Tag Archive | book release

The Devil’s Daughter by Katee Robert

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FBI agent, Eden Collins is going home… to catch a killer.

Fans of Audey Harte’s It Takes One and Kendra Elliott’s Bone Secrets series, will devour The Devil’s Daughter, the fast-paced and suspenseful first book, in the Hidden Sins series by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Katee Robert.

 

Title: The Devil’s Daughter
Author: Katee Robert
Series: Hidden Sins #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Print Length: 316 pages
Format: Digital and Paperback
ISBN: 1503940918

 

robert_thedevilsdaughter_23176-cv-ftGrowing up in a small town isn’t easy, especially when you’re the daughter of a local cult leader. Ten years ago, Eden Collins left Clear Springs, Montana, and never once looked back. But when the bodies of murdered young women surface, their corpses violated and marked with tattoos worn by her mother’s followers, Eden, now an FBI agent, can’t turn a blind eye. To catch the killer, she’s going to have to return to the fold.

Sheriff Zach Owens isn’t comfortable putting Eden in danger, even if she is an elite agent. And he certainly wasn’t expecting to be so attracted to her. As calm and cool as she appears, he knows this can’t be a happy homecoming. Zach wants to protect her—from her mother, the cult, and the evil that lurks behind its locked gates. But Eden is his only key to the tight-lipped group, and she may just be closer to the killer than either one of them suspects…

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Excerpt:

By the time she made it back to the courtyard, it was empty, everyone having gone off to their varying duties. Martha might be a monster of a particular variety, but she had a well-run establishment.
But then, she would. Keep her people too busy to stop and wonder about some of the insane shit she preaches. That saying about idle hands didn’t originate with the Greeks, but her mother had never been shy about incorporating whatever dogma she found most useful. No one questioned it.

No one but Eden.

And she’d paid for every question she’d asked.

She stopped next to her car, slowing her movements, because if she didn’t exert total control, she was going to fling herself into the driver’s seat and tear out of here as fast as the car could go. She wouldn’t stop in Clear Springs. She’d just keep driving until she put a few states between her and Elysia.

Not an option. You made damn sure of that.

She noticed the door was unlocked and frowned. Had she locked it when she got here? Eden couldn’t be sure. She’d been so rattled and practically bursting with adrenaline and dread that it was entirely possible she’d headed for her mother’s house without pausing to lock the door.

But she didn’t think so.

She opened the driver’s door cautiously, half expecting something to explode. She only had cursory bomb training, so even if she swept the vehicle, she couldn’t be sure she’d find something. If there was even something to find. Hello, paranoia, my old friend. She turned a slow circle, trying to figure out if someone would have had enough time to plant something. If a person had the know-how, setting up a bomb in a half hour was cake.

Way to be reassuring.

She leaned back into the car, a flash of white and yellow catching her eye. Frowning, she leaned in farther and used the pen in her cup holder to hook the circular wreath of daisies lying on the floorboard of the passenger side. It looked like the kind of thing she’d made when she was a kid and bored out of her ever-loving mind during the summer. She’d weave together the flowers that grew in the fields of Elysia into something very similar to this and wear it while she pretended she was Persephone, just waiting for her Hades to appear and whisk her away to be his queen. Eden dropped it like it’d caught fire. She’d completely forgotten about playing that game. Hell, no one knew she’d done it. She’d always been alone out there.

Or so she’d thought.

She wanted to throw the flowers away, to rip the wreath apart and grind it beneath her boots. But it was most definitely some kind of evidence. Even if there was no trace on there to find whoever had left it, it was proof that someone had been watching her when she got here.

Apparently my instincts aren’t as ravaged as I thought.

She wasn’t sure if that was comforting or terrifying.takeadvantage_tdd

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

The Author:

katee_robert_authorNew York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

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Divine Awakening by Lia Davis

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Lex and Desiree must fast their pasts and their fears.

Out Jan 17th – Divine Awakening, the final book in the Urban Fantasy Paranormal Romance series, The Divinities.

Title: Divine Awakening
Series: The Divinities #4
Author: Lia Davis
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Release Date: January 17, 2017

 

divine-awakening-book-4A mother’s love is her greatest power.

Divinity witch, Desiree Sanders has made a lot of bad choices in her life, but trusting the demoness, Samoan should earn her the award for traitor of the millennium. After several failed attempts to set things right, Desiree turns to the dark, sexy Death Demon, Lex for help saving her son and ending the war.

There’s no darker place than the soul of a demon.

Divinity guardian, Alexander, AKA Lex, has hardened his heart and locked away emotions following the betrayal of his mate over three hundred years ago. Until he meets the quiet and beautiful Desiree, and the walls around his heart start to crumble. When she calls him for help, broken and scared, he can’t deny her, and the urge to claim her for his own becomes an overwhelming need.

Trapped in the Underworld as the war between witches and demons escalates, Lex and Desiree must face their pasts and their fears—and open their hearts—if they are to find a way out. Meanwhile, the Divinities in the natural world prepare for a battle that is no longer just dark versus light. If lost, it could mean the end of life as they know it.

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Excerpt #1:

“They’re here,” Lex said with a growl as he, Desiree, Zach, and Lydia crept along the dark corridors of Khan’s castle. The smell of sulfur and dirt tingled his nose. Even though Lex had a home in the Underworld, he didn’t spend much time there. Not since Khan had taken over, anyway. “The hounds are separated and masked with a spell.”

His keen sense of dark magic came from his Death Demon half and his connection to Hecate—Goddess of Witchcraft. Khan may believe he’d hidden Teddy-Bear, but not from everyone. The fool bastard.

Lex fisted his hands. It took every fiber of his being to hold onto his control. The hounds couldn’t survive spit apart for much longer. As Siamese twins, their magic and souls were linked. They were growing weaker by the moment.

Reaching out to mind link with the hounds, he found Teddy first in a room a few feet away. Then he heard the faint thump, thump of the hellhound’s heartbeat.

“He’s alive. Thank the goddess.” We’re coming, buddy.

A low growl from Lydia at his back told him she wasn’t pleased with the hounds being apart. “Do you know where they are?”

With a short nod, he advanced down a hallway in quick strides. He uncurled his magic, letting it flow wildly within and waited for an attack. Lydia, Zach, and Desiree followed, having to fall into a light jog to keep up with him.

“Things are too quiet.” Zach spoke in a hushed tone; concern and fear of what was ahead of them drifted from him. Dark, elfin magic rose within the male and reached out to Lex’s senses.
Yeah, things were too quiet.

Stopping a few feet down the hall, Lex stopped and faced them. He flicked a hard stare to the door they had stopped a few feet from. Cold, lethal power rose in his veins. The hounds were his family—what little he had left—and he’d be damned if Khan got away with harming them. “Teddy is in there. Zach and Lydia, you get him. Desiree and I will get Bear. We’ll meet at the Divinity House.”

The reason for not busting down the door and freeing Teddy was that Bear’s heartbeat sounded stronger. Teddy would need Lydia’s healing touch. Lex figured it’d be quicker to rush down the hall and collect Bear while Lydia healed Teddy.

When they reached the door, Lex didn’t bother to check the lock. He just plowed through the thick wood, tearing the thing off its hinges. The room was empty except for a large cage in the center with Bear standing in it, teeth bared.

The hound met Lex’s gaze and snarled, “The place is going to blow.”

 

 
The Author:

lia-davisIn 2008, Lia Davis ventured into the world of writing and publishing and never looked back. She has published more than twenty books, including the bestselling A Tiger’s Claim, book one in her fan favorite Ashwood Falls series. Her novels feature compassionate yet strong alpha heroes who know how to please their women and her leading ladies are each strong in their own way. No matter what obstacle she throws at them, they come out better in the end.

While writing was initially a way escape from real world drama, Lia now makes her living creating worlds filled with magic, mystery, romance, and adventure so that others can leave real life behind for a few hours at a time.

Lia’s favorite things are spending time with family, traveling, reading, writing, chocolate, coffee, nature and hanging out with her kitties. She and her family live in Northeast Florida battling hurricanes and very humid summers, but it’s her home and she loves it! Sign up for her newsletter, become a member of her fan club, and follow her on Twitter.

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Excerpt #2:

Stuck in Hell with a Death Demon without the earth her Divinity half craved… The magic in the Underworld was heavy and dark. She needed to get home.

Folding her arms, she glared at Lex while trying to tamp down the rush of desire his presence caused. “I hope you know of a way to get back home.”

He grunted and pushed past her as if ending the conversation.

Oh no, he doesn’t. She whirled around and followed him through the living room to the study across from his bedroom. “There is another way out, right?”

Another grunt was her answer.

She pursed her lips and studied him as he pulled several books from the shelves. “What are you looking for?”

“A way out.”

Well, didn’t that answer her questions? She rolled her eyes and left the room. Fine. If he weren’t going to talk to her, she’d search for her own way home. Pushing out the back door, she scowled at the gloom of the Underworld. The air held hints of rosemary and sulfur. Reminded her of Samoan’s scent, only not as sweet.

Breathing deeply, she closed her eyes and called her Porter half to the surface, beseeching the lost souls she felt in every shadow of the Underworld to aid her in crossing to the natural realm. Instead of helping her, they attacked. Rushed around her, through her, raging like angry beams of light.

What the fuck? There were too many of them tearing at her. They called her a witch and thought she was responsible for trapping them there. Many even screamed in her mind. She curled into a ball on the ground, her arms wrapped protectively around her head.

Pain rocketed through her, and she screamed out as she blasted the spirits with everything she had stored up and hadn’t gotten to use at the castle. Instantly, they vanished.

Uncurling and pushing to her feet, she met the green eyes of a hellhound. He watched her with eyes much too humanlike. Then a shudder went through its body as it…shifted?

A moment later, Mathew stood in front of her. My son. Her heart lurched in her chest and tears filled her eyes. “Matty,” she breathed, making the kid narrow his eyes in curiosity.

“No one calls me that. Who are you?”

 

More books from The Divinities

Forgotten Visions

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Death’s Storm

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Dark Divine

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Jan 16th

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – Guest Post
Carol Kittie Reviews – Review
Jen’s Reading Obsession – Spotlight
Lisa’s Loves(Books of Course) – Guest Post
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Wonderful World of Books – Spotlight

Jan 17th

I Love Books – Spotlight
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Sex, Blood, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and Vampyr

by K. M. McFarland

“I’m so excited to announce the release of Sex, Blood, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and Vampyr (Book 1 of The Bloodline Trilogy). The book is now available in digital and paperback.”

~K. M. McFarland

 
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 West Side’s front man and lead singer, Quinn Forrester, and the band’s lead guitarist, Jeff West, were like brothers, so when Quinn mysteriously disappeared in 1989, Jeff suspected foul play. With no evidence to back up his suspicions, Jeff was not able to convince the authorities. What Jeff doesn’t know is that Quinn became a vampire that night and hid away in secret in the dark shadows of New Orleans.

Years later when Quinn and his daughter, Nadia, formed a nightclub act, Quinn stepped back into the local spotlight. Vampires don’t age as mortals do, so to explain that Quinn reinvented himself as his son.

Twenty-five years after Quinn’s sudden unexplained departure from the band, the opening of an art gallery brings Jeff West to New Orleans. A beautiful artist, Quinn’s lookalike son, a vampire tour and a series of events lead Jeff to Quinn. Will Jeff finally uncover the shocking truth about what happened to Quinn?

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Take a look inside the book:

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Here’s Another Sneaky Peek:

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The Author:

71d1sn2gfvl-_ux250_From Nashville, Tennessee to spending most of her childhood on the Florida beaches, K. M. McFarland made her way to the Big Easy. Intrigued by its ambiance, stories of Voodoo, vampires, ghosts, and haunted houses have been her inspiration as well as her fascination with New Orleans’ colorful history. Aside from roaming the French Quarter researching her next book, she enjoys photography, reading, music, and art. As long as there’s a cup of coffee and a glass of dry red wine in her day, life is good.

 

 

Mayhem by Gemma Brocato

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One man, one muse, one romance to save the world

Out Nov 8th – the second book in The Goddesses Of Delphi series: Mayhem by Gemma Brocato

Follow the blast and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or one of two signed copies of Tyranny.

 
Title: Mayhem
Series: Goddesses of Delphi #2
Author: Gemma Brocato
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Length: 212 Pages
Format: Digital
Digital ISBN: 1-944513-12-4

mayhemfinalA freak solar flare plunges Nia Thanos, Muse of Astronomy, into an evil immortal’s attempt at a hostile take over of Olympus Enterprises. Her jobs—save the family business while rescuing the world from pandemonium. To eliminate the menace she must convince one mortal man to believe in the magic of what if.

‘Doubting Thomas’ Wilde hosts a television program aimed at busting myths. But when Nia confesses to being a Muse, it’s one myth he can’t bust, or believe. His refusal to help leaves Nia to face the challenge on her own.

Riots, looting, and general anarchy are minor problems compared to what’s coming if the balance of power shifts on Olympus. Nia’s undeniable attraction to Thomas wreaks havoc on her heart and threatens her ability to secure the safety of humankind. Nia finds herself fighting to persuade the one man she can’t live without to help save the world.

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Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Excerpt:

“Why did they all walk away? All those people. Surely someone was more qualified than us to help that poor man.” Nia’s voice was muffled against his shoulder. The warmth of her hands oozed into his pecs, triggering a heated response in his groin. Her body snugged tightly to his was about the only thing that seemed right in the world.

“Who knows? Tonight kind of proves my theory that there isn’t any good left in the world. People are absorbed in their own lives. They don’t care about what is going on around them.” He tightened his grip around her waist.

“You can’t possibly believe that. What about people volunteering for charities? What about all those random acts of kindness the media likes to report?”

God, he wished he could believe in those things. He rested his hands on the small of her back. “When was the last time you actually read or heard about someone doing anything altruistic? Even the charities you mentioned are only really in it for the money.”

She leaned away and gazed into his eyes. “That’s an awfully jaded view of the world, Thomas.”

“I’ve seen too much pain and suffering. In my own family and others. Human kindness is as much of a myth as the Loch Ness monster.”

“Actually, Nessie isn’t myth at all. He’s one of Poseidon’s offspring condemned to the loch for some infraction eons ago.” A shock of her sunny red hair flopped over her brow as she shook her head. A grin spread across her face. “That’s it. I’m officially on a mission to enlighten you about the goodness of human nature.”

“You’re welcome to try.” He slanted a kiss across her smiling lips, probed them with his tongue.

She slid her arms around his neck, stretching up on her toes. Her breasts pressed to his chest stirred him. His cock jumped to life. Gathering her closer, he pressed the curve of her buttocks, increasing the contact between her hips and his. He didn’t care if she’d become aware of the depth of his attraction to her. Or that the attraction he felt to her happened this fast, or was more powerful than anything he’d ever experienced. Days. They’d known each other only a handful of days, and already, he wanted more with her.

The fact was—he was enthralled by the feel of her body, the press of her lips, the glide of her tongue against his. He let go the residual negativity left by the accident, and the crowd’s response. Sinking into the kiss with this gorgeous woman warmed his heart and soul.

He opened his lips on hers and stroked his tongue into the warm cave of her mouth. He backed up until his shoulders contacted the rough bark of a massive, old oak tree. Tightening his grip around her waist, he spun them in a half circle until he had her sandwiched between the tree and his body. The kiss deepened until it bordered on voracious. He was hungry for her in a way he hadn’t been hungry for a woman in a long time. There was no denying he wanted this woman. In his arms…in his bed. In his life.

 

More from the Goddesses of Delphi series!

 

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Tyranny

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Free through November 9th!!

 
The Author:

gemma_brocatoGemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue a career as a romance author.
Gemma focuses mainly on contemporary and paranormal romance, with an occasional detour into science fiction romance. Her titles are available in digital and print-on-demand at all major retailers.

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A FOOL FOR YOU by Katee Robert

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He never thought he’d get a second chance.  A Fool For You is the third and final novel in the Foolproof Love series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Katee Robert and Entangled Publishing.

Title: A Fool For You
Author: Katee Robert
Series: Foolproof Love #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 3, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Brazen

affy_1600It’s been thirteen years since Hope Moore left Devil’s Falls, land of sexy cowboys and bad memories. Back for the weekend, she has no intention of seeing the man she never got over…or the two of them getting down and dirty. It’s just a belated goodbye, right? No harm, no foul.

Until six weeks later, when her pregnancy test comes back positive…

Daniel Rodriguez hasn’t forgiven himself for how things went down with Hope all those years ago. He knows she’s better off without him, but when she shows up on his doorstep, panicking because she’s pregnant with his baby, he can’t help seeing it as a chance to make up for the past.

Too bad Hope has no intention of going along with his plans.

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Excerpt:
He turned to find Hope standing behind him. Again. “You sure move quiet when you want to.” Especially for a woman with a bum leg. Not that he could say as much without sounding like a jackass.
“You mean since I had my knee replaced.” Of course she knew what he meant anyway. Apparently damn near reading his mind was one annoying habit she hadn’t outgrown.
“I didn’t say that.”
“You didn’t have to.” She leveraged herself down next to him, the move not quiet as smooth as it’d been when she was eighteen.
Daniel almost cursed. He had to stop doing that. Comparing her now to how she was then wasn’t fair to either of them. It was another lifetime completely, and thinking about it was just fucking depressing. “Hope—”
“Are you seeing anyone?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
He was so surprised by the question that he answered honestly, “Why the fuck would I bother?”
“Oh, I don’t know, because you don’t want to be a creepy old man who lives in the middle of nowhere and has to run off silly high school kids with his shotgun because they tell ghost stories about him?”
He looked at her, half sure that she was the one who’d lost her damn mind. “That’s not a thing.”
“It is most definitely a thing.” She leaned back on her hands and stared at the sky. The most move arched her back and pressed her breasts against the fancy tank top she wore. It was made of some kind of drapey fabric that looked soft and shiny, and it highlighted the fact that he seriously doubted she was wearing a bra. “You’re too young to just give up.”
“It’s not about giving up.” Though he didn’t expect Hope to understand that. He’d checked up on her a few times since the accident, and every single time he was amazed at the things she’d accomplished. Life had kicked her in the teeth and she’d come back swinging. She’d taken two years off and then attended the University of Texas and graduated with honors. She ran her own successful consulting business to work with companies that wanted to set up scholarships and nonprofits.
She shifted to look at him. “It looks like giving up from where I’m sitting.”affy_lookp

 
The Author:

katee-robert-03-originalNew York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

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#YOURENEXT by R. l. Weeks

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#yourenext

What happens when someone decides to play a dangerous game on the world’s biggest networking site? It gives everyone else a gateway to do the same. Follow the accounts of three sets of people as they all play their parts in the #yourenext hashtag with dire consequences.

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R. l. Weeks is a fantasy and horror author living in Exeter, UK. She grew up in Devon surrounded by local folklore which she incorporates into her writing.

Into the Myth, published by CHBB, One Way Out and See No Evil, published by Vamptasy, are available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle.

She wants to write novels to inspire and help young people in the same way that fantasy books helped her. Horror is a genre that she wants to bring people back to.

‘It’s such a deep genre. It’s so much more than just scaring people; it gives them a sense of empowerment. I’m obsessed with the reality of the human condition and the darker shades of humanity. I try to tell my stories from a different viewpoint.’

R. l. Weeks

 

 

Sweet Destiny by Lizabeth Scott

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Sweet Destiny CoverMari and Ki’s story began in the Royal Vow Series, Sweet Surrender. As I finished what I thought to be the last book of the series, Sweet Temptation, I discovered Mari and Ki had another story to tell. I hope you enjoy this two part story of their sweet destiny. Don’t worry, as a thank you treat I’ve included both parts of this story in one book, Sweet Destiny.

Part 1
The King’s Sweet Revenge

Mari and Ki are just as much in love today as they were seven years ago when they first fell in love. As the King and Queen of Tanistan they’re faced with many of the same issues as most married couples. Their time is not their own and commitments and work keep them apart much too often.
After three children Mari is beginning to feel as if she doesn’t measure up to the expectations of her husband or of her country. When Ki cancels yet another private dinner to go out of town with his very attractive and size two assistant Mari overfills her schedule to keep the silly voices in her head silent.

Part 2
The Queen’s Sweet Return

Mari and Ki are faced with the challenge of rebuilding their marriage. Would they fall in love a second time? Were they really destined to be together?
While Mari and Ki still have the same explosive chemistry, Mari can’t help but wonder which woman lay in his arms and in his heart.

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NOTE: While Sweet Destiny is a very sweet read this book has steamy hot sexual scenes and is written for 18+ readers. If you don’t like sexy time in the ocean, in the shower, in the kitchen …well you get it. Then this story isn’t for you.

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Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Mari finished her last mile on the treadmill in the palace gym and guzzled a bottle of water, not even caring that most of it spilled down the front of her sweat-drenched t-shirt. As she tried to catch her breath, she used the bottom of her shirt to wipe beads of perspiration from her face, a very unqueenly thing to do. She looked around cautiously, hoping none of the council elders were lurking nearby.

She grimaced as she walked on wobbly legs by the wall of mirrors on her way to the dressing room. Her baby was almost a year old, and Mari couldn’t lose the last ten pounds of baby weight. No matter how much she dieted or worked out, those pesky pounds refused to leave her.


Pushing open the door, she was instantly greeted by Gena, her secretary and the group of people that transformed her into Queen Mari for palace appearances. Gena followed her into the shower room and updated her on her schedule for the day. Mari only half listened as she quickly washed and pulled on a robe. Once she sat in the make-up chair, Gena opened the door and allowed Kevin and Dalia in.


Usually, she enjoyed sitting and planning her day while they worked their magic with her hair and make-up. Today, all she could focus on was the way Ki had kissed her good-night and then rolled over and had gone to sleep. Normally, she wouldn’t have thought anything about it. After all, he was king and had been working long hours lately on new ecommerce contracts for their country. But, he hadn’t even noticed the new peignoir set she was wearing. She was just being silly. He’d been so busy that they hadn’t been able to have any alone time in over a month, and she was missing her man.


An hour later, Mari’s hair and make-up finished, Keshia, her dresser, entered pushing a rolling closet filled with Mari’s outfits for the day. No matter how much she insisted, the publicity committee wouldn’t allow her to wear the same outfit at different functions. That seemed like a total waste to her. What did it matter if she was photographed wearing the same outfit twice?


She checked the time; if she hurried she could get one more hug from her children before she left for the first appointment of the day. As the residing queen of Tanistan she missed not having time to devote to her children. Ki had insisted she cut back her schedule after Janel was born, but with Kaden and Shayla in school now, taught by their aunt Kassie, Mari had increased her workload accordingly.


Keshia held out a tailored black skirt for her to slip into, zipped it up, and then pulled the matching coat from the rack.


“Oh, Keshia, you missed a tag.” A garment tag was pinned to the bottom of the skirt. Mari looked at it and her bottom lip began to tremble. “Keshia, this says a size ten. I wear a size six.” She stared at those double digits, willing them to be the incorrect size but so afraid they weren’t.


“Well, ma’am,” Keshia began to fidget. “Perhaps the sizing is off.”


“How long, Keshia?” Mari looked from the tag to the woman who had been dressing her for years, the woman who would do anything to keep from hurting her feelings.


“Ma’am, you’ve just had a baby.”


“A year ago, Keshia. I had a baby a year ago.” Mari slumped down in a chair. “I just don’t know why I can’t lose those last ten pounds.”


“If I may say, ma’am, your curves are very attractive. My mother says a man likes more of a woman to love.” Keshia’s smile turned into concern as she grabbed a tissue for the queen, “Please don’t cry, ma’am. Your makeup; remember your makeup.”


“Have all of my clothes been replaced with larger sizes?” Mari asked tearfully, but she knew the answer when Keshia was much more concerned with the clothes remaining on the rack than answering her question. “Never mind. I’m just going to have to work harder.”


The rest of her day was busy but, thankfully, uneventful. When she finished for the day, she couldn’t wait to shower and change into Mom instead of Queen Mari. She first checked on the baby in the nursery and was disappointed when she found her napping. She knew she had responsibilities as queen, and she took those duties very seriously, but she missed her children. Ki had insisted she hire nannies for the children after Janel was born, and she hated it.


Shayla and Kaden met her at the schoolroom door, jumping with excitement to see her.


“Mommy, come see my drawing,” Shayla giggled as she took her hand and led her back to the work table. “This is Daddy, and this is you!”


Mari admired the picture, “I see Daddy has his crown on.”


“Yes, this is his crown, and this is a soccer ball,” Shayla proudly pointed out.


Mari smiled; she couldn’t ever remember seeing Ki play soccer with a crown on. The picture was pretty good; her daughter may actually have some drawing abilities.


“And what’s this? Why is Mommy wearing a mask?” Mari pointed to the picture of herself.


“No, Mommy, that’s not a mask,” Shayla giggled and pointed to Mari’s eyes in the picture. “That’s those lines around your eyes.”


Mari’s hand went instantly to her eyes and she tried to give her daughter a proud smile. Did she really have crow’s feet? That’s what her mother always called them, but older people that had them, not her. After spending a few moments more with her children, she left so Kassie could get back to their lessons.


Her first stop after leaving the schoolroom was the bathroom down the hall. She peered into the mirror and gasped when she saw the start of a few lines around the corners of her eyes. When did those happen? She wasn’t a vain person, but realizing her body was beginning to change and mature was unsettling at best.


And then a small little niggle of a thought started forming in her mind. Was that why Ki hadn’t kissed her last night? No, absolutely not. Ki loved her just the way she was, but what if he wasn’t attracted to her any longer? Her new gown from last night was in his favorite color, and it was see-through in all the naughty places. A year ago he would have taken one look at her and the gown would have ended up on the floor within thirty seconds.


No, she absolutely refused to allow any thoughts like that into her head. What she needed was a visit with her husband, and that was exactly what she was going to do. Ki would tell her she was silly, and then maybe they could do that thing she liked so much on his desk. Her insides felt all shivery at the thought.


Mari made her way to the office wing of the palace and stopped when the woman sitting behind the assistant’s desk wasn’t Rima. In fact, the woman sitting behind the desk would have looked at home on the cover of Sports Illustrated. “Who are you?” Mari asked, as she straightened her blue button down shirt, which suddenly made her feel very dowdy.


“I’m Benita, Your Highness. Rima moved to the States to be closer to her grandchildren.”


Had she been so busy that she didn’t even remember Ki telling her about Rima? “I see. How long have you been working with my husband?”


“Almost a month now. It’s a very rewarding job, and Ki is so wonderful to work with. He has been very patient and understanding while teaching me.”


Mari’s ears perked up at this causal reference to her husband, “Ki?” Her eyebrow raised in displeasure.


“Oh yes. Ki asked me to forgo his royal title since we would be working so closely.”


“I see.” But she really didn’t…or maybe she was beginning to.


“May I help you?”


“Yes…” Mari pushed her shoulders back and straightened herself to the full potential of her five-foot-four-inch frame. “I’m here to see my husband. Is he available?” Ki hadn’t mentioned he had a new assistant. Why would that be? That little voice was back, and she didn’t like what it was saying one little bit.


“Yes, Your Highness. Shall I announce you?”


“No, that won’t be necessary.” Mari took one more look at the picture perfect Benita and made her way down the hall and into Ki’s office.


Mari pushed the door open and paused. Ki smiled and motioned her in while talking on the phone. He held up one finger letting her know that he would only be another minute. From listening to his end of the conversation, things weren’t going well with the ecommerce committee. Just as she always did, she scooted on top of the desk right beside Ki. Usually that was an open invitation for his hand to wander, no matter who he was on the phone with. But today, he pushed her hip over to get at a piece of paper beneath her and then began to take notes.


Mari’s gaze ran appreciatively over her husband. If anything, he had only grown more handsome through the years. There wasn’t a single gray hair anywhere in his thick, dark hair. Shayla couldn’t have drawn lines in his picture because there weren’t any to be found. His jacket was thrown over a chair, and his white dress shirt was unbuttoned at the collar exposing that small triangle of skin that always drove her crazy. It was always her favorite place to cuddle. His body hadn’t changed either; he was just as tall and muscular as ever. He didn’t even wear glasses. Mari frowned, at her last doctor’s visit she’d been prescribed glasses—only to read with, of course. Mari sighed. It didn’t seem fair that men aged more gracefully than women.


When his one minute turned into ten, she decided to wait and talk to him at dinner. She jumped down from the desk and kissed him on the cheek. She turned back around before she went through the door, and Ki never looked up. Did he even know she had left?


Mari chided herself all the way down the hallway. The thoughts running through her head were preposterous, and she refused to give any credence to them. Benita was a lot younger and firmer than she was. Mari even bet her breasts were perky, something that Mari’s stopped being around child number two.


She didn’t get to talk with Ki at dinner because he sent a message that “they” would have something sent to his office and he regretted he would be unable to attend dinner. Mari didn’t want to dwell too long on who “they” were. Often-times Ki needed to work late. Her appetite gone, she pushed her food around on her plate and finally gave up the pretense of eating. She spent time playing with the children, tucked them into bed after their bath, and read them their favorite story.


After a quick shower, she dressed in Ki’s favorite shorty nightgown and settled in on the couch in their sitting area with a new romance novel she was reading on her ereader. She must have dozed because she woke with a sore neck, with the room in darkness, lit only by a small lamp on the end table. She checked the time and couldn’t believe Ki was still working at three in the morning. Her steps faltered when she found Ki sleeping soundly in their bed. Never could she remember a time, in all the years of their marriage, when he hadn’t carried her to bed after finding her asleep on the couch. Never.


He was tired. That’s all it was, she said to herself as she closed the bathroom door and flipped the light switch. Her lower lip began to tremble when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.


She ripped her gown off, and there it was staring back at her. Her breasts were no longer perky and firm. She picked them up in her hands and moved them up to where they used to be. Dropping them back down into their new deflated position, she ran her hands down her body and over her fluffy stomach. Turning sideways, she saw the once-flat area between her hip bones was now rounded over and … she peered closer to the mirror and squinted because she wasn’t wearing her glasses. Where were her hipbones? They were still there; she just had to push on the bone to find them.


Her lower lip began to tremble again when her eyes moved lower to her bottom. Ki always loved her bottom. Now her butt was just a great big mass sitting on the top of her legs. This was how Ki saw her. No longer did she have the body he first married. Did he no longer find her attractive? Was that why it had been almost a month since the only thing they’d done in their bed was sleep?


A month… hmm. Mari tapped her finger against her bottom lip, deep in thought. She remembered the conversation she had with Ki’s new personal assistant. Benita said she had started working with Ki about a month ago. No, Ki would never cheat on her. That was a preposterous thought. If there was one thing she knew about her husband, she knew he would never turn to another woman. But the woman gazing at her from the mirror wondered if he still desired her.


She refused to allow those thoughts into her head. Instead, she pulled on her workout clothes and headed to the palace gym. If she hurried she could put in a couple hours on the treadmill before the children awoke.

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The Author:

Liz Scott Profile PicWho is Liz Scott? A voracious reader, full-time writer wanna be, wife, mother, and PA to two terrier terrors, Powder & Moxie. Liz is the author of The Royal Vow and Hearts of Gold Series and a Carolina girl who loves sand between her toes as frequently as possible. Liz is also known as GumShoeMom on the Geo-Caching circuit.

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