Category Archives: Reviews by Crystal

vanished without a trace… ‘Snatching Dianna’ #RomanticSuspense @SeelieKay @ReviewByCrystal

Snatching Dianna
Feisty Lawyers Book 1
By Seelie Kay

Seelie will be giving away some great ebooks for this tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may enter every day for your chance to win one of the prize packages. You may find the tour locations here

About Snatching Dianna:

The hours are counting down as investigators try to prove that Dianna Murphy has been snatched. Unfortunately, without witnesses and solid evidence, all the police really know is that she is missing.

When suburban Milwaukee law student Dianna Murphy fails to connect with her roommate, there is no real evidence that she has been snatched. Until Law Professor Janet MacLachlan, a former covert agent, discovers a single clue, one that points to a taking by a slave trafficking cartel. In a race against time, Janet recruits her husband, secret agent Cade Matthews, small-town Police Chief David Manders and his wife, criminal defense attorney Julianna Constant, and other law students to uncover the truth. Can they prove she has been taken, before Dianna disappears without a trace?
Romantic Suspense (Three Flames)

Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble:  Coming soon



Excerpt:
After what seemed like hours in the sweltering van, it lurched to a stop.

Dianna heard a man bark orders. A door to the van opened and someone pulled the rope from her feet, then removed her hood. She took a deep breath.  A man grabbed her by the arm, forced to her feet, and pulled from the van. Dianna stumbled when she hit the ground. The stones were hot and her feet were covered by athletic socks, no shoes. Show no weakness.

Dianna immediately surveyed her surroundings. It was still night, but she was in a well-lit courtyard. A large stone mansion stood in front of her. She looked to her right, then her left. The courtyard was enclosed by a large stone fence, at least eight feet high. A fortress. Fortunately, Dianna was a rock-climber. She could rappel over the fence with the right equipment. All she would need was something to serve as a pick, maybe a rope. A knife, a screwdriver, even a fork. Keep your eyes and ears open. Be ready.

A large black man, dressed in a white suit and a maroon turban, walked out of the front door and down the stairs. He stopped and flashed a malevolent smile. He flung his arms wide and in a cultured baritone boomed, “Welcome to paradise, ladies. I hope you enjoy your stay.”

Some of the guards laughed.

“Crikey,” Tillie muttered. “Sounds like a blasted genie.”

Dianna glanced sideways and for the first time, got a look at her new friend. She was tall and thin, her body well defined. She looked strong and aware, almost fierce. Her eyes seemed to be studying the place, taking everything in. She showed no fear. Instead, she seemed interested. Something was off. Tillie did not act like a victim as the others did. She was not cowed. Was she a cop? Or like Dianna, someone who would not permit themselves to be broken?

There was only one thing of which Dianna was certain. She had found a friend. A useful one.

About Seelie Kay:
Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for a writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When she writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen!  In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of multiple works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, and The President’s Wife.

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!
Author links:

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A Chance Encounter Can Change Everything… ‘Beguiling Bachelor’ #Series #Contemporary #Romance @madisonmichael_ @reviewbycrystal

The Beguiling Bachelor Series
By Madison Michael
ALL on SALE for a LIMITED Time

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FREE until October 13th!
Bedazzled  (Book 1)
A Chance Encounter Can Change Everything…
Keeli Larsen is second-guessing her decision to support herself as an independent jewelry designer. She has no money, no friends, but she knows she has talent. Leaving her job, she rides the elevator one last time with the sexy man from the penthouse office. That ride and a well placed hand are about to change her life.
Millionaire and hot hunk Wyatt Lyons Howe IV is trapped by generations of family loyalty and tradition until a moment in an elevator rocks his staid world. Wyatt is captivated by Keeli’s beauty and fiery spirit, choosing to pursue her and his dreams. He just needs to rid himself of a scheming fiancé, defy his family, conquer his doubts, extricate himself from his traditional life and, of course, find the elusive Keeli again.
Is she Wyatt’s ticket to freedom or is Keeli an opportunist looking for a bankroll? Unsure of her motives, but unable to stay away, Wyatt is bedazzled.
Fans of steamy romances will fall in love with this contemporary retelling of Cinderella, a smart, sexy story, set within the splendor of Chicago’s elite society.

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2K3OL4D
Bedazzled is on Kindle Unlimited 

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Only $.99 until October 13th!
Beholden (Book 2)

She’s Lost Everything. He Has Everything…

This is no docile heroine. Meet Sloane, assertive and tough, desperate for love. Meet Randall, drowning his troubles until Sloane provides a reason to sober up. Beholden is a sexy, romantic romp set in the glamour of Chicago’s elite society.

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2AjMtPg
Beholden is on Kindle Unlimited 

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Only $1.99 until October 13th!


Bedeviled (Book 3)

Join Alex and Charlotte, along with characters you’ve met and loved in “Bedazzled” and “Beholden”, as they tackle the maze of half-truths and cover-ups threatening the lovers.

How can they build a bond with deceit on both sides? With malevolent forces advancing, is their love Bedeviled? 

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2uUHsYu
Bedeviled is now on Kindle Unlimited 
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Besotted (Book 4)

Time is Running Out…For Both of Them

Join Tyler and Regan as they seek their happily ever after in the conclusion of the steamy, contemporary Beguiling Bachelor romance series.

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2AiK2MQ


~*~*~*~*~*~*~ 
About Madison:
Madison Michael traded 28 years in Fortune 500 tech and management positions for a chance to spend her days with sassy heroines, sexy, rich heroes and nothing but happy endings. Growing up the daughter of a librarian, she learned to love books, especially classics and romances, and spent winters cuddled under blankets losing herself in books.

Madison is the author of three novels in the Beguiling Bachelor series, as well as several short stories. She is a member of Romance Writers of America.

After living in the northeast, southeast and the west, Maddy returned to her Midwest roots. She lives in Evanston, IL with two feline editorial assistants and great views of Chicago’s famous skyline.

Social Links:
Website: madisonmichael.net
Madison’s Blog: madisonmichael.net/category/maddys-blog
Maddy’s Romance Madness: madisonmichael.net/category/mrm/
Maddy’s Tours and Treats: madisonmichael.net/category/tours-and-treats/
Facebook: facebook.com/madisonmichaelromance
Twitter: twitter.com/madisonmichael_
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/Madison-Michael/e/B01EVUGG6G/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1



Who knew his heart was up for grabs? ‘Vegas Gambler’ #Contemporary #Erotic #Romance @AdrianaKraft @ReviewByCrystal


Vegas Gambler
Meghan’s Playhouse Series
By Adriana Kraft

Vegas Gambler will be on tour from March 5 through April 5, and we’re giving away one free download from the Publisher’s Website to each of two winners. Winners may select from books One through Four in our Meghan’s Playhouse Series. You can find all series books at this link: http://www.extasybooks.com/meghan-s-playhouse/. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here

About the Book: 
He’s fifty-one, they’re in their twenties. Can Jack Hawthorne keep up with two women? How will he protect his heart?

Fresh with success from a recent stint in a musical on the Las Vegas Strip, Meghan Keenan takes some time off to play with her current flame, Jack Hawthorne, professional poker player. She’s delighted to add her petite masseuse Tia Minh to the mix and even more thrilled when she learns Tia’s relationship with her boyfriend Tony Sanders is on the skids. It’s the perfect challenge!

Tia has different ideas – she thinks Tony would be perfect for Meg, and she conspires to throw them together any way she can.

Ever the gambler, Jack catches on to her game quickly and keeps the ruse going behind Meg’s back. Who knew his heart was up for grabs?

This is a Contemporary Erotic Romance.

Buy Links:
Amazon | eXtasy Books
Excerpt: 

Jack cocked his head to the side. “You sure you won’t stay beyond the summer?”
Meg shook her head. They’d been over this ground before. “You know I need to get back to New York. I need to get on with my life.”
“Sorry I’m such a drag on you.” He gave her a wicked smile. “And you always say my age doesn’t matter.”
“Fifty-one doesn’t make you ancient.”
“I have my days,” Jack said, flipping over a card. “But I know what we have is transitory. Don’t worry about me getting carried away.” He smirked. “But you have been a breath of fresh air for me.”
“Cripes, the way you hang out around poker tables, anyone would provide a breath of fresh air.” Meg smiled and purposely softened her tone. “And you’ve been very good for me, too. I don’t know how I would’ve made it through the hectic pace of the last six months without your steady influence. You’ve always been there, and with few demands.”
“Perhaps,” Jack began wistfully, “I should’ve been more demanding.” He must’ve seen her nostrils flare, because he lifted a hand, forestalling her response. “You’ve renewed my faith in life.” He grinned devilishly. “Even in love.”


About the Author: 

Winner of the 2014 Bisexual Book Award for erotic fiction, author Adriana Kraft is a married couple writing Sizzling Romantic Suspense and Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More.
One man, one woman, danger and intrigue – always a happy ending, but oh, what a ride! Readers can count on our Romantic Suspense line for gutsy characters, hot sex, and breathtaking intimacy as our hero and heroine battle outer threats and inner demons to stay alive and fall in love.
A man, a woman (or two), or another man, threesomes, foursomes—what’s your fantasy? We write our Erotic Romance stories to entertain, of course, but most of all we write them because we believe in happy endings for all who fall in love, whatever their gender, sexual orientation or numerical combination. Here you’ll find multiple partners, three-way, four-way and more, swing lifestyle, lesbian, bisexual, ménage and polyamory, in both contemporary and paranormal settings.

Together we have published over thirty-five romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. We love hearing from readers at adrianakraft99@yahoo.com, and here is our website:

When It’s Time to Heat Things Up http://adrianakraft.com

Author Links:

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refused to believe she’d been ‘Abandoned’ #RomanticSuspense #series @marylmartinez @ReviewByCrystal


Abandoned
By Mary Martinez

About the Book: 

Glenna Beckett loves her family dearly, but being the youngest of six can be overwhelming. Moving across country helped her learn who she was outside the family. She’s built a successful business in the form of a quaint shop on Main Street of Calistoga, that sells a bit of everything vintage, the new age term for antique. What more does she need?

Then he walked into her shop. International playboy, Lance Gordon. After a whirlwind courtship he asks her to marry him. Burying a niggle of doubt in the pit of her tummy, she says yes. He’s even agreed to have the wedding in Brooklyn so her family can attend. But he never arrives.

Glenna refused to believe she’d been abandoned at the altar and asks her brother, Tyler, to contact an agent friend on the West Coast to search for Lance.

Patrick McGinnis can’t believe he’s walking into a prissy shop in the high end of the Napa Valley searching for a missing groom. The bride, Glenna Beckett, is everything he feared, drop dead gorgeous, and a spoiled brat. Not that he’d ever tell her brother that. He hates wild goose chases, and this mission is exactly that. Patrick’s certain the playboy fiancé is off wooing some other delectable creature.

Unfortunately, once Patrick started to dig, he finds there’s more to the tale and it will take all his skills as an agent to keep Glenna safe. Especially when the case takes a turn and threatens the safety of his son, Finn.


The Beckett Series Free and/or On Sale Through 3/8/18:

Disappear (Book I The Beckett Series)
Innocent (Book II The Beckett Series)
Only $.99 Amazon Buy Link
Quiet (Book III The Beckett Series)
Only $.99 Amazon Buy Link
Illusion – Utopia the Beginning (Book IV The Beckett Series)
Only $.99 Amazon Buy Link
Profit – Utopia the Conclusion (Book V The Beckett Series)
Only $.99 Amazon Buy Link

Abandoned  (Book V The Beckett Series)
Amazon Buy Link

For more links:

Excerpt:
Patrick McGinnis thumbed his phone off and dropped the thing on the table with a thud. What had he just agreed to? He held in a groan, barely.
“What’s up dad? You look like you just ate a sour grape.”
Finnegan, his sixteen-year old son, and the joy of his life, walked to the cupboard and pulled out a bowl. He filled it with cereal and added milk and then joined Patrick at the table. He dipped his spoon for a large scoop, and as he brought it to his mouth, Finn gave him the I’m waiting look.
“I just received a call from an old friend,” he said in way of explanation, he really didn’t like talking work with his son.
“It must not have been a good conversation.”
“It was good to catch up. He was with me at Quantico.” Best to focus on the old acquaintance part.
“Dad, I’m in high school. You can stop sheltering me now. He must have called for a reason. One you’re not too thrilled about. What’s up?” He repeated his earlier question.
Damn, Finn was growing up to fast. And the kid was right. He had a tendency to shield him from his work. Something he’d always tried to do, but more since Finn was three and the worst thing that could ever happened to a child had happened.
“Tyler is an agent in New York, however, he has a sister in Calistoga.”
His son let out a hoot of laughter. “Match-making from the east coast.”
“Ha, ha. No, his sister seems to have lost her fiancé and her assistant.”
“What they elope and left her behind? Why’d he call you?”
“The fiancé never arrived at the wedding. And then when his sister went to open her shop she found the assistant had been shot.”
“Oh.” Finn ate for a few minutes in silence. “Does the lost fiancé and the dead assistant have something to do with each other?”
“That’s one of the things Ty wants me to find out.”
Finn suspended his spoon half way to his mouth. “What is the other?”
“He wants me to find the missing fiancé for his sister.” He pulled his fingers through his hair. “It’s a wild goose chase if you ask me. If the guy had wanted to get married he’d have been at the wedding.”
“You’d think, unless he couldn’t.”
Patrick contemplated his son. He would make a good detective. He’d already helped solve a few of his cases, by just listening and making comments that brought other solutions to mind. Patrick wasn’t sure he wanted that for his son. He loved being a federal agent. For a while, after the incident with his son, he’d tried something else. However, his true passion was law enforcement and he’d been placed back on duty within the year.
You couldn’t help where your heart led you. No matter the consequences. 
“That is what I need to find out.” He stood and poured more coffee into his cup to warm up the cooling liquid. He leaned a hip on the counter while he sipped. “What’s going on at school today?”
Finn finished his cereal and stood to wash his bowl out. He appeared to be thinking as he put his dishes in the dishwasher.
“I have an algebra test. Just a fair warning, Dad, it’s kicking my ass.”
“Language son.” But he smiled, he’d heard a lot worse. “I have a few minutes do you need my help?”
His son gave him a skeptical look, which was well warranted. Algebra had thoroughly kicked his ass in high school, too, to the point he’d needed Saturday morning classes to pass the damn class.
After a moment he answered. “No, Mrs. Stewart said she’d meet me before school.”
“Old Mrs. Stewart is still there? I had her for Algebra.” He smiled and resisted the urge to ruffle his son’s hair. Since the boy was almost as tall as he was, it’d be a little awkward anyway. “You’re in good hands then. Do you want me to drop you on my way to Calistoga?”
 
Author Bio:

Mary lives in Magna, a little town west of Salt Lake City, Utah. Together with her husband, she has six grown children, and six wonderful grandsons and five beautiful granddaughters. She loves to spend time with family and friends–she includes good books as friends!
Mary and her husband love to travel, especially to the Caribbean for relaxing, and Italy for the wine. And most recently she discovered she was Irish and Scottish, of course they had to visit Ireland and Scotland. Mary fell in love with both, but the green hills of Ireland felt like home. With the experience from the exotic places she has visited, she is able to fill her books with colorful descriptions of cities, painting a colorful backdrop for her characters. One of her favorite US destinations is New York/Brooklyn, where her beloved Beckett’s live. When she visits, she can wander their neighborhoods, favorite parks, and visit their favorite pub, Putnum’s.

They are avid concert ‘Ho’s’! Yes, they pretty much want to do them all. They love outdoor amphitheaters the best and attend as many during the warmer months as possible.

Mary writes mostly romantic suspense, romance, women’s fiction, and she has just begun to dabble in young adult mystery. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA). During her writing career she has been a conference coordinator, workshop presenter, and chapter president for the Utah Chapter of RWA. In 2007 she was presented with the Utah RWA service award in acknowledgment and appreciation for outstanding service. Mary has also participated in numerous library panels on writing and co-presented a workshop on writing a series at the League of Utah Writers conference.
Mary and her husband are also enthusiastic college football fans. They have season tickets to the UTES, University of Utah Football and they tailgate every game. They love tailgating so much, that they were married at a tailgating in 1999.
GO UTES!

Website and social media links:
Buy Link Amazon:

www.amazon.com/Mary-Martinez/e/B006MWJ1T6

Mary’s Garden Blog: marysbooksblogger.blogspot.com
The After Work Cook: theafterworkcook.blogspot.com 

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What will happen when she finds out the truth? ‘Chasing Ordinary’ #Contemporary #EroticRomance @PandoraSpocksWP @ReviewByCrystal

 Chasing Ordinary
By Pandora Spocks

Pandora is giving away The Dream Dominant Series 3 Book Bundle to three lucky winners. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here
About the Book: 
Red-haired Petey Cavanaugh is a sculptor who welds steel and glass creations.  A young widow, she lives on her in-laws’ sheep ranch in Montana where she helps out during the day, working on her art at night.
Looking to raise money to expand the ranch’s business, she gratefully accepts her art school roommate’s offer of a gallery show in Manhattan.  It’s been years since she was in the city, and she’s happy to visit her old friend.
Nik is in New York on business.  He’s been traveling for nearly a month, enduring endless meetings, attending obligatory dinners, and battling jet-lag.  On his way to yet another business dinner, his world collides with Petey’s one rainy Manhattan night.
Their mutual attraction is immediate, but Nik’s skeptical.  Could it possibly be that this gorgeous, enchanting artist has no idea that he’s Europe’s most eligible prince?
Spending time with Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary.  What will happen when she finds out the truth?
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Heat Level: Erotic

Buy Links: 
Amazon |  Other Links Here

Excerpt: 

Howard had been talking nonstop for twenty minutes.  Each time Petey thought she’d found the opportunity to extricate herself, he continued his rambling, while edging ever closer, invading her personal space, and chatting about his work and his home in New Jersey.  He seemed to be one of those individuals who was completely inept at picking up on social cues.
She’d just worked up the gumption to simply excuse herself the next time he came up for air, when she heard a familiar voice.
There you are, darling!”  Nik swooped in, handing her a glass of wine.  “I’m so sorry I’m late.  Will you ever forgive me?”  He wrapped an arm around her waist and kissed her cheek.
Stunned, Petey stammered a bit.  “Um, yes.  Well…darling, yes, you certainly are late.  What’s up with that?  I’ve been waiting for you.”
“I know.  But traffic was a nightmare, what with the rain.  You just wouldn’t believe it.”  Nik turned to Howard.  “Who’s your friend?”  He smiled pleasantly at the confused man.
“Oh, sorry.  Nik, this is Howard.  Howard, meet Nik.”
Howard worked his mouth, but was blissfully silent.
Nik reached to shake his hand.  “So nice to meet you.  If you’ll excuse us, I need to make up for lost time.  Come, darling.”
He grasped Petey’s hand and led her to the opposite side of the gallery.  When they reached a quiet corner, he turned and smiled at her.
She gave a relieved laugh.  “Oh, my God, for the second time tonight, you saved my bacon.”
Nik laughed, too.  “The exasperation on your face said that you needed rescuing.  Who was he anyway?”
“Some guy that my friend Jules thought I should meet.  I mean, he’s nice enough, but he had absolutely no sense of personal space.  And he would notstop talking.  Sheesh!”
“He’s probably just shy in the presence of such a pretty woman.”  Nik’s blue eyes sparkled.
Petey rolled her eyes.  “Yes, I’m sure that’s it,” she said sarcastically.  “I guess you ditched your business dinner?”
Nik nodded. “I did.”
She eyed him curiously.  “What kind of business are you in?”
He paused a beat.  “I’m in international finance and development.”
Warmth flooded her face, and she knew she was blushing.  A sheepish smile curled her lips.  “I have no idea what that means.”
He smiled, too.  “I travel and meet with business people, mostly, occasionally politicians, and we discuss ways to improve our national economies, and ways to assist developing economies as well.”
“Oh.  I’m sure Jules would understand completely.  She has a sharp business mind.  I’m just so,” she gave a self-deprecating chuckle, “right-brained.”
She fanned herself lightly with her hand.  “So, you’d had enough of finances and development for one night?”
Nik nodded agreeably.  “I’ve worked all day.  As I sat listening to more business conversation, all I could think was that I’d like to attend the gallery opening of a promising young sculptor.”
Petey’s eyes sparkled mischievously.  “Well, if I hear of any, I’ll let you know.”  They both laughed together.
“I just watched your video.  Such an interesting way to introduce yourself to patrons.”
“Oh, that.”  Petey blushed.  “Jules flew out to Montana a couple of months ago.  She hired a film crew to follow me for a day, do interviews and stuff.  Then they just put it together.”
He regarded her curiously, eyes sparkling.  “What are the chances you’d give me a guided tour of this incredible exhibit?”
She pretended to consider his request.  “Well, you did see to it that I was put back together after being blasted by that tidal wave.   And, you rescued me from being talked to death by a close-talking dentist.  I’d say your odds are pretty good.”  She laughed.  “I think bringing me a glass of wine put you over the top, though.”
Nik laughed, too.  “Lucky for me, then.”
“Lucky for you.  Okay, let’s take a tour.”

Author Bio:
No automatic alt text available.

Pandora Spocks is a sassy ginger and hopeless romantic, living her happily ever after in South Florida.  She enjoys reading and writing literary erotic romance. 


She is the author of the three-novel epic romance Rannigan’s Redemption, and a naughty little romantic novella, Just One Night.  Her Dream Dominant Collection is a series of light BDSM stand-alone novels featuring sexy Alpha males and the strong red-haired submissives who can’t resist them.  The collection currently includes three novels: Luke & Bella, Lost & Bound, and For Sparrow.

Pandora is busy on her laptop, working on her next spicy romance.
Connect with Pandora:

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in more trouble than she bargained for… ‘One Night in Havana’ #EroticRomance #Mystery @rowlandkathleen @ReviewByCrystal

One Night in Havana 
#34 in the City Nights Series from Tirgearr Publishing
by Kathleen Rowland

Kathleen will be awarding 3 lucky winners a $10 Amazon Gift Certiticate. Winners will be chosen randomly with Rafflecopter. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

About the Book:  

A desperate competition and sizzling attraction leads to dangerous desire.

New York Marine biologist Veronica “Roni” Keane is attending the Havana Bay Conference in Cuba. Tomorrow only one grant will be awarded which will provide the winner with professional recognition, resources for a project, and living expenses for two years. She hopes to continue her deceased father’s work, but smooth operator, Carlos Montoya, has won many grants in the past.

Carlos, a freelancer for the Havana Port Authority, works to help protect Havana’s reputation as a bastion of safety. As international travelers flock to the island, attracted by its 1950’s time-warp and colonial architecture, the drug business is running rampant, particularly on Roni’s cruise ship. Something’s not right, and when her scuba tanks are tampered with, Carlos brings in the military police to investigate. For her safety, he keeps her close, but he craves her body.

Their attraction leads to a fun night with a bit of kink. But Roni finds herself in more trouble than she bargained for when the criminals blame her for alerting the military police and come looking for her. Can Roni trust Carlos to protect her? Will she stay in Havana if Carlos wins the coveted grant, or kiss her lover goodbye?

An erotic romance with mystery. 

Amazon Buy Link

Excerpt:

— Chapter One

“Why, Veronica Keane.” A voice heavy with a Spanish accent drawled from behind her. “A dive bar?” A taunting tsk. “What do we have? A slumming New Yorker?”
She stiffened and closed her eyes. She knew that voice and its owner, Dr. Carlos Montoya, a finalist like her, competing for the same damn grant at the biggest Cephalopoda conference of the decade. Her heart pitter-pattered against her ribs. To turn toward him would intimate distress, or worse yet, weakness. She wouldn’t fail to win this grant, not when she was a final contender. “I like this funky little place.” Sia Macario Café, smack in the center of Havana, allowed her to observe locals and their daily lives.
“You need to eat with all the mojitos you’ve downed.” The big tease wasn’t  counting. This was her first drink, but his rumbling, sexy timbre hinted at all kinds of dark, hot promises. She’d rubbed shoulders with the Cuban scientist all week. This splendid specimen of Latin male brought on a physical ache that punched low.
A flare-up stirred fear. For her own good, she needed to resist. “I ordered camarones enchiladas.” By now she knew the menu on the chalkboard by heart. She tipped her head back to whiff grilled shrimp soon to arrive in sofrito sauce with fried sweet plantains.
“The flan is good. Just like my abuela makes.”
“I bet. Your grandmother would be happy to hear that,” she said, knowing he brought out the best in most people. Two days ago he’d invited her and a handful of others scuba diving. The chance to ogle him had been one of the perks. He’d worn nothing but swim trunks, his bare chest on display. Every glistening muscle was finely etched. Not a drop of fat on him. Since he’d not given her the time of day, she’d checked him out without him noticing.
The hard-bodied host had led the way toward habitats of soft-bodied creatures. To find where invertebrates lived was never an easy task. Octopuses squeezed into narrow passages of coral for protection and gave females a place to keep their eggs. She’d discovered the remains of a few meals nearby.Octopuses scattered rocks and shells to help them hide.
 This grant meant so much to her and no doubt to him as well. Veronica mindlessly toyed with the gold necklace around her neck, but anxiety crackled through her brain. Unlike this man of action, she lacked the flamboyant personality necessary to talk people into things. Carlos had that ability. He’d made friends with judges on board while she’d conversed with an older woman about a box of scones made with Cuban vanilla cream.
That day the wind had picked up to a gale force, and this woman named Bela with Lucille Ball red hair needed help walking to her home. The half mile down the seaside promenade, The Malecón, had provided her with time to practice her Spanish. Turned out Bela was Carlos’s grandmother. She’d worked as a maid when the Castro government came to power. When private homes were nationalized, titles were handed over to the dwelling occupants. Bela owned a crumbling home in the respected Verdado district and rented out rooms.
What Veronica detested about Carlos was his abnormal level of talent for schmoozing. Not that he wasn’t charismatic; he drew her like a powerful magnet with emotions hard to untangle. Why was a self-assured woman who ran her own life thinking about a man who commanded everyone around him?
She inhaled a breath and turned around on the barstool, caught fast by a gut punch of Carlos Montoya in the flesh. She sighed and surrendered to the tendrils of want sliding up between her thighs.
Tall and muscular, his lush dark hair curled to his collar giving him a wild, roguish appearance. His face was lean and chiseled. His mouth full and tempting. His eyes the smoky-gray of a grass fire and fringed with black lashes as dense as paintbrushes. He smiled. A faint hint of mockery curved his mouth, a sensual mouth she imagined to be either inviting or cruel. Or both at the same time when he leaned over a woman with a diamond-hard gleam in his dark eyes while she drowned with pleasure. She fought a fierce desire to run her hand across his broad chest, tip her face upward, and…
His breath tickled her face.
Not going there. She blinked and forced her mind to focus. Carlos Montoya was not the kind of man you lost focus around. But that image of putting her mouth full on his and peeling away his shirt once introduced in her mind was impossible to expunge. Pointless even to try.
He was an intimidating blend of intellect and sexy danger. Both qualities had her leaning back against the bar’s edge. If it weren’t for him, she’d have a chance at winning the grant.
His lips twitched. “You’re staying on one of the cruise ships, am I right?” He rolled up the sleeves of his linen jacket to reveal a dusting of manly hair.
”Yes.” Her cabin served as her hotel room while attending the January meetings with perfect high-seventies temperatures. His eyes locked with hers. She willed herself to move and yet she remained seated, clutching heat between her legs, a wetness so intense that her breath stalled in her chest while her heart hammered faster. Soon she’d return to freezing New York City.
“So, Bonita, give.” He slid onto the bar stool next to her. “What brings you down from a lofty ship to grace us lowly Cubans with your presence?”
Bonita. Pretty lady was not an endearment coming from the mouth curved in a taunting smile, but not a slight either. Not with his deep, melodic voice speaking words as if he knew secrets about her. What secrets did he know? Would he pry into her personal life? She doubted this bad-boy college professor acknowledged boundaries.
“Just drinks and dinner.” She scrambled for composure. “Aren’t we attending a world-class conference? I find the local population to be friendly and kind. That’s not slumming.”
The bartender set down a saoco. “Hope you like it, senorita.”
“Gracias,” she said. “Very nice, served in a coconut.”
“Ah, the saoco,” Carlos said. “Rum, lime juice, sugar, and ice. The saoco,” he repeated, disbelief heavy in his words. “Um. Wow. Once used as a tonic for prisoners of the revolution.”
“Medicinal?” She couldn’t help it. She chuckled and sounded as if a rusty spoon had scraped her throat raw, but it was genuine. The warm glow in its wake was welcome and needed. .
He leaned an elbow on the bar, his beer bottle with the green-and-red Cristal label dangling between his fingers. “Be careful with that one.” He dipped his head toward the front door as if he needed to go somewhere soon.
That fast, the glow snuffed out. She cleared her throat and gripped the fuzzy surface of the coconut container.
He placed a five-peso coin with a brass plug on the counter and whirled it. The spinning motion mirrored a dizzying attraction going on in low parts of her belly.
She cleared her wayward mind and nodded toward artwork on the opposite wall. “I plan to buy a painting tonight.”
“Don’t buy anything unless the seller gives you a certificate. You’ll need one to take art from Cuba. Artists deal in euros in case you don’t have pesos.”
She’d come prepared but said, “Thanks for the info.”
His coal-black eyes widened as he gazed from her head down to the tiny straps around her ankles as if she wore high heels and nothing else. “You give off a Barbie doll image,” he replied and stood up.
“Huh?”
“Where’s Ken, anyway? Kenneth Morton. He came with you to the talks in Antarctica. Five years ago.” He grinned, and the mortification in her belly gave way to a longing which she had no business feeling toward her competitor.
“Ken and I broke up.” She hesitated for a moment. “You have a gift for remembering names. Like a salesman.”
“A person’s name is, to that person, the most important and sweetest sound. Back then I introduced myself to Ken in the men’s room.”
“I remember now. Didn’t you give a talk on a specialized pigment in the octopus?”
“Ahh, si.” He splayed his fingers over his chest. “A pigment in their blood is—”
 “—called hemocyanin. Turns their blood blue and helps them survive subfreezing temperatures. Were you awarded something?”
“The antifreeze protein grant? No. It went to a deep-diving photographer. He wasn’t chicken about getting lost or trapped under the ice.”
She slid from her stool and strutted around, jutting her chin in and out like a chicken. “Bock, bock, bock, bock, bock, begowwwwk.”
He chuckled. “Cute chicken dance. Very cute in that skimpy black dress.”
Her cheeks heated, and she clutched her necklace. He’d seen plenty of women in body-fitting attire. In Cuba, women wore dresses to meetings. If she’d harnessed sexier mojo, she’d have livened up presentations. Her presentations with an abundance of dull data went south. She slid back against her stool and clutched her purse to her stomach as if the small satin bag could calm the nerves playing deep down kickball. She belonged in her tidy New York office filled with computers, modems, and research manuals. Not in this softly lit café where passion oozed from a man’s pores, and artists displayed their canvases. Here was where Havana’s trendsetters congregated, and Ernest Hemingway wrote about desire.
“Good luck with your purchases, Veronica Keane.”
Okay, so they weren’t going to pretend they were going head to head for the grant.
As if he had more to say, he grinned at her, his perfect white teeth flashing.. “Do you find us different, like apples and oranges?”
“What am I, an apple or an orange?”
“Hmm. You’re an apple.” He was doing that sexy voice thing which made her brain shut down. Heady. 
It started with an unexpected spark, an instant attraction, the jolting jab of oh-I’m-feeling-something. Something like a flashfire in her belly, but now they were talking. “Am I the apple of desire? Want to take a bite out of me?” She pulled in a breath. Had she really said that?
Bonita, do I ever.”
“Tomorrow is the final ceremony.” Would she watch him walk to the podium to accept the grant? 

About the Author: 

Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with an erotic love story sure to melt their hearts.  Her latest release is One Night in Havana, #34 in the City Nights series.

Kathleen also has a steamy romantic suspense series with Tirgearr Publishing, Deadly Alliance is followed by Unholy Alliance. Keep an icy drink handy while reading these sizzling stories.

Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.

Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors.  While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write.

If you’d enjoy news,  sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter at http://www.kathleenrowland.com/

youthful crush transforms into a womanly passion she can’t deny #RomanticSuspense @StanaleiFletch @ReviewByCrystal


Stanalei Fletcher’s January Blowout Sale Blog Tour
All 5 Northstar Security Series books are on sale for only 
$.99 during the tour only!

GiveAway: Stanalei is offering some fabulous prizes during this tour. One Lucky winner will have the chance to choose an ebook from her backlist, another lucky winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate, and one lucky winner will have the chance to choose a print book from Stanalei’s backlist. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember to follow along with the tour to increase your chances of winning. You may find the other tour locations here

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Series Blurb: 

Northstar Security Firm is an elite private security agency whose mission statement: GUIDED BY THE TRUTH, is the guiding principle to provide justice for those who have been wronged. Founded by former CIA agents Byron O’Neal, Katherine O’Neal, and Sean Malone, Northstar Security has a ninety-nine percent success rate. That one percent is a still open case involving Katherine’s murder and Sean Malone’s career-ending gunshot wound. Nothing is a hundred percent guaranteed, and angst over one unsolved case doesn’t stop good men and women from fulfilling their duty.
Proving Ground

Northstar Security Series Book #1

About the Book: 

Caitlin Malone believes screw-ups don’t get second chances. When she returns to Oregon after failing her first Northstar Security assignment and stumbles across a plot to steal deadly pathogens, she sees a chance at redemption.
For USDA Forest Ranger, John ‘Mac’ MacAlistair, having Caitlin home again brings up feelings that are better left buried.
When Caitlin is trapped by the wildfire, started by the terrorists, her only hope of rescue is pinned on Mac, the man she’s tried two years to forget.
Buy Links:
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press

Dead Reckoning
Northstar Security Series Book #2
About the Book: 

Egan Maddox isn’t sure he’s the right man for the job when Northstar director, Byron O’Neal, asks him to find his missing daughter and protect her from an unknown danger. Egan’s never shaken off his attraction to Kellee O’Neal and hiding away with her, could be more than trouble than this former Navy SEAL can handle.

Kellee is lost, with no memory, and believes someone wants to hurt her. When Egan appears and seems to know her, he convinces her she’ll be safe with him. As her memories resurface, she turns to Egan for comfort, and her youthful crush transforms into a womanly passion she can’t deny.

With the Russian Mafia closing in, Kellee learns her entire life has been a lie. How can her love for Egan be enough to help her navigate the murky waters of her past and prove that her heritage doesn’t matter as much as the woman she’s become?


Buy Links:
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press 
Excerpt:
Share a bed with Egan? After what had just happened? Could she do it? Had they done it before?

“I’m sleeping on the floor,” he said, as though sensing her thoughts.

She whirled around. “I wasn’t…I was wondering if we…” Her cheeks grew hot. How did she ask that question?

The corner of his mouth twitched. “No. We haven’t.”

“Oh.” That settled the question about being lovers. Disappointment gnawed at her. She wasn’t his student anymore. She was a grown woman, with mature needs and desires. “I’m perfectly fine if you want to sleep on the bed with me.” At least she thought she was. “Besides, you’ll be uncomfortable, and might kink your neck, or worse.”

He shrugged off her concern. “Comfort isn’t the issue.”

“Then what is?”

“Let’s just say I don’t need the distraction.”

Her? A distraction? His admission ignited a flare of hope. Without a second thought, she walked over to him, stood on her toes and planted a kiss on the same cheek she’d slapped earlier. His scruffy whiskers grazed her lips, searing a new memory into her brain.

“What was that for?” Frustration edged his voice.

“For slapping you. You didn’t deserve it. You were doing your job.” She returned to the bed and pulled down the covers, watching him out of the corner of her eye.

Egan stood rooted to the carpet for a moment. Then he strode decisively into the bathroom.

She smiled when she heard him swear just before slamming the door.

Beyond Duty
Northstar Security Series Book #3

About the Book: 
When Northstar Security Firm investigates the blackmail of a U.S. Senator, agents Riley O’Neal and Mary “Chip” Anderson don the unwelcome cover of newlyweds to find two kidnapped women and stop the blackmail – and posing as newlyweds to avert a national security crisis is a lot harder than it seems.

Buy Links: 
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press


Breaking the Honor Code
Northstar Security Series Book #4

About the Book: 
Cyber-terrorism brings even the most powerful companies to their knees. When Northstar Security Firm discovers a breach inside their computer firewall, agent Sloan Cartland will do anything to help the firm’s brilliant computer tech, Allison Richards, find the culprit—even after he learns that all evidence of the hack points back to Allison.


Buy Links: 

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press

Tell It Like It Is
Northstar Security Series Book #5

About the Book: 

FBI agent, Nelson Kane’s Aunt Rosalee has a story to tell. Someone wants her stopped. When Northstar Security’s unconventional bodyguard, Justine Shelby, is assigned as Aunt Rosalee’s protection, Shelby learns she’s as welcome as a wiretap at the annual J. Edgar Hoover Christmas party. Ornaments start to fly when Shelby informs by-the-book, Agent Kane to stay out of the way while she helps his aunt complete her tell-all memoirs.

Buy Links:
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press


About the Author:

Stanalei’s love of writing romance stems from reading favorites such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Barbara Cartland, and Alistair MacLean. She has over twenty years of training in the martial arts and holds the rank of Sandan, a third-degree black belt, in Aikido.

After a taste of life on both U.S. coasts, she now resides near the beautiful Wasatch Mountain Range with her hero, who just happens to be her best friend and husband. Together they enjoy backcountry dirt trails on a RZR, visiting our National Parks, or exploring museums and ghost towns. You may visit Stanalei at: 

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