Hedlund | Exclusive Excerpt: TO TAME A COWBOY
Author Guest , Excerpt / May 20, 2022

The moment Brody shuffled up the steps, his thoughts turned to Savannah. His pulse surged, as it had every time he pictured her. All the while he’d groomed the horses and calmed the new mustang, he relived the way she’d glided her fingers over his arm when she’d taken her bag from him. He doubted she meant anything by the touch. Probably hadn’t known she’d done it. But just thinking about the caress made the hair on his arm tingle again. He’d never seen a woman as pretty. Or as kind. She’d fussed over the mustang off and on during the ride back to the ranch and had taken better care of her own horse than she had of herself. Weariness had marked her features long before she’d started yawning. He didn’t know her history, and it wasn’t his place to probe. But if he had to guess, he’d say she was running from someone or something. No other reason a respectable woman like her would be wandering around South Park by herself without any traveling companions. She’d needed a place to stay in a bad way. And he figured Healing Springs Ranch was safe. Besides, they had the room. . . ….

Kathleen O’Neal Gear | Exclusive Excerpt: THE ICE GHOST
Author Guest , Excerpt / May 19, 2022

QUILLER   Mink, RabbitEar, and I fall back with our hands clutched around our weapons. The old witch lifts his torch higher, and every fissure and crack in the cave flutters with shadows. He notes the dead piled against wall, then the women and children who huddle far back in the tunnel. Finally, his gaze focuses on my face. His examination seems to take forever, as though he’s comparing what he sees now to the woman in his spirit dream, making sure we are the same person. “Let us go and sit down,” he says. As he walks toward me, I back up to the center of the cave and adopt a fighting crouch. Mink and RabbitEar silently close in behind Trogon. As though completely unafraid, the elder sits down on the floor, leans his torch on a rock, and politely gestures for me to join him. “Please, sit down, Quiller.” “I’ll stand.” His lips turn up, but no one would call it a smile. He’s a caricature of a man, just the sort of monster you do not want to get too close to. I am much taller than he is, but his thick chest and shoulders leave no…

Caroline Lee | Exclusive Excerpt: THE SINNER’S TEMPTING CAPTOR
Author Guest , Excerpt / May 18, 2022

“What are you working on?” she asked desperately. Smirking, Bull held his knitting out. “I dinnae ken. Another scarf, perhaps? Do ye think I could find some orange yarn before we board the train tomorrow?” He was teasing her. Honoria sighed and unconsciously rubbed at her temple. “Bull, if there’s any orange yarn to be found in this city, I believe you would be the best person to find some. I still cannot believe you managed to find Crowe a suit without measuring him.” Her brother winked as his fingers flew. “And evening wear as well.” She chuckled in defeat, and shook her head. “Thank you for the reminder.” She had to admit; the banter had relaxed her. “You are a remarkable young man when it comes to procuring things. I am delighted to say I have no idea how you do it, nor do I want to know.” “And have I ever told ye how much I appreciate ye no’ butting into my business?” Business. Chuckling, Honoria shook her head once more, enjoying the sensation of the smile after the last stressful week. And of course, it was right then that the universe decided she needed some humbling. The…

Annabelle Greene | Exclusive Excerpt: THE SERVANT AND THE GENTLEMAN
Author Guest , Excerpt / May 18, 2022

The wrought-iron door handle was cold against Hartley’s fingers. Quite why he was gripping it so tightly he didn’t know; it had to be fear or excitement. Or both, coiled so inextricably within him that he couldn’t tell which one was which. It was different in candlelight. Last time there had been barely any light; it had been easy to forget himself, to get lost in the rush of desire that had taken hold. Now, with enough light to see both the cramped tightness of the room and a glimpse of his own white face in the mirror above the basin, it was almost impossible to imagine feeling enough pleasure to overcome the terror filling him. He held his breath as Mr. Balfour moved closer. Close enough to press against him, chest to chest, thigh to thigh. Hartley sighed, a deep shiver running through him as he looked into the man’s warm brown eyes. He couldn’t even think of him as Mr. Balfour anymore. Not in this naked, vulnerable light. Master, servant, Mr. Hartley, Mr. Balfour; no rank, no polite form of address, quite held up to scrutiny. Not here. Not now. The man in front of him was Josiah….

Kelly Sokol | Exclusive Excerpt: BREACH
Author Guest , Excerpt / May 17, 2022

CHAPTER ONE   Marleigh looped the tail of the letter y on her note card to complete the word autophagy, transforming the letter into a pointed trident. Multitasking was a survival skill; still on the clock at the gym, she learned her biology terms while practicing her art. Outlining and shading. She should have forked the tail, instead, into a mouth that turned on the open arms of the letter. She liked when form and meaning matched. Couldn’t a letter self-devour as much as a cell? She slid the card to the bottom of the stack. She only had a few more minutes to review the terms before she had to close Box-n-Go and leave for class. The fake prizefighters bell dinged as the gym door opened. Marleigh looked up as two new guys entered. The first one, bigger and better looking than his friend, flinched at the smell and the heat. Box-n-Go regulars stopped noticing the stink—sweat and blood and yeast and leather all wiped down with Clorox. Hot new guy spoke first. “We want to box.” He had no accent. His hair was buzzed. He had a lopsided dimple bigger than Marleigh’s pencil eraser on one side of…

Kimberlee Turley | Exclusive Excerpt: CIRCUS OF SHADOWS
Author Guest , Excerpt / May 12, 2022

Auction Scene from chapter XIII © 2022 Marcella.   # Chapter XIII excerpt#   For the entire morning, Gracie could not be found without a gaggle of women around her. And she took a circuitous route wherever she went, further hindering his chances of finding an opportunity to deliver a private apology. Jack had considered giving up until Harris and Gracie entered the big top, her small hand tucked in the crook of his elbow. She wore a pale pink dress trimmed with white bows and black ribbon. In her free hand, she carried a black umbrella. If Gracie could forgive Harris enough to let him escort her to the auction, it seemed reasonable that she could overlook whatever Jack had said to offend her yesterday and last night. Squaring his shoulders, Jack marched in after them. The tent was filled with a brown fog from the fine dirt kicked into the air by the patrons who’d come for the auction. Jack signed his name to a wooden bidding paddle while the Colonel stamped his hammer to close the sale of a gilded mirror. The small herd of auction attendees stirred a little in the break before the next…

Sharon Sala | Exclusive Excerpt: THE BEST OF ME
Excerpt / April 29, 2022

Back in Blessings, Carlie was letting Miss Ruby help her out of the bathtub and into her pajamas. Miss Ruby was doing everything right, just like Mama did, but after a day of fear and grief, the adrenaline crash was inevitable, and so was another round of tears. It was becoming obvious that Mama wasn’t going to be there to tuck Carlie into bed or read her a story. She wasn’t going to be the one to come running in the middle of the night if Carlie had a bad dream or to snuggle in beside her when it stormed. Ruby saw the meltdown coming. Carlie’s eyes were shimmering with unshed tears as Ruby pulled the top of her pajamas down over Carlie’s head. Carlie thrust her little arms through the sleeves, then put them around Ruby’s neck and laid her head on Ruby’s shoulder. “I know, I know. It’s all different and so sad. I saw you have books on your bed table. Do you want me to read to you until you fall asleep?” Carlie nodded. “Are you afraid to be in the room alone?” Ruby asked. Carlie shrugged. Ruby sighed. “Okay, we’ll just play this by ear….

Kris Ripper | Exclusive Excerpt: BOOK BOYFRIEND
Author Guest , Excerpt / April 26, 2022

For a while I found excuses to be in the common areas of the apartment, hoping Art would come back out and I could mount a solid defense about my mad romance skillz, but he stayed holed up in his room and since I couldn’t hear his music, that probably meant he had on noise-canceling headphones and couldn’t hear me conspicuously walking down the hall­way, or washing the dishes, or, uh, moving the couch so I could sweep under it, which I’d never done before and was so gross I might never do again. There was no point if he wasn’t coming out to see what I was doing so I could triumphantly brandish my disgusting dustpan like a…like a very passionate-about-cleaning hero out of a romance novel? That was probably a thing, right? I’d interned under the romance editor, Adams, and I was pretty sure I could sell her on cleaning as a romantic gesture. Well. Maybe. Adams was kinda hard-core. Let’s just say, if it was a thing, she’d probably seen it already and could cite every in­stance of it in every romance novel published in the last fifty years. I finally gave up and went in my…

Katie Cotugno | Exclusive Excerpt: BIRDS OF CALIFORNIA
Author Spotlight , Excerpt / April 15, 2022

CHAPTER EIGHT   Sam   She takes him to In-N-Out, the two of them sitting outside on rubber-coated benches in the yellow light of the neon sign. The waffle weave digs into his ass. It’s a warm night, the smell of car exhaust and fryer oil hanging densely in the air. “Can I ask you something?” Fiona says, dragging a fry through a puddle of secret sauce. She ordered without looking at the menu, coming back to the table with a cardboard box full of cheeseburgers and fries; she also paid, which he appreciates, though he doesn’t say that out loud. “How do you even know all those people?” Sam takes a sip of his milkshake. “All those people, like, my friends?” “Sure.” Fiona looks dubious. “They’re industry people, mostly.” He shrugs. “Kimmeree does something with social media.” “Of course she does.” Sam frowns. The truth is they’re not actually his good friends, those guys back in the bar. Erin in particular hates that whole crowd; she heard who all was coming out tonight and bailed so hard and so fast Sam was surprised she didn’t pull a muscle. They’re a lot, he gets it. But he’s also not about…

Gama Ray Martinez | Exclusive Excerpt: GOD OF NEVERLAND
Author Guest , Excerpt / April 7, 2022

  c h a p  t e r 1     L ON D ON , 1 9 2 5   A shadow, looking very much like that of a boy, ghosted into the train’s control cab through the front window. It came to a stop in front of Michael, which was strange, given how fast the train was moving. He stared at it for several seconds before looking up. There didn’t seem to be anything that could cast such an odd shade, but after a few moments, he spotted a small cloud floating in front of the full moon. That had to be responsible. In fact, if he looked at the shadow, he decided that it didn’t really look like a boy’s at all—even when it seemed to wave at him. So he ignored it, telling himself it was only a trick of the light and a side effect of a long day. After a few seconds, the shadow’s shoulders slumped, and it slipped out through the same window it had entered from—or, rather, the shadow did what shadows do when they’re no longer visible. It certainly didn’t shrug. Michael glanced back at the sky and found that the…