She yawned as she closed the door, more exhausted than she had expected. She fell asleep quickly and slept far better than she had the night before, then rose at the first gray light of dawn. She went in to shower and get ready for the day, dressed in a conservative dark brown skirt suit and heeled pumps, then quietly cracked open the door to the living room.
Bran was already up, standing with his back to her, one hand on his hip, the other pressing his cell phone against his ear. A pair of white cotton briefs that hugged his round behind was all he had on.
Jessie’s mouth went dry. His suntanned back was smooth, except for a jagged scar on one side, and ridged with solid muscle. Bands of muscle defined his shoulders and arms, and long sinewy legs tapered down to narrow feet.
She told herself to close the door before Bran caught her staring at him like a juicy piece of meat, but instead she just stood there, her heart pounding, her breathing a little ragged.
She was just pulling herself under control when he turned, the phone still pressed to his ear. Jessie froze. Her gaze shot to the heavy bulge at the front of his briefs and she felt a rush of heat so hot it made her dizzy. Muscular pecs and six-pack abs. A lean, hard-muscled chest and amazing biceps. Desire hit her so hard she swayed on her feet.
She didn’t move till Bran jerked the blanket off his make-shift bed and wrapped it around his waist, knocking her out of her self-imposed trance and flushing her face with embarrassment.
“Sorry,” she managed to breathlessly whisper, stepped back and slammed the door. Ohmygod, ohmygod. She hadn’t felt the least attraction to a man for so long she’d forgotten what it was like. Correction, she had never felt the jolt of desire she had felt looking at Brandon Garrett. Ohmygod.
She told herself he was probably used to that kind of reaction from a woman, or at least the women who had seen him nearly naked. Jessie sank down on the bed. What could she possibly say to him? How could she explain?
But no words of explanation popped into her head.
Since she couldn’t hide in the bedroom all day, and because Bran undoubtedly wanted to take a shower, she inhaled a deep breath, opened the door, and walked out into the living room.
“Sorry about that,” she said.
He had pulled on his jeans but the rest of him was still gloriously bare. “No problem. I should have grabbed one of those terrycloth robes in the bathroom.”
She just nodded. “Yeah.” Her fingers curled into the palms of her hands as she walked past him toward the counter where he had brewed a pot of coffee.
“Mind if I use the shower?” he asked.
“Of course not. You’re paying for the room.” When he opened his mouth, she held up a hand. “Sorry, no more talk about money.”
She took a mug down from the cabinet above the sink and filled it with coffee, her hands still a bit unsteady.
“Why don’t you order us something to eat?” Bran suggested as he crossed the room toward the bedroom. “I won’t be too long.”
“Bacon and eggs?” she asked.
“Sounds great.” As he disappeared through the door and closed it behind him, Jessie sank down on one of the chairs at the dining table, coffee mug gripped tightly in her hands. At least now she knew the abduction hadn’t completely destroyed her desire for the opposite sex.
Or at least one member of the opposite sex. She grimaced. She just wished the man who had rekindled her long-dead fire wasn’t Brandon Garrett.
Bran turned on the shower, set the nozzle to cold, and climbed in beneath the icy spray. He clenched his jaw, fighting to block a memory of the look on Jessie’s pretty face when he had spotted her in the bedroom doorway. Trying to block the erection he got every time the image reappeared in his head.
Bran knew women. He knew when a woman wanted him. He swore softly, cursing the fate that had brought the two of them together, putting them both in a situation that could only get worse.
So far he had managed to suppress the desire he’d felt from the moment Jessie had walked into his office. With her fire-touched blond hair and fine features, she was beautiful. He liked her body and admired her brain. In a softly feminine way, she was sexy as hell, and he wanted her–no doubt about it.
But aside from the erotic dream he’d had about her last night, he’d been doing an admirable job of controlling his lust.
Until this morning. When the flush in her cheeks and the heat in her eyes had made it clear that the desire he felt was returned. She wanted him. Which meant he had to be the strong one because no way could he have her and just walk away.
Jessie wasn’t the type he usually slept with, women who didn’t require exclusivity and didn’t expect to give it in return.
He was fairly sure Jessie hadn’t been with a man since she was abducted. He sure as hell didn’t want to be the first, didn’t want to deal with whatever trauma she had experienced, maybe make it worse.
Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, was released in paperback December 29th.
Date Published: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Skyla Overland is proud to work for Overland Insurance, the company founded by her grandfather. She enjoys sharing an apartment with her best friend, Pauline, and is in love with Edmond. Besides one nerve-wracking insurance fraud case in the past, her sheltered life is uneventful and just the way she likes it.
Until one day, everything changes…
Skyla and Troy, the manager at Overland Insurance, are the last ones to leave the office. In the empty parking lot, Troy takes her in his arms. Why would he ruin their easy-going friendship by kissing her, especially since he knows she’s dating Edmond?
Left alone, Skyla hurries to her car, puts on her seatbelt, and glances in her rearview mirror.
The face of a stranger grins at her from the backseat. “How nice to see you again,” he hisses close to her ear.
Regaining consciousness, Skyla finds herself on the backseat of her own car, with her hands tied behind her back. Is she getting kidnapped? Who is he? And where is he taking her?
About the Author
Ramcy Diek fell in love with the United States during her travels with her husband. The Pacific Northwest became their new home, where they built up their RV Park and raised their two sons.
During this time, Ramcy also made a slow transition from reader to multi-genre writer. Her debut novel “Storm at Keizer Manor” received multiple awards. This inspired her to spend more time doing what she loves most: writing stories.
Eagles in Flight, a romantic suspense novel, is her second book. Her third novel “Overland”, a dramatic thriller, followed in November 2020.
Follow her on Social Media to stay informed about the release of her next novels. She loves to hear from you.
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Published: April 2020
Publisher: Indies United Publishing House
The Void belongs to everyone and belongs to no one. Because of the Cultural War Treaty, the federal government or any agent under their control cannot enter the Void. Ruled for nearly sixty by gangs and drug cartels, the “settlers” of the Void must live by their wits and their skill at arms.
Raised by scientists who had been sequestered in an underground complex in the Texas panhandle, the Walsh family employs their genius and talents to forever change the quality of life for the citizens of the Void using technologies far beyond the imagination of ordinary people.
When government forces enter the Void on a capture-or-kill mission which has targeted two extraordinarily gifted children, they run headlong into this family of geniuses and Texas Rangers who dedicate themselves to protect the children. The feds soon realize that they are mice attempting to capture one very mean, intelligent cat. The stakes must be raised. Lives are lost. War ensues.
About the Author
Born in Houston, Texas, Andrew was raised in a family of seven brothers. Most of the action and adventure that dominated his young life was that which sprang from the imaginations of the brothers Raiford. Since there was no limit to the stories they could create through their play-acting, it was not uncommon to have Daniel Boone not only be attacked by bears or red-coats, but also Nazis and/or extraterrestrial conquerors. Imaginative eight-year-olds care nothing for history.
During his young adult years, Andrew took on some very odd jobs to keep his young family fed. For two years he was a real cowboy who rode and roped and pushed cattle on a large ranch nestled in the snow-capped mountains of northern California. After moving back to his home state of Texas he worked in the printing business as a journeyman pressman, and later in gun sales and corporate security.
Andrew even worked in church ministry for ten years during the period that he and his wife raised five talented children. They would later become the inspiration for Andrew’s first novel, Void of Power – New Generation, which surprisingly contains no Nazis or extraterrestrial invaders.
Date Published: 11/17/2020
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing
Nineteen-year-old Juliet can’t shake the nightmares after surviving a brutal bank robbery. In order to put those terrifying memories behind, she’ll have to testify against the criminal known as the Half Face. She convinces herself that she is perfectly safe, until he manages to break free and grab the nearest hostage he sets his sights on. Her.
In an effort to escape the captivity of the law, and his tortured past, the Half Face takes Juliet on an obsessive search for answers and redemption. During the harsh journey, his unpredictability fuels Juliet’s worst fear, that he just may be insane and beyond any hope of saving.
I glance at my watch. Fifteen minutes to go. It seems both too fast and too slow.
I go over the rehearsed words in my head. What if I forget everything I need to say? What if I black out, or cry? I don’t want to cry where he can see me. No, that cannot happen.
In an attempt to distract myself, I slide my phone out of my pocket and mindlessly scroll through the menu. I freeze when I come across the news feed.
Liveblog: trial of top-criminal known as “the Half Face” continuing today.
Someone in that courtroom is twittering the events, and I’m locked up in this miserable room until they can bring me out like the next circus act.
‘I must ask you to put your phone away for now,’ the woman says. When I look up, I find her looking at me with a pitying gaze. ‘We don’t want you to read anything that can influence your statement.’
Of course. ‘I’m just nervous,’ I say, and put my phone back in my pocket.
‘You will be absolutely fine. If you find you don’t want to look at him, you don’t have to. Remember that you’re doing this to help us put him away for good. That is why you chose to testify, isn’t it?’
She nods, and we fall into silence again, until there’s a brief knock on our door. The woman smiles, rises from her chair and beckons me.
Suddenly, my heart is racing even harder than before. ‘Can…can I go to the bathroom real quick?’
‘Sure. Just this way.’ She leads me over to another door and remains outside as I enter.
The tiles are shiny and clean. I hear the buzzing of air conditioning.
After I flush, I take a quick moment to splash a handful of cold water in my face. It helps a little. I lean my hands on the sink and stare at my reflection in the round mirror. I’m very pale. My eyes are wide open, like a frightened animal. Strands of dark brown hair are falling from the bun that had been so tightly secured this morning. They cling to my sweaty face. I brush them away.
The woman knocks on the door. ‘Juliet? It’s time.’
I’m on the verge of calling out: No! Leave me alone, I’m not going! There’s a thick feeling in my throat that I try to get rid of by swallowing. When it doesn’t work, I settle for a deep breath before wiping my palms on my skirt and exiting the bathroom.
‘There’s no need to be nervous,’ the woman says again. But what does she know? She didn’t have to drop to the ground, pretending to be a dead body, while a monster was standing mere feet away from her barking orders.
We make our way across the building, all the way to the end of the long corridor, and make a right turn. The entire building is so clean. We pass a large, square painting on the wall; we pass a mirror where I briefly catch my pale reflection, we pass a man with a cell phone pressed to his ear, giving us a curious glance.
Then the woman stops in front of a dark, polished door. The small plate next to the door reads Courtroom 14.
The woman gives me an encouraging smile. I pull up the corners of my mouth, just enough to make it look like I’m smiling back.
‘Remember, you just have to answer a few questions. I’ll be here to escort you back.’
She looks like she wants to say something else, but before she does, the door opens. I automatically step back, creating some space for Harry Dartes. He sees me, undoubtedly registers the worry in my eyes, and gives my shoulder a brief squeeze. ‘It’s worse just before you go in, girl.’
I nod. He smiles one last time before another court attendant urges him on, and mine gestures to me, indicating that I will have to enter Courtroom 14 at last.
About the Author
Mara Li has been writing from an early age. She is inspired by fairytales, myths and legends from all over the world. In 2016 her debut novel De Stem van de Zee was nominated for the Harland Awards Roman Prize for best Dutch fantasy. Winter is her writing season (summer never gets much of it). Tea and ginger nuts are her writing food, her cat’s attention can sometimes be an obstacle. Her novel, Half Face, launches her as an international author with books published in multiple countries and languages.
The stunning conclusion to the Savaged Illusion Trilogy.
She fell in love with a rock star and lost everything…
Liza Cade won’t be safe until the disgraced former rock star who tormented her for a decade is captured or dead. All of her dreams died the night Gene Hayes swore to kill her, exposing her husband’s desperate lie and resulting in the loss of their baby. Liza is heartbroken and leaves, but can she walk away from her marriage and the powerful love of Justice?
He loves her too much to let her go…
Rock star Justice Cade learned the hard way love is more important than fame, and he’s determined to win back his wife. But just as he convinces her to give him a year to prove his love, he’s forced to go on an extended international tour to use his fame to ruin Gene Hayes. He won’t let physical distance, broken hearts, savaged vows or a vicious enemy come between him and his beloved Beth again. He fights with everything he has to regain her trust, will she forgive him?
They reunite in a savagely devoted love that charms the rock world…and drives her enemy into a murderous rage.
In the stunning conclusion to the Savaged Illusions Trilogy, Liza and Justice’s powerful love triumphs over tragedy. But their happily ever after is threatened by the man who has nothing left…except his vow to destroy Liza.
Savaged Devotion is the 3rd and final book the Savaged Illusions Trilogy.
His skin tightened at the confidence brimming in her rendition, and in the way she owned her moment of singing with a kitchen tool in the middle of the night like she was a rock star. She was doing exactly what they’d talked about earlier, standing up to him in a song by Pink and Nate.
Justice couldn’t have held back now if he had a punctured lung, and he poured more passion into the verse. Singing was his way of communicating, of having a voice in the world after being a kid whose parents didn’t want him, and then thrown into juvie as if he’d been human garbage to be tossed in a dumpster. Later, it’d been all he’d had left after losing their daughter and Beth leaving him.
Beth stayed right there with him in the moment, belting out her part and not the least bit cowed by his powerful vocals, nor did she stumble when she couldn’t hit the amazing notes that Pink could. Nope, here in this kitchen alone with him, she sang like she wrote—all in with no censor. When she wound her voice with his in the chorus, his entire body twanged with a wild joy that was damn near orgasmic.
Just as he’d worked so hard to find a path into her secret world of writing, tonight Beth had found her path into his world of singing.
As the song ended, he reached out, taking her spatula and pulling her against him. Tilting her face up, he said, “You trying to steal my limelight, baby?”
She grinned. “I don’t think you or Pink need to worry.”
He laughed. “I’m sure Pink will be relieved, but you’re not bad. You can sing. Not as good as me, of course.”
She rolled her eyes. “Did your fat ego fall off the bed and wake you up?”
“If you ever say anything to anyone, they all die.”More info →
Christmas in Marietta, with all the trimmings, may be just the ticket.More info →
She’s determined to be successful—no matter who tries to stop her.More info →