Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Kat Martin | Exclusive Excerpt: SHADOWS AT DAWN
Author Guest / November 11, 2019

“You cook?”  He seemed surprised. She shoved her glasses up on her nose, and hooked her hair back over her ear.  “My grandmother grew up on a farm outside Dallas.  She was a fantastic cook.  She raised me, so yes, I like to cook.”  She smiled.  “I’m really good at it.” A low groan slipped from Jax’s throat.  “What if we stop at the store and pick up whatever you need?” She laughed.  “We don’t have to do that.  I keep a lot of stuff in the pantry.  I can make pasta or something.  Do you like Italian?” “Hell, yes.” She smiled.  “I’ll make a salad to go with it and we’ll be fine.” Except that when Mindy unlocked her front door and Jax shoved it open, thoughts of supper shot right out the window.  The entire apartment looked as if an earthquake or a tornado had totaled the place. *** “Oh, my God!” Jax’s HK.45 slid easily out of its holster.   “Stay here.”  He started forward, the gun gripped in both hands, panning the living room for any sign the intruders might still be there. “Oh, God, Muffin!”  Mindy bolted forward, but Jax’s arm shot out, blocking her way….

Eugenia Lovett West | Exclusive Excerpt: FIREWALL
Author Guest / November 4, 2019

Planes from Logan airport were flying, but a lot of white-knuckle types had canceled. Once we were above the clouds, the flight was smooth, and by seven o’clock my taxi was heading into the city. Caroline’s Fifth Avenue apartment occupied the entire floor of an exclusive old building. A bastion of wealth and prestige. The view of Central Park was extensive and sweeping. Caroline once told me that she had bought the apartment from the estate of her third husband’s mother, a notable grande dame. “Everyone thought I was crazy, the jumped-up heiress from Chicago just getting her kicks, but the high ceilings give me room for my grandfather’s old masters. Turns out most of them are fakes painted by an apprentice. That’s the grandfather who invented hairpins. Knew nothing about art.” I seldom visited, but the uniformed doorman greeted me with a smile. “Good to see you again, Mrs. Streat. I’ll have your bags sent right up.” Caroline’s elderly Irish maids had been with her for years. As I came out of the elevator, white-haired Minnie, wearing her black dress and starched white apron, met me at the door. “Ah, Mrs. Streat, ’tis a pleasure to see you. I…

Jane Ashford | Exclusive Excerpt: THE RELUCTANT RAKE + Giveaway!
Author Guest / October 30, 2019

The Reluctant Rake – excerpt Sir Richard Beckwith emerged from his elegant town house on a chilly spring evening wearing a black silk domino over his dark gray pantaloons and long-tailed coat of dark blue superfine. Any one of his friends would have been astonished to see him in this guise, still more to see him out of evening dress at nine o’clock. Had they known that a pocket of the domino held a black mask, they would have been dumbfounded. None of Sir Richard’s exclusive circle was likely to see him tonight, however. When he hailed a hackney cab and climbed in, he directed it to a part of London little frequented by the haut ton. If certain of its men from time to time made their way through these unsavory streets, they did not mention such excursions in polite society. A cold mist rose from the greasy cobblestones, enlivened here and there by hoarse laughter and singing as the hack rattled past some gin mill or bawdy house. One victim of blue ruin went so far as to grab for the cab, hoping to jerk its occupant into an alleyway and fleece him. He missed his target, however,…

Stephanie Butland | Exclusive Excerpt: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae
Author Guest / October 29, 2019

6 October, 2017 Hard to Bear  It’s 3 a.m. here in cardio-thoracic. All I can do for now is doze, and think, and doze again. My heart is getting weaker, my body bluer. People I haven’t seen for a while are starting to drop in. (Good to see you, Emily, Jacob, Christa. I’m looking forward to the Martinis.) We all pretend we’re not getting ready to say goodbye. It seems easiest. But my mother cries when she thinks I’m sleeping, so maybe here, now, is time to admit that I might really be on the way out. I should be grateful. A baby born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome a few years before I was would have died within days. I’ve had twenty-eight years and I’ve managed to do quite a lot of living in them. (Also, I’ve had WAY more operations than you everyday folk. I totally win on that.) OK, so I still live at home and I’ve never had a job and I’m blue around the edges because there’s never quite enough oxygen in my system. But – Actually, but nothing. If you’re here tonight for the usual BlueHeart cheerfulness-in-the-teeth-of-disaster, you need to find another blogger. My…

Brenda Jackson | Exclusive Excerpt: FINDING HOME AGAIN
Author Guest / October 29, 2019

Kaegan glanced up when a cup of coffee and a basket of blueberries were placed in front of him. When his and Bryce’s eyes met, something stirred deep within his gut and he immediately resented the feeling. He also resented that he was noticing how pretty she looked this morning. Could it be the hint of blush she’d added to her cheeks? Or that her lashes seemed a little longer than usual? In the past, Bryce only put on makeup when it suited her. Was there a reason she was wearing some now? Was there a man coming into the café that she wanted to impress? “Will there be anything else?” she asked him. He hated that his thoughts had been on a past that could never be rekindled. She was glaring at him and he automatically glared back. “From you? No.” He saw her bite down on her bottom lip, probably tempted to tell him where he could take the coffee and muffins and shove them. Instead she turned and walked off. He watched her leave and figured that even if he no longer cared one iota for her, he could still appreciate a good-looking ass in jeans. He…

Victoria Laurie | Exclusive Excerpt: COACHED TO DEATH
Author Guest / October 28, 2019

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 2 The group parted to allow Heather to pass, and she walked toward me with the practiced bounce of a model. Opening her arms wide, she pushed a giant smile to her lips. I didn’t trust her for a second. “Catherine!” she said warmly. “Don’t you ‘Catherine’ me,” I growled, my hands finding my hips. No way was I going to allow any kind of friendly embrace. Heather stopped in front of me and allowed her arms to hang there awkwardly for a moment. The women she’d just left were watching us, and I could see the puzzled expressions on their faces too. “You set me up!” I hissed. Heather’s arms dropped dramatically. “Catherine, whatever are you talking about?” I waved a hand down my front. “This.” “It’s a lovely suit, dear, but why would you come wearing black and white to a jewel-tone themed luncheon?” The ladies behind Heather edged closer toward us, completely engrossed in what was obviously about to become a scene. “I’m wearing this because you told me this was a black and white themed affair.” I was aware that I was speaking through clenched teeth, likely giving me the appearance of snarling…

Helena Hunting | Exclusive Excerpt: A LIE FOR A LIE
Author Guest / October 15, 2019

After breakfast RJ takes me for a ride in his boat. The only kind I’ve ever been in is a canoe, which tipped over, and yesterday I tried to put the one at my cabin into the water, but a family of squirrels was living in it, so that put an end to that. Being on open water makes me nervous, so RJ distracts me with more making out. My lips are probably going to be seriously chapped after today, so I’ll have to use some lip balm tonight to keep them from peeling. By the time we get back from our boating trip–I didn’t see one dolphin or whale, although I wasn’t paying much attention to anything besides RJ–it’s well past lunchtime. We make steak sandwiches with last night’s leftovers, and RJ suggests a trip into town. I have a list of things I need to pick up, like a new space heater, so I’m all for it. After a brief stop at my cabin so I can change into fresh clothes, we spend the afternoon shopping. We tour the quaint downtown and grab dinner at a pub. It’s after eight by the time we head back to his…

Mary Burton | Exclusive Excerpt: I SEE YOU
Author Guest / October 7, 2019

“Seeing as we’re going to be partners, want to grab dinner?” Vaughan asked. “I’m starving, and we could talk about the case.” It was a ritual Zoe had shared with her late husband. Dinner had always involved a cold beer, maybe a steak, and discussion of a case. They had both loved the intellectual challenge, the sparring, and the lovemaking afterward. “I know a place.” “Lead the way.” He drove them to a small diner surrounded by a cluster of fast-food restaurants near the interstate. When she shot him a questioning look, he held up a hand. “Trust me.” “I’m holding you to a good meal, Detective Vaughan.” He opened the door, held it, and waited for her to pass. The hostess called out his name; he waved and headed toward what had to be a favorite booth. Men, she noted, were creatures of habit and liked routine. She slid across the red vinyl seat of the corner booth. From this vantage, they both had a clear view of the front and back exits. Like all cops, he probably wanted to know who was coming and going while he ate. She reached for a laminated menu and opened it. “So,…

Annabeth Albert | Exclusive Excerpt: ARCTIC HEAT
Author Guest / September 24, 2019

Hi! I’m so delighted to be here today with an exclusive excerpt from ARCTIC HEAT, my newest release in the Frozen Hearts series set in Alaska. As with the other two books in the series, this one stands alone well–there’s only the briefest of mentions of the prior books’ couples and no spoilers. This is my opposites-attract, odd couple roommates, snowbound romance as a seasoned ranger finds himself paired with a newbie volunteer for the winter season where they’ll be snowed in together at a remote Alaska state park. One thing I loved about writing this one was showing the progression of them from unwilling partners to reluctant roommates to something more. For this excerpt, I wanted to show you a look at the moment when the ranger, Quill, realizes that the winter partnership with Owen, for whom he already had a bit of an awkward encounter with the night before, is inevitable. **** Quill had no hope of this thing working well for anyone, but he’d already done what he could. No sense in upsetting Hattie, who was simply trying to do her job. He saved his ire, heading to the coffee table where Owen was still fussing with…

Nancy Coco | Exclusive Excerpt: FUDGE BITES
Author Guest / September 23, 2019

CHAPTER 1 “You look amazing, Allie,” Frances said to me. “Like the scariest of the walking dead.” I laughed. I could feel the makeup cracking, and so I tried really hard to get it together. “At least I don’t look like a real dead person. I’ve got skin flapping off my cheek.” I pushed on the latex flap that concealed the gory makeup underneath. “Thankfully, zombies aren’t real.” “I love the idea of the zombie walk,” Frances said. “The fact that the profits all go to the Red Dress Foundation is fantastic.” “I like the idea that all the bars and restaurants pitched in to supply food for the hungry masses,” I said. “Fudge isn’t exactly food,” she pointed out. “I bet there are a lot of people who would argue with you on that,” I teased. Frances was my hotel manager. She’d worked at the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop since before she retired from teaching. Thankfully, she had stayed as an employee after my papa Liam McMurphy died and I inherited the family business. At this very moment, I was putting the finishing touches on my zombie pinup girl costume. I didn’t usually participate in late night…