Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Brenda Jackson | Exclusive Excerpt: SEDUCED BY A STEELE
Author Guest / April 7, 2020

Mercury wondered if anyone had ever told Sloan how cute she looked when she became angry. How her brows slashed together over her forehead and how the pupils of her eyes became a turbulent dark gray. Then there was the way her chin lifted and her lips formed into a decadent pout. Observing her lips made him remember their taste and how the memory had kept him up most of the night. “I don’t need you to take care of me.” Her words were snapped out in a vicious tone. He drew in a deep breath. He didn’t need this. Especially from her and definitely not this morning. He’d forgot-ten to cancel his date last night with Raquel and she had called first thing this morning letting him know she hadn’t appreciated it. It had put him in a bad mood, but, unfortunately, Raquel was the least of his worries. “You don’t?” he asked, trying to maintain a calm voice when more than anything he wanted to snap back. “Was it not my stolen car you were driving?” “Yes, but—” “Were you not with me when you discovered you were being evicted?” he quickly asked, determined not to let her…

Lisa Harris | Exclusive Excerpt: THE TRAITOR’S PAWN
Author Guest / March 30, 2020

Aubrey leaned back against the side of the boat, working to loosen her hands while her captor steered the boat through the narrow inlet. Her head pounded, and she’d sliced her leg on something, but at least she was still alive. She couldn’t say that about Papps. If his family hadn’t found him by now, she knew he would have already bled out. A sick feeling snaked through her as her mind continued to replay what had happened and what she could have done differently. But they’d been ambushed by a sniper. She’d done what she’d been trained to do—­try and neutralize the threat. Having failed that, the only thing she could do now was pray that Papps’s sons had heard her scream. But her captor had timed his dirty deed well. Duck hunting wasn’t like deer hunting, which was more of a solitary pursuit. And for the McKenna family, it had always been a social event. It had been the same every year for as long as she could remember. She knew exactly what had been going on at the blind. Until the birds landed, there would be no shortage of conversation. They’d watch the sunrise break through the…

A.M. Madden | Exclusive Excerpt: NOT ACCORDING TO PLAN
Author Guest / March 27, 2020

Since the  Lamaze class  I  scheduled was in  Jersey,  my sister insisted I stay the night at her place. My phone buzzed with an incoming text just as Sapphire pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. Max: I’m in my apartment and ready to go! “Speak of the devil?” Sapphire asked as she parked the car “Yeah.”  I  got out of the car and could feel her eyes drilling into my back as I texted him. Me: Heading in now. Call you in a few minutes. Avoiding  Sapphire’s scrutiny,  I  walked purposefully toward the main entrance. Unsurprisingly,  my sister followed close behind me.  “Jade.” “What?” “You know how  I  feel about your work and having no life. I want you to be happy. You really can’t blame me for being your voice of reason.” “No,  I  can’t  blame  you  for  being  you.”  When she grinned,  I  leaned in and kissed her cheek. My sister had always been extremely protective of me and brutally honest with her opinions, and clearly she was #TeamMax. A  few minutes later,  Nurse  Gail addressed the class.  Introductions were made, and we were all given name tags to wear.  I  waited until our instructor said, …

Elizabeth Bright | Exclusive Excerpt: THE DUKE’S WICKED WIFE
Author Guest / March 18, 2020

Eliza had spoken to each of the ladies over tea and found them every bit as amusing, pleasant, and pretty as she had during the Season. She liked them all, although a preference for one over the other had not yet shown itself. But her own preference mattered very little. The question was, which lady would the duke prefer? Lady Jane was tall and slender with hair the color of butterscotch. She had a wonderful singing voice, and not only did she read the papers, but she had opinions about their content. Eliza was certain she would make an excellent duchess. Lady Louisa had soft brown curls, an extraordinary bosom, and cheeks as round and rosy as the apples they plucked. She laughed and smiled a good deal, but there was a sharpness to her wit that would serve her well in a marriage with Wessex. He needed a lady with high spirits to keep him in line. Lady Abigail had hair of deep red, which was not very fashionable, but hers was so gorgeous that one could not wish for any other color. She was gifted with both the pianoforte and bawdy jokes. Eliza thought Wessex would enjoy making…

Bethany Michaels | Exclusive Excerpt: THE ANTI-HONEYMOON
Author Guest / March 17, 2020

Paradise Island was exactly as cheesy as all the online reviews Zach had read on the flight down had suggested. He could hardly believe that Jenna would actually choose to honeymoon here or that she thought Elliot wouldn’t take one look at the place and immediately insist on going somewhere else, sexy lingerie or no. But when somebody allowed sentimentality to trump logic, this was the result. Had she even read any of the reviews when she’d planned the trip? To begin with, it wasn’t a hotel, but a cluster of small huts, which were probably supposed to suggest some kind of alone-on-a-tropical-island fantasy, on which continent, he had no idea. From the pictures online, it looked like someone had bought up all the set pieces from Gilligan’s Island, stuck them on sketchy dock structures the middle of a shallow inlet, and opened for business. Each cluster of huts had its own pier leading from a main building where the shops, restaurants, and spa were located, and each individual hut was spaced along the pier far enough from its neighbor to guarantee “privacy.” In other words, honeymoon gymnastics could take place without couples in the other hump-huts having to listen….

Mayra Cuevas | Exclusive Excerpt: SALTY, BITTER, SWEET
Author Guest / February 28, 2020

Chapter 7 Of Love and Pies “So, Isa, dish out the details. What’s the deal with Diego?” Pippa asks. I shrug and bite into the best fraisier cake I’ve ever had. I chew slowly, hoping they’ll find something else to talk about—something that isn’t “the hot Spaniard.” It’s finally Friday. Week one in Chef Grattard’s kitchen has come and gone and all I have to show for it is a bandaged finger and spoon thirteen sitting at the bottom of the rack. Not exactly what I had in mind. To celebrate this grand accomplishment, Pippa invited us to Pâtisserie Lulu, her favorite spot in Lyon, where we’ve been sitting outside, watching people walk by on the street. The only good thing to came out of this week is my new uncanny ability to memorize Chef Troissant’s instructions. It turns out fear is a great motivator. Take yesterday, for example: she was teaching us about French cheeses and opened a wooden box containing a small wheel of Époisses de Bourgogne. It has a sticky orange rind and a smell reminiscent of sweaty gym socks and filthy barn animals that’s led to it being called the stinker of all cheeses. While everyone…

Michael McAuliffe | Exclusive Excerpt: NO TRUTH LEFT TO TELL
Author Guest / February 27, 2020

From Chapter 1 White Night February 1994 Lynwood, Louisiana The bald tires of Frank Daniels’s corroded pickup rolled over a shallow bed of popping gravel and stopped next to two men in pointy hoods. The men huddled together, shifting around an imaginary fire and stomping their feet now and again. Their hoods were for show, not warmth. The other conspirators waited inside the clapboard frame house. Daniels got out of his truck and acknowledged the security detail with a half salute, which was all the formality he could muster given the late hour. With a rocking gait and fixed grin, he waddled up to the house in oversized boots worn to accommodate his swollen feet. The sentinels followed, hoods now in their hands. He wasn’t yet much of a Klansman, not compared to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but Daniels soon would fix that by leading his own white night. The residents of Lynwood wouldn’t know it right away, but the town’s coming racial reckoning would be the doing of the Klan’s new grand dragon. All revolutions started somewhere, and that Friday evening Lynwood would join Fort Sumter as a cradle of insurrection. He closed the door behind him and…

Holly Castillo | Exclusive Excerpt: A SEAL ALWAYS WINS
Author Guest / February 24, 2020

He shook his head at himself. To even consider a relationship with her was beyond foolish. While he no longer wanted the short, meaningless flings with women he had experienced in his younger years, he didn’t know how to be in a serious relationship with a woman. He didn’t even know how to begin such a thing. And he didn’t know why he entertained the idea of something different with Elena. Because she’s different. She is strong and independent and could be the partner to welcome you home from missions. She makes you smile–and laugh–and is giving you her trust after going through a terrible experience. You do have something to offer her. You can offer her a partner to lean on, someone who could care for her. . . Gritting his teeth, he picked up a heavier set of weights. He needed to work her out of his mind. He had to stop thinking about her as anyone other than someone who could help him move his assignment forward. He had just finished with one exercise when his cell phone rang. He grabbed a towel and wiped at his sweaty forehead before glancing at his phone, surprised to see…

Synithia Williams | Exclusive Excerpt: FORBIDDEN PROMISES
Author Guest / February 21, 2020

Travis headed in the opposite direction from Elaina to reduce his chances of running into her again. He wan­dered toward the back of the house instead of going to the upstairs family room. He wasn’t feeling running into Grant either. He could hide out in the back sunroom or on the lanai until Byron got here and was ready to go. The faint sounds of violin music stopped him. His feet changed direction and instinctively followed the music. How many times when he was younger had he gone to the music room after a stressful or frustrat­ing encounter with his family, Grant or Elaina? Lured by the sound of something smooth and soothing like a balm to his hollowed emotions. He stopped at the door and watched India. He didn’t recognize the song she played. The music was a strong, fluid sound laced with an edge of anger and passion. Her eyes were closed, a line between her brows as she focused on the intricate pattern of notes. She’d been a great player before leaving with the orches­tra, and now she was outstanding. The complicated and intense execution of the music fascinated him. Something was bothering her. She lost herself…

Katherine Garbera | Exclusive Excerpt: WILD NIGHTS
Author Guest / February 10, 2020

In this scene Nicholas has let Zelda’s down and she knows that he’s a professional illusionist, it’s the show that matters not the people around him, but he proves there is more to him than the showman. *** Nicholas stood in Zelda’s kitchen, wondering what the hell he was doing. He’d come out here not because of the kid… Well, maybe a little bit, because Stetson reminded him of himself in some ways. But also for her. Her house felt homey, comfortable—the kind of place he imagined normal families lived. He’d grown up in a brick and stone 12 bedroom mansion with a kitchen that had been meant for a large staff of workers, and he and his grandfather had always eaten in the master suite to be near his grandmother. He’d grown up believing that his parents had died when he was a baby. His grandparents had raised him in their big mansion, treating him like he was a special gift in their lives. It had only been after they’d died that he’d realized everything he’d known had been an illusion. He’d been an adopted baby they’d used to replace the son they’d lost as an adult. He shook…