Bold Tricks by Karina Halle [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

 

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The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . .

Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he’s been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . . One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who’s made a permanent mark on Ellie’s heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who’s busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.

 

Excerpt

The motel room was a lot nicer than the one we stayed at before. Sort of a Best Western, middle-ground quality of place. No roaches on the floors, no geckos on the wall. Shit mattresses, I discovered as I pounded my fist on the bed, but I didn’t care.

Camden had just put the final box on my bed, Violetta sprawled out on hers in a state of drug-induced euphoria, when I noticed Javier lingering at the doorway.

“I’m going to be meeting Dom in about twenty minutes,” Javier said to me. “Is that enough time for you to get ready?”

I frowned and he quickly added, “You know he’ll want you there, if this is going to get anywhere. I figured you might want to shower and look nice.”

He rapped his fingers along the doorframe, his mouth opening as if to say something else, then he turned and walked off.

Camden eyed me. “I’m going with you.”

“You might be kind of drunk, Camden,” I told him, though the determination in his voice warmed me like the finest cognac.

“I’ve never felt better,” he said, enunciating each word. His eyes, my god they were still such a clear fucking blue, even in the pallid light of the hotel room. They bore into me with such startling clarity, sending shivers down my back like trailing fingertips. He would be coming with me.

I wished he’d be coming in me. A vision of us in this hotel room, alone, him nailing me to the bed, the headboard banging, slammed into my head.

“Are you okay with that?” he asked.

I suppressed the thought, the flare of heat between my legs, and smiled quickly. “Yes, of course.”

Meanwhile Violetta’s head flopped to the side, her arm still bound to her stiffly in the sling, and started snoring lightly. I motioned to her. “Do you think it’s safe to leave her here?”

He watched her for a few moments, blinking a few times, before saying, “I think she needs to sleep it off.” He went and sat down on my bed. “I’ll be here when you get out.”

I grabbed my bag of clothes I had brought out of the car and brought it into the bathroom. I had a quick shower, trying to rub off all the grim – both real and imagined – with the flimsy hotel soap, then picked through my clothes. Everything that had been in my trunk was musty and wrinkled, some even dirty. I had a packet of unopened (and decidedly unsexy) Hanes underwear, a bra, another pair of jeans, a pair of gladiator sandals that I thought were dressy enough, a pair of Timberland hiking boots, a plain white tee shirt, a couple of wife-beaters, a coral-colored blouse, a plaid shirt, and a light blue tank dress that went to the ground. I wasn’t exactly known for my fashion sense and even with the cherry blossoms covering the scars on my leg, bringing me beauty that I didn’t have before, I didn’t see myself branching out anytime soon. Dressing up in my old clothes for Javier hadn’t exactly helped either.

I slipped on the tank dress, opting to go commando for the evening, and put on the sandals. I looked at myself in the mirror. Once again, I felt like a different person was staring back at me. This me, this Ellie, was tired and hardened. I rubbed the residue mascara away from under my eyes and applied a new coat. My skin was brown from the sun now and I didn’t need much else.

When I came out of the bathroom, Camden straightened up on the bed. I felt strangely shy in front of him, especially as his eyes trailed up and down the length of me.

“Do I look okay?” I asked him, feeling the need to say something. “I mean, if you can see me, that is.”

He bit his lip and stared, a multitude of emotions flashing through his eyes, too fast for me to pick up on each individual one. I thought I saw lust in there – maybe that’s what I wanted to see.

When he still didn’t say anything, I walked over to the dresser where I had my clutch purse left over from the other night at Travis’s and rifled through it for my lip stuff. His silence at my back was a heavy weight, laden with too many uncertainties between us. It was eating at me, burning through me, rendering me with a lead heart. There were so many things I had to focus on, to worry about, fucking impossible things, and yet I needed him to tell me I looked beautiful. I needed him to tell me I was something to him.

I heard him get off the bed and walk toward me, that heaviness, that warmth that he brought with his bones, teased at my back. He stopped, close enough to touch me, and I was about to turn around, perhaps to do something foolish, when he crouched down.

“How is my art?”

His hands found my leg, one of them lifting the hem of my dress, the other slowly moving over the cherry blossom tattoo. I sucked in my breath, holding completely still, trying to contain my nerves that were firing wildly as his fingers ran along the ridges of the ink. He touched me gently over every vine, leaf and petal, until I had to supress a shaky moan that that tried to escape from my lips.

“It feels fine,” I said softly when I found my voice.

“It looks beautiful,” he said.

“I had a beautiful artist,” I told him. I turned at the waist and look down at him, my blue dress glowing in his tanned hand, his other one placed firmly around my calf, his strong fingers imparting heat that sunk deep. He was looking up at me, lips parted slightly.

I couldn’t take a second more of this.

I turned and dropped to the ground, my knees rubbing against his.

I grabbed his face, his rough stubble pressing into my palms, and kissed him.

Hard.

There was surprise for a second, a hesitation, a pulse that refused to beat on. Then Camden kissed me back, his soft lips enveloping mine, his mouth opening to give me life. He put his hand behind my head, holding it there with power and control.

My heart was an elevator car, the cable suddenly snapped, and I was freefalling and falling and falling as his lips and tongue and hot, wet mouth took away every inch of my resolve. The more he kissed me, the deeper and longer we found each other, the thirstier I got for him. I felt like if we stopped, I would die, empty on the inside and forever longing.

 

About Karina Halle:

 

Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

 

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Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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When old friends become new lovers…anything can happen.

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at “hello.” His relationship with Emme’s best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that’s ever happened to her?

It isn’t easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she’s a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme’s always been the one; she excites Deck’s body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme’s past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she’ll let him . . .

 

Excerpt

I looked out my office window, down to the yard, my eyes to the bustling activity, and I did this tapping my phone on my desk.

I should be working but I wasn’t thinking about work.

I was thinking about Jacob.

More precisely, I was thinking about calling Jacob, had an overwhelming urge to do so.

I was also trying not to do so because I had a boyfriend, even though he was a boyfriend I wasn’t all that sure about. He was sweet, he was into me, but he was just… off.

Then again, I didn’t have a lot of experience so what did I know?

Additionally, after my dinner with Jacob last night, within an hour, I’d called him after ten at night and now it was only eleven thirty the next day.

I didn’t want him to think I was psycho, and calling him would imply psycho behavior. Further, when I called him last night, I’d asked him to dinner, which was dinner two nights in a row with a woman he hadn’t seen in nine years, a woman with a boyfriend, and that was semi-psycho.

Okay, maybe it was totally psycho.

I didn’t want Jacob to think I was psycho.

Ever.

But I wanted to hear his voice. I wanted to connect with him on the phone. I’d missed him and I liked having him back. I liked it a great deal.

I also missed him a great deal.

And I needed to ask him something. Further, he was the only one I could ask.

I looked from the yard to my phone. My mind telling my thumb not to do it, my thumb not listening, I found Jacob’s contact and hit go.

I put it to my ear.

“I’m a psycho,” I whispered and luckily finished whispering two seconds before Jacob’s voice sounded.

“You okay?” he answered.

He kept asking that mostly, I figured, because I kept calling when I didn’t need to so he probably thought something was wrong.

Or that I was a psycho.

“I need to know if you don’t eat anything,” I lied.

Actually, it wasn’t a lie. Although I remembered a lot about Jacob (most everything, in all honesty), I couldn’t recall if there was something specific he didn’t like to eat.

I could recall how beautiful he was, how tall he was, how strong he was. I could recall how smart he was and how funny he was. I could recall how cool he was with me. I could also recall how much I missed him. But I couldn’t recall if he didn’t like chicken.

But that wasn’t the only thing I needed to know. I needed to know something else too.

Much like last night, when he didn’t make me feel like a psycho, in fact, the opposite and sounded like he was happy to hear from me and would be willing to talk all night, he again sounded like me psychotically calling him yet again in a precursor to stalker way was no big deal.

“I don’t eat it, I’ll pick it off.”

“You can’t pick it off if I cook with it in it or if the mainstay of dinner on the whole is what you don’t eat,” I informed him.

“You makin’ Indian food?” he asked.

“No. Don’t you like Indian food?” I asked back.

“Love it,” he answered.

“Then why’d you ask if I was making Indian food?”

“ ’Cause I hoped you were.”

I burst out laughing.

No, Jacob definitely didn’t make me feel like I was being a psycho.

When I quit laughing, I told him, “Sorry, honey, I don’t know how to make Indian food.”

“Shame,” he muttered, a smile in his deep, attractive voice, and if I was on an infrared scanner, specific parts of me would have shown up hotter.

You have a boyfriend, Emme! I told myself.

For a while, I answered myself.

Jacob is also your ex–best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Emme! I reminded myself.

So? I asked myself.

I shoved those thought aside, thoughts that, if anyone knew I was talking to myself in my head might prove I was indeed a psycho, and pointed out to Jacob, “You haven’t actually answered the question.”

“I’ll eat what you cook, Emme. Cook what you like.”

He was such a nice guy.

He always was.

Nice. Tall (very tall). Handsome (unbelievably handsome). Smart (so damned smart). Funny. Interesting. Gentlemanly. And a repeat of nice because it was worth a repeat since he was just that nice.

I liked all that about him. I liked that he wore his dark hair way too long. I liked that sometimes a thick hank of it fell over his forehead and into his eye. I liked that he was who he was and didn’t wear designer jeans or put gel in his hair. I liked that, even considering he was extortionately intelligent, in fact, a genius, he never made anyone feel less than him because they weren’t as smart. I liked that he never acted superior or arrogant and with all that was him, looks, body, brains, he was one person who could. And I liked that he liked to do what he liked to do, he did what he liked to do and wouldn’t get pushed into doing something he didn’t want.

Like Elsbeth tried to do.

He’d lost her to that and he’d accepted it. I knew it killed. He’d loved her to distraction. But he refused to be the man she wanted him to be and instead was the man he was.

She should have seen she had it all even if he didn’t make bucketloads of money and thus couldn’t give her the life she was used to getting from her daddy. Country clubs, tennis lessons, vacations in villas in Italy and beaches in Thailand, fabulous homes kept by maids and fabulous meals cooked by cooks.

She didn’t see all she had.

Stupid.

About Kristen Ashley

 

Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.  And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

 

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Our Time is Now by Chlore Douglas [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Blurb  

When her controlling husband refuses to grant a divorce, Jessica Bragg doesn’t get mad – she gets even. Taking a hidden stash of cash from his desk, she starts a new life as a reporter in West Virginia. Covering Civil War reenactments isn’t exactly headline-making until an eerie flash of light brings her face-to-face with a living, breathing, strapping hunk of a Confederate soldier . . . Colonel Thaddeus MacAllister can’t explain how he ended up in his old homestead after 150 years-or why its beautiful new occupant reminds him of his own beloved wife. But when Thaddeus takes Jessica into his arms, it’s as if he’s known and loved her forever. Soon these star-crossed soulmates must fight for every moment together . . . before time runs out again.

Excerpt

Alarmingly, Gideon’s eyelids suddenly began to flutter. Moaning softly, he moved his head from side-to-side, as if he was trying to rouse himself from a deep slumber. A split-second later, Jessica found herself gazing into a pair of mesmerizing, blue eyes.

In those super-charged moments, a spark of recognition flashed between them, Jessica absolutely certain that she knew Gideon MacAllister from somewhere.

Without so much as moving a muscle, Gideon stared at her with what could only be called a look of profound longing.

Continuing to hold her in that steadfast gaze, Gideon secured a hand around each of her upper arms as he pulled her toward him. There was nothing rough or forceful in his manner; he was merely determined. Inexplicably excited, Jessica drew in a serrated breath. Having lost the ability to think clearly, she instinctively anchored her hands against Gideon’s shoulders. As though she’d just stuck a wet finger in a light socket, all ten fingers began to tingle.

In a slow, unhurried fashion, Gideon appraised her flushed face before his gaze slid down her neck, finally coming to a rest on her visibly heaving chest. Glancing downward, Jessica saw that her nipples were indecently outlined against her cotton T-shirt.

Breathlessly attuned to the impassioned silence that vibrated between them, Jessica knew that she had to pull away from him. Now. Before it was too late.

And though that was what she intended to do, her body simply refused to comply with her brain’s “retreat” order. If anything, her heart contrarily demanded that she stay put, certain that if she remained there long enough, Gideon would—

Yes. Just as her rebellious heart had hoped, Gideon raised his head to kiss her.

The instant that his lips touched hers, Jessica insanely thought that she may very well have been waiting for this moment her entire life. Even crazier than that, she was hit with a jolt of all-encompassing familiarity, too enthralled to ponder how such a thing could even be possible.

What began as a sweetly tender kiss snowballed into something else entirely, Gideon deepening the kiss, one intimate degree at time. As he suckled on her lower lip, a muffled whimper of pleasure lodged in Jessica’s throat. Welcoming his ardent exploration, she opened her mouth, reveling in the twining of lips and tongues.

And, boy, did it feel good. The kind of good that made her heart pound and her hips twitch. Eager for more, she brazenly smashed her breasts against Gideon’s torso. When he shuddered against her, Jessica deduced that he was as deeply affected by the kiss as she was.

Needing to pull air into her lungs, Jessica had no choice but to break the connection between their two mouths. His eyes closed shut, Gideon moved a hand to the back of her neck, his lips blazing a trail along the column of her neck.

 

 

Author Bio

Chloe Palov, writing romance as Chloe Douglas, was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from George Mason University with a degree in art history. Although she began her writing career in the romance genre, Chloe switched gears several years ago, making theChloe_Douglas_author photo - Copy leap to thrillers, written under the name C.M. Palov. Chloe is excited now to be returning to her romance roots. Chloe lives and writes with a menagerie of furry family members from her home in Virginia.

 

 

 

 

 

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