Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Release Day Spotlight and Excerpt: A Merciful Promise by Kendra Elliot

Title: A Merciful Promise
Author: Kendra Elliot
Release Date: June 18, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance

The job: infiltrate a militia amassing illegal firearms in an isolated forest community. FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick is the ideal candidate. She knows Oregon. She’s near the compound. And having been raised among survivalists, Mercy understands the mind-set of fanatics. Lay low, follow rules, do nothing to sound an alarm, and relinquish all contact with the outside world. She’s ready to blend in.

As Mercy disappears into the winter hills, something just as foreboding emerges. Mercy’s fiancĂ©, Eagle’s Nest police chief Truman Daly, is faced with a puzzling series of murders—three men dumped in random locations after execution-style shootings.

Now, for Mercy, trapped in a culture where suspicion is second nature, and betrayal is punishable to the extreme, there is no way out. No way to call for help. And as plans for a catastrophic terrorist event escalate, there may be no way to stop them. Even if Mercy dies trying.

Excerpt: A Merciful Promise by Kendra Elliot

What does Jeff want?” FBI special agent Eddie Peterson asked Mercy as they simultaneously tried to pass through the conference room doorway. Eddie stepped back, a laptop under one arm and two books under the other as he precariously gripped a cup of coffee by its lid.

Mercy darted through before he lost control of the coffee. “I don’t know, but he told me to clear my afternoon.”

Eddie frowned as he set the cup on the conference table. “He didn’t tell me that. I’ve got three meetings.”

Mercy shrugged. It was part of her job to change direction on a dime, and Jeff’s vague message had perked up what had promised to be a dull day of paperwork. Mercy had been a special agent with the FBI’s Bend, Oregon, field office for nearly a year after spending five years at the big Portland office. Including her and Eddie, Bend had five agents, in contrast to the hundred agents in Portland.

But Bend was close to her heart. She’d been raised thirty minutes away in the tiny town of Eagle’s Nest, and until she arrived in Bend on a case last September, she hadn’t visited in fifteen years. After that case she left behind Portland’s hustle and bustle for the stunning vistas of the Cascade mountain range to Bend’s west and the wide-open plains to its east.

Her boss, Jeff Garrison, entered the room with two official-looking strangers close behind him. Instinct told Mercy they weren’t FBI—but something about them felt very governmental, and she noticed instantly they were discreetly armed. The woman was tall, dark, and elegant—she could have been a model twenty years earlier, and her gaze zoomed in on Mercy, studying her from head to toe. After the moment of intense scrutiny, she gave Mercy a warm smile. Whatever evaluation she had performed, Mercy had passed.

The male looked as if he could be Eddie’s brother. Young, hair too long, a bit of scruff. He wore jeans and a light jacket.

Jeff made introductions. Carleen Aguirre was the resident agent in charge from the Portland ATF office, and the man was ATF special agent Neal Gorman. As they took their seats, Neal frowned at Mercy, studying her in the same fashion that Carleen had. Mercy returned his stare as Jeff shut the door.

Nothing said in here leaves this office,” Jeff announced, looking directly at Eddie and Mercy.

Mercy hid a small spark of irritation; she and Eddie weren’t gossips. She lifted a brow and gave Jeff her best side-eye, wondering if she should be offended or immensely curious. She decided on immensely curious and gave the ATF agents the same deep scrutiny she’d received.

Carleen grinned and leaned forward, resting her arms on the table, her dark gaze holding Mercy’s. “One of our agents is undercover in a militia-slash-conspiracy-theorists-slash-illegal-arms-buying group outside of Ukiah.”

Mercy blinked. “That’s a mouthful.”

Where’s Ukiah?” asked Eddie.

About thirty miles south of Pendleton. It’s a tiny town. About two hundred people,” answered Neal.

Mercy followed a road map in her head. “That’s a good four hours northeast from here.”

Neal nodded. “Just west of the Umatilla National Forest. If you’re looking for a good place to escape society, this is it. No one will bug you here.”

But clearly something about this extensively labeled group bugged you enough to embed an agent,” Eddie stated.

They call their compound America’s Preserve. The group has approximately forty people living in an abandoned campground,” Carleen told him. “The camp is the type of place churches rent for retreats. It has several cabins with bunk beds and a large hall with a kitchen for meetings, but it hadn’t been used in twenty years until this group took up residence about a year ago. The property is owned by a Ukiah resident who gave them permission to move in.” Carleen grimaced. “The ATF doesn’t want to reveal our interest, so no one has talked to the owner, but the general word in Ukiah is that the group is repairing the buildings in exchange for living there.”

And you embedded an agent because of the illegal-arms-buying aspect,” said Mercy.

Both agents nodded. And didn’t expand.

Mercy waited, but neither Carleen nor Neal jumped in to fill the silence.

But Eddie did. “What do you need from us?”

Carleen took a deep breath. “We need Mercy. Tomorrow a second agent was to join our undercover agent and pose as his girlfriend, but she came down with shingles.” She turned pleading eyes on Mercy.

Sweat started under her arms, and her pulse pounded in her ears.

They want me undercover in an illegal-arms-buying militia?

Last winter she’d gotten uncomfortably close to a budding militia outside of town and nearly paid for it with her life. It wasn’t something she cared to do again.

Jeff met her gaze. He knew how dangerous her last experience had been. His eyes were sympathetic, but he sat silent, allowing the agents to ask.

Get someone else,” Mercy forced out. “It doesn’t have to be me.”

Kendra Elliot has landed on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list multiple times and is the award-winning author of the Bone Secrets and Callahan & McLane series as well as the Mercy Kilpatrick novels. Kendra is a three-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award, an International Thriller Writers finalist, and an RT Award finalist. She has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on classic female heroines such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Laura Ingalls. She was born and raised, and still lives, in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her family, but she looks forward to the day she can live in flip-flops. Visit her at www.kendraelliot.com.

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Release Day Spotlight & Excerpt: Solstice Sizzle by Lilliana Rose

Solstice Sizzle (Pagan Pleasures Bk 2) by Lilliana Rose

Johan Rogers is a sharpshooting family lawyer who is close to burn out. This is affecting his ability with the Magiks and his once reliable skill as a medium. On a whim, he’s come south to Edi’s shop, Crystal Sands, for a break over the summer solstice. He’s looking for fun, nothing serious, and definitely no commitment. 

That’s how things start with the stunning Nova. But then a side of him he’s repressed to be a lawyer begins to emerge. Can he get a handle on his emotions, or will Nova help him to realize his full potential with the Magiks?

Nova McGinnis is struggling to find her unique skill with the Magiks. She’s been repressed too long, and despite Edi’s help, her ability is erratic at best. It’s been nearly a month of trying and she’s made minimal progress. Frustrated, she sees Johan as the perfect distraction. 

It was meant to be just a summer love affair, but things are developing into something more lasting. Will a hot love affair prevent Nova from discovering her Magik ability, or help her?

Nova is trying to find what her Magik skill is but it’s not happening as quickly as she would like. She’s frustrated, and in need of a distraction. Johan, a Magik who is a medium, might well be that distraction she’s in need of.

Nova, you have to be patient. If you force things, it will be like how you’ve been repressed. You have to go slowly and gently. It will all be shown to you as you’re ready.”
Nova wanted to believe Edi. “You’re telling me I’m not ready?”
Edi sighed and squeezed her hands. “You’re ready for only so much at a time. You’re not ready for what you want, but you will be.”
In time, right?”
Yes, in time.”
Can’t say I agree with this.” Nova wriggled her hands out of Edi’s. Her mentor was lovely, caring, the totally the opposite to her mom, and it was all starting to become too much for her. The emotions, frustration, and the memories.
Maybe that’s the problem.”
Nova sighed heavily. This was all beginning to give her a headache. She was even finding it challenging to make candles, her heart just didn’t seem to be in it.
Maybe you could do with a break?”
Nova didn’t want a break. But maybe that was what she needed. Her head was getting muddled, and so was her heart.
Can I buy this?” The man came up and put one of her candles on the counter.
That’s the wrong candle for you,” Nova said the words before she realized what was coming from her mouth.
Oh… then what do you suggest?” He raised an eyebrow.
A shiver went down her spine. She didn’t know this man, so how would she know what was the right candle for him? It had happened so quickly. He came to the counter with a candle, and her telling him it was the wrong one. Somehow, she knew it was the wrong candle, instinctively.
Is this part of my skill? Her skin prickled. Maybe.
Nova took a deep breath. She tried to keep connected to the intuition that had revealed itself, but it was hard standing so close to his man. His masculine energy melded with hers, even though they weren’t touching. He was sexy hot, well built, strong, taller than her, with shoulders she could rest her head on easily. He had an air of sophistication despite his casual attire—long shorts and a loose shirt with a diamond pattern on it. He was the complete package for a good time. The perfect distraction. And much more enjoyable than the intense meditation sessions with Edi.
She wanted to know more about him, and looking into his eyes would give her an insight into the sort of man he was. She took a risk and stared directly into his eyes.
Her breath caught unexpectedly. His dark eyes were an attractive caramel color, and just as tempting as the real dessert. She felt herself being drawn to him. There was a lack of commitment there, she could see it, along with the conflict swirling around in a darker tone.
Did she want to bother with someone who lacked commitment? If it were a distraction, then she knew her answer was a definite yes.
She’d been so focussed over the last month trying to find her skill with the Magiks without success, he could be just what she needed. A fling. A sexy time with a man who looked like he knew how to please a woman.
Exhaling, she managed to pull her mind back into gear. “You want something more like the black candle.” She chose her words carefully. The black candle was for clearing, and there was a lot of chaotic energies she was picking up in his aura. Again, she wasn’t sure why she was saying this candle. Perhaps it was the conflict she’d detected when looking in his eyes.
Nova picked up the candle he’d put on the counter. She’d detected it as the wrong one, but she’d not focussed on what its purpose was. Her breath quickened. It was the love candle.
Was he deep down really looking for love, for something more than a fling? A gentle shiver moved down her spine.
Why would he want this one? She glanced at him. Was he single? He’d been giving off that vibe. She’d been sure he was.
You don’t think love is in the air?” His tone was cheeky as he spoke.
She swallowed hard. Love? No, more like lust. “You looking?”
Hmm… well, I’m single.” He raised an eyebrow suggestively at her.
Nova felt a rush of heat to her face getting the confirmation she needed. And a little bit more.
Tick, he was single.

Lilliana is an Amazon Bestselling author, who writes romance in the subgenres of contemporary, paranormal, steampunk, and rural. She enjoys helping characters overcome problems, or issues, and the misunderstandings that often plague relationships, to help them fall in love. Whether it city heels being replaced with country work boots, or some magic beyond this world, or cogs and gears and corsets, each story shows how love can prevail.

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A Spotlight On: The Perfect Moment by Alix Kelso.

The Perfect Moment by Alix Kelso

Is there ever a perfect moment to begin again in life?
Ever since tragedy threw her life into turmoil, Laura has taken refuge at her waitressing job in Valentino’s restaurant in Glasgow's leafy Fairhill. Serving lattes and lunch specials means she’s too busy to think about all she lost, or the dreams she was forced to abandon. So when her beloved boss announces she’s selling the business, Laura is devastated. Hatching a plan to set her up with the local pub owner, Laura hopes the two of them will make a connection that might just change her mind.
Recovering from betrayal and heartbreak, Bruce is also in hiding from the world, and working in his uncle’s pub while he wonders how to restart his life. When Laura asks for help with her matchmaking scheme, he finds himself unable to refuse. She has a smile he can’t resist, no matter how much he wants to.
 But as their plan is set in motion, the matchmakers begin falling for each other. Yet Laura thinks she’s happy with her dull boyfriend, and Bruce won’t risk another broken heart. As the future of Valentino’s hangs in the balance, can these two lost and lonely people find the perfect moment to start their lives again together?
Treat yourself to THE PERFECT MOMENT, a sweet, funny, emotional romance about new beginnings and being brave enough to follow your heart.

Alix Kelso is the author of the Fairhill novel series. She’s happiest with her nose in a book and has been known to lash out dangerously if disturbed while reading. Having previously worked as a shop assistant, waitress, hospital cleaner and dishwasher, she eventually became a university lecturer. Although she loved the academic world of teaching and researching and helping her students, she always enjoyed writing stories in her spare time and finally decided to pursue her dream of publishing a novel and becoming a full time writer.
 She lives in her home city of Glasgow with her husband and their rescue lurcher, Maggie. She enjoys pottering in the kitchen, walking in Glasgow’s many lovely parks, and is a firm believer in the therapeutic benefits of a long lunch with a big glass of wine.