Toni Anderson’s The Killing Game in Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes

Toni Anderson’s stories have won many awards, and you can certainly see why in this excerpt from her story The Killing Game. The Killing Game is featured in the box set Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes. Grab a cup of coffee and read this delicious excerpt!

You can preorder your copy of Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes at the following outlets:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

RomancingTheMilitaryMan3DBoxSet_800px

THE KILLING GAME

2014 RITA® Finalist, and National Readers’ Choice Award Finalist in Romantic Suspense

Wildlife biologist Axelle Dehn isn’t about to let anyone harm her endangered snow leopards—not the poacher intent on killing them, nor the soldier who wants to use them as bait. But Axelle is unknowingly entangled in a conflict that stretches back three decades, a conflict that could spark a war between two of the world’s great nations.

British SAS soldier, Ty Dempsey, is on a mission to hunt down an infamous Russian terrorist in a remote region of Afghanistan. Dempsey hasn’t failed a mission yet, but when Axelle is kidnapped by the Russian, he is forced to choose between duty and his heart. He risks everything to save the determined, prickly woman he’s fallen for, but in doing so sparks a deadly series of events that threaten to expose the most successful spy in history. A spy who will destroy anyone who gets in his way.

* *

He held up his hands and turned, relieved to see the woman and not some Taliban nutter or aging Russian terrorist squaring off with him.

Unfortunately the woman was holding a Glock-17 as though she knew how to use it.

“Afternoon,” he observed calmly.

“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t put a bullet in you right now.” Her accent told him she was American.

A joke about the second commandment probably wouldn’t work considering his Diemaco and SIG Sauer were locked and loaded with one in the chamber.

“Is there anyone who’d actually give a damn about a man like you?” Her throat convulsed, and hatred sculpted the lines of her mouth.

The question jolted him. He had mates in the Regiment, but no one else really cared if he lived or died. But she didn’t know that.

He looked at her white knuckles and the pulse beating frantically at the base of her throat. There was something going on here that he didn’t understand.

She stood close. Not close enough.

“You need to put the gun down,” he told her calmly.

“You sonofabitch, you don’t even care, do you?” Her eyes narrowed into glinting slits of rage. Not good. “You think it’s all right for you to murder and kill, but as soon as someone turns the tables—”

“Not true.” He edged closer. “I care very much.”

Her accent was definitely Yankee but held a hint of European. French, maybe. He moved another inch, saw her chest rapidly pump oxygen. He worked on calming her down, talking quietly so she had to lean forward to hear. “I don’t know who you are or what you’re talking about, but I’d hate for somebody to get hurt because of a case of mistaken identity.” Did she have some anti-western affiliation? Anti-war agenda?

“There’s no mistake.” Her lips quivered. “How much money were you offered? I’d have paid you double to leave them alone.”

He frowned. He didn’t have a clue what she was talking about, but she was within reach now. She blinked against the sun so he lunged, grabbing the gun, aiming it away from their bodies and snatching it out of her hands before tossing it out of reach. She struggled and kicked and punched at him, landing one solid blow to his nose, driving white-hot agony through his brain.

Suck it up, Buttercup.

She fought like a rabid wolf, and he could barely keep hold of the seething, whirling mass of fury without hurting her. He finally captured both her hands in one of his, forcing her onto her knees and down onto the ground, face first in the dirt. He used his weight to pin her while he searched for the flexicuffs he kept in his pockets. They took a moment to locate as he was distracted by all that wriggling.

She froze, perhaps realizing that hard thing in his pocket wasn’t another gun. She twisted around to stare at him with hate-filled eyes. He pressed his lips together and tugged the cuffs around a pair of wrists so slim he could circle both with one hand. Then he ran his hands over her body, searching for hidden weapons, making it quick, impersonal but thorough. She flinched when he reached between her legs.

“I’m not going to hurt you.”

“Sure you’re not.” The sarcasm dripped from her words and set his teeth on edge. He wasn’t the bad guy. He wasn’t the one who’d pulled a gun on someone. He finished the search and sat back on his heels. Jesus. This slip of a female had done something no one had in years. Gotten the drop on him. He was thankful none of the lads were here to witness his humiliation.

Underestimating the enemy. Stupid.

He frowned at her as she lay muttering and fighting her bonds. She tried to roll away but he grabbed her and hauled her back. He had questions. Lots of questions, but the high color burning across her cheeks warned him he needed to cool things down a bit. Change direction.

Right now he was an adversary. The chance of winning hearts and minds had never been more unlikely.

He slipped off his pack, went and retrieved her pistol, stuffed it in his pocket, grabbed both their water canteens. The horse stood with one foot cocked. Dozing in the afternoon sun, despite all the excitement.

Dempsey towered over her. She glared up at him and he had to suppress a grin because she wasn’t in the least cowed by the difference in size or weaponry. She had courage but—despite the Glock—little training in the art of close-quarter combat. Crouching, he offered her a drink. To his surprise she rolled onto her side and parted her lips. He cupped her head as he poured a little water inside her mouth. Her hair felt soft against his calloused palms.

She swallowed before jerking free of his touch.

He sat on the cold hard earth and drank his own water, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

“What?” She glared.

He said nothing. Just looked off toward where the sun was starting its slow descent in the sky.

“Are you just going to leave me tied up?” She started fighting her bonds again.

He grunted. I wish. “You’re going to hurt yourself if you don’t stop that.” He didn’t shift his gaze from the horizon. Why should he care?

A slight flicker of movement in the distance caught his eye. A subtle shift of shadows high above him on the slope. He brought his scope to his eye to check it out. It took forever to make out the cunning camouflage of a snow leopard against the tawny browns and moss green of the hillside. A smile tugged his lips. They were rare, and he’d never seen one in the wild before. It wore a collar, which was what he figured was going on with these people in their little camp on the edge of nowhere. Although he hadn’t figured on being held at gunpoint by someone he assumed was a wildlife biologist.

* *

Reserve your copy at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

 

 

 

Lisa Hughey’s Still The One in Romancing The Military Man Box Set

Yet another intriguing excerpt for you. Lisa Hughey is sharing a clip from her Stone series novel Still The One which is featured in Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes box set now on preorder for only 99 cents.

You can grab your copy at these outlets:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

RomancingTheMilitaryMan3DBoxSet_800px

Jack Stone, former Navy SEAL, and oldest Stone sibling is determined to keep his family strong. Family is everything. So he starts Global Humanitarian Relief and Stone Consulting to do some good and keep his family together. But when he has to team up with his old flame, Bliss, on a missing persons case, an evil threatens him, his family and the one woman he could never forget and doesn’t want to let go. Can these two former lovers put aside past hurts and heal their hearts?

* *

Bliss Lee rubbed her damp palms over her navy blue, Federally-approved pantsuit, and forced herself not to pace.

“Relax,” Jillian Larson, her boss and friend, directed and threw up her hands. “He’s just a guy.”

But Jack Stone wasn’t just a guy. He was The Guy. The one who got away, even though she’d initiated their break-up. The one who, despite her attempts to find another guy, ruined her for every other man she’d ever been intimate with. Except that had been their problem. Jack Stone didn’t really know how to be intimate.

Sex, yes. Emotional intimacy, no.

He’d been excellent at the sex part. But he’d never bared his private self to her. Although she’d had her own issues with being completely honest, she’d tried as much as she could. Her lack of honesty was more omission than lying. But her awkward half-attempts and Jack’s inability had been too much strain for their young relationship. And once he’d joined the Navy, she’d been done.

Unfortunately, Bliss had never found another bond close to what she’d had with Jack, flaws and all. Even her ex-husband couldn’t measure up to Jack Stone. And after a long two years of trying to make their marriage work, they had, less than amicably, decided to end it. Her ex-husband had accused her of hiding things. And she had been. Most of all she’d been hiding the fact that she was still in love with a man she’d kicked out years earlier.

Bliss’s throat tightened. “Keep telling me that.”

Her heart boomed in her chest, furious and nearly out-of-control.

Jill’s hand wrapped around Bliss’s wrist tightly, grounding her, reining her in. Bliss took a deep breath, gathered her scattered composure, and nodded. “Ready.”

“Show him in,” Jillian said calmly to Marissa.

The perfunctory knock was quick and then the door swung open. Bliss forced herself to turn, braced for the impact of seeing Jack Stone again.

Jack strode into the office like he owned it. Dressed in khaki cargo pants and a black t-shirt, the cotton strained across his forty-six inch chest, his huge biceps tested the hem of his short sleeves. He had a canvas duffel slung over his shoulder and a multi-dial watch strapped to his solid, thick wrist.

He didn’t falter when his gaze connected with hers, but she was pretty sure his shoulders tightened almost imperceptibly. They locked gazes, his ever-changing hazel eyes appeared almost pure green today and mesmerized her with their intensity.

The shock of his penetrating regard held her immobile. She damned her extreme visceral reaction as stunning emotions and images from years ago waterfalled through her brain; Joy, Jack laughing as he picked her up and swung her around like she was a kid; Love, Jack lying in bed, sheets tangled around his legs, his large chest bare, arm propped behind his head, eager smile on his face, as he waited impatiently for her to join him; Lust, Jack with water droplets running down his body and disappearing into the wrap of his towel, the bulge of his erection a sign of his passion; Pain, Jack’s stunned expression when she told him goodbye; and finally despair, the stark, unrelenting ache that gripped her for weeks and months after he’d left.

Each image and the emotion behind the remembrance pierced her heart, until she was sure she must be bleeding out onto Jill’s intricately woven, twenty-thousand-dollar Persian carpet.

Jack stopped in front of Jillian, dropped his duffel to the floor, and held out his solid, wide palm.

“Jack Stone.” His hands were big and scarred and tough, just like the rest of him. Those hands had caressed every inch of her body and brought her to heights of ecstasy that she hadn’t climbed since he’d left.

He looked good. Damn him. Better than good, great. He had some new lines around his eyes, and his hair was a little longer. His face had matured, the softness of the young adult he’d been was now honed to a sharpness that only ramped up his attractiveness. A thin strip of hair was missing from his right eyebrow, a white scar creased the arch, and her heart stopped as she recognized that the missing strip was likely from a bullet graze.

He’d almost had his head blown off.

She swallowed down the fear that mushroomed through her. Based on the faded whiteness of the scar, the damage had happened a long time ago.

He’d filled out since she’d last seen him, and he’d already been big to begin with. His physical size had been comforting and engendered a feeling of safety and security for a girl who’d had far too much upheaval and violence in her early life.

Not that Jack knew anything about that, of course. She’d never told him about her childhood. She wasn’t supposed to tell anyone. Ever.

Preorder Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iBooks

The Dare: Sizzling Romantic Suspense With Edge

The Dare was the first erotic romance I ever wrote. It was originally published in 2002, and it launched me into a new space where I wrote quite a few erotic romances over the years for more than one publisher. Today Loose ID has published The Dare again! If you’re into alpha males, the hero is for you. But he’s a good guy with a soft heart that takes a while for the heroine to see. Check out this snippet from The Dare. You can find The Dare at Loose ID and it will be up at other retailers soon!

Get Your Copy Here!

 

DA_TheDare_coverin

Mousy and just plain boring…

Tired of self-denial and being cloistered by her father’s over protectiveness, wealthy painter Isabella takes a vacation alone.

Tough and way too cocky…

Police officer Luca Angello is self-confident, powerfully sexual, and on the trail of gang members attacking women.

Isabella thinks Luca is shallow and only out for a good time. Luca thinks Isabella needs some loosening up.

Fear brings them together…

When danger throws her into his arms, she discovers that he can reach her depths in ways she never could have imagined.

* *

Bella thought she could finish drying the car before Luca appeared again. No such luck. He strode out of his house a few minutes later, his expression reserved. She’d never guess in a million years this was the man who had kissed her into the next century and set her blood on fire.

Nope. Cool as fresh watermelon, his gaze said he was all business. His wet hair and change of clothes told her he’d taken a shower. He wore a plain green T-shirt and a pair of jeans. The snug fit of his T-shirt showed his wide shoulders to perfection. His almost-new-looking jeans skimmed his lower body affectionately but without a tight fit. If Bella thought his ravenous kiss and brazen attitude would turn her off, she’d discovered that she couldn’t be more wrong. Her body still throbbed and tingled in places she didn’t want to think about, and she knew if she looked in a mirror right now, her lips would be red and a bit swollen. She sucked in a breath as he arrived in front of her.

He held a black wallet out to her. “My identification.”

Bella took the leather wallet reluctantly. Flipping it open, she saw it held the usual ID, including a driver’s license that declared his name to be Luca Thomas Angello. Next to that she found an ID card proving he was a detective with the Piper’s Grove Police Department. After examining the badge attached to the inside of the wallet, she also glanced at his vital statistics. Thirty-seven years old, six feet four inches tall, and two hundred pounds. Black hair, black eyes, and the sexiest aura on the planet.

Uh-huh. As if it said that on his ID.

“Do I pass muster?” he asked.

She frowned as she handed the wallet back to him. “Great. So you’re a cop.”

“Now you know you can trust me.”

She crossed her arms and shook her head. “I think we’d better keep our distance. If you’ll excuse me, I have things to do.”

With an indulgent smile, he reached into his wallet and pulled out a business card. “Here. My cell number is at the bottom.”

Bella knew she had to make a fast escape, or this man would take hold of her senses once again. Before she could move a foot, his hand clasped her upper arm gently.

“Look, I’m sorry about what happened earlier. I was a dick. I didn’t mean to scare you or come on so strong. If you see or hear anything suspicious, or if you’re ever frightened, call me on the cell phone. It’s on all the time.”

He walked back to his condo without another word.

Surprised by the apology, she stood there a minute. After she rewound the garden hose, she gathered up the car-washing items and carried them into the small utility room in the condo. Her entire body seemed to be trembling. Disgusted with her lack of control, Bella decided she would do something to get her mind off the exasperating man. She went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to get iced tea. After pouring herself a tumbler of tea, she pressed the ice-cold glass against her face and tried to regulate the pounding of her heart. What on earth had happened in the past few hours?

Had she ever experienced quite this much fire and fury with one man? She thought about it, staring into nothingness as she sipped her tea. She’d left Denver to avoid complications, and somehow they found her anyway. Because he was a cop, part of her longed to tell him what happened to her in Denver; the other part of her said she didn’t have concrete proof of anything.

No, better to keep quiet about the reason she’d left her father’s estate.

Involuntarily, she glanced through her kitchen window. No one was out there watching her. She rushed over to the window and drew the cellular shade down as apprehension touched her. She leaned against the counter while her stomach roiled. Wanting to control the fear, she closed her eyes and thought instead of the weird combination of trepidation and safety she felt when Luca was nearby. Mad at herself for giving in to anxiety, she lifted the shade. She looked at Luca’s kitchen window again. Bella almost expected to see Luca standing in his kitchen, buck naked.

Heat filled her face. She must do something to take her mind off the past few hours. She scanned the house, aware for the first time that the rental didn’t say comfort so much as it said mediocre. The modern paintings on the walls and the chrome-and- glass furniture screamed impersonal. Her room at her father’s estate had every luxury a woman could ask for—whirlpool tub, giant shower, huge mirrors, large walk-in closet. You name it, she owned it.

Even there, though, she’d felt detached and as if she didn’t belong anywhere.

Tears prickled her eyes, and she blinked. Bella felt adrift and uncomfortable with the raging desire and confusion rising inside her. She slumped on the couch and stared at the white walls, the entertainment center with the large television, the tile floor, and the elegant throw rugs. The place didn’t speak to her, nor did the silence.

She needed something to release the real Isabella Markham.

But what?

That’s why I came here. To seek and find the answers. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? How can I resolve the feeling that something horrible hovers just outside my knowledge, waiting to pounce?

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Jan Springer’s Christmas Lovers in Romancing The Military Man Box Set on Preorder Now!

Hey everyone! This week I’m giving you a sneak peek into Jan Springer’s tale in the Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes box set which is on preorder now for 99 cents. Warning! This except is saucy.

Romancing The Military: Ten Hot Military Heroes

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

RomancingTheMilitaryMan2D_800px

Christmas Lovers

Sergeant Connor Jordan, wounded overseas and sent back to the States to recuperate, just cannot stop fantasizing about the sexy nurse who cared for him.

When his brothers give him a holiday gift certificate to Kidnap Fantasies, a top-secret fantasy organization, Connor knows he’ll use their gift, if only to help him forget his wickedly delicious attraction to Nurse Sparks.

Nurse Tania Sparks has always been purely professional with her injured soldiers…until sinfully sexy Connor Jordan enters her hospital. He makes her body throb with an intense desire she’s never known before.

The last thing she wants is to get involved with the injured warrior. So what’s a woman supposed to do to relieve her naughty frustrations? Call Kidnap Fantasies and have them supply her with a look-alike man who’ll help her forget her sexy soldier…

When Tania and Connor unexpectedly come together at a secluded mountain chalet, their love explodes in a ménage of passion, sensuous desires and a happily forever after.

* *

Pain.

So much pain he could just scream, as he lay helpless in the U.S. military hospital bed they’d brought him to.

He remembered the nurse, the one with the soft voice who he’d immediately fallen in love with. She’d said something about burns and broken bones to his lower legs. A shrapnel wound near his heart. A concussion. Temporary blindness.

Shit, he was a freaking mess, wasn’t he?

But he’d been stabilized overseas. Brought back to the States at the direction of his brothers. They’d pulled heavy-duty strings getting him here so fast. They’d wanted him recuperating close to home, not in some foreign country.

Snatches of memories sifted through his mind. Memories of an explosion. Searing heat. Too-bright orange flames.

He remembered the agonized cries. His buddies’ cries, the feeling of helplessness. The terror and then, thankfully, the darkness.

Sergeant Connor Jordan jerked involuntarily as a feminine hand smoothed over his hot forehead.

Nurse Sparks, his Florence Nightingale.

She was back on duty, and he felt relieved. She always smelled so damned good and her soft touches were quick to settle his uneasiness. Quick to make the memories of that horrible day disappear.

“I can see they took the bandages off your eyes.”

Her voice sounded so sexy. Intimate. As if he were the only man in the world for her. She moved into his field of vision and he finally saw her for the first time.

Sexy chocolate-brown eyes and a wild tangle of dark-brown hair greeted him. Her plump cheeks were flushed a pretty pink as if she’d just come in from a brisk walk.

Her mouth…perfection.

The sweet knot that had settled into his lower belly the first time he’d heard her voice a few days ago turned into something else. Turned into a scorching, driving need. A craving to have her soft, warm lips wrap around his erection.

“You can see me okay, soldier?”

Soldier, her nickname for him. He’d bet she called all the boys that.

He nodded.

She smiled. Dimples exploded in her cheeks and he fell in love with her all over again.

Oh man! Was he already experiencing the infamous Florence Nightingale Syndrome soldiers talked about? Had he fallen in love with the nurse who was caring for him?

If that were the case, then he was in really big trouble.

And so was his cock…

Karen Fenech’s CAUGHT in Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes on Preorder Now!

 

RomancingTheMilitaryMan2D_800px

Hey everyone! Today I’m bringing you Karen Fenech’s story CAUGHT, which is part of the military romantic suspense box set Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes now on preorder now for 99cents!

Authors in the box set include: New York Times, USA Today and National Best Selling Authors Sharon Hamilton, Caridad Pineiro, Toni Anderson, Karen Fenech, Kathy Kulig, Jan Springer, Lisa Hughey, Denise A. Agnew, Adrienne Bell and Monique Dubois

 

What makes a hot military hero?

Whether it’s romance, suspense, or action/adventure—Romancing the Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes Box Set offers ten romance stories with something for everyone who craves a hot military hero. For a limited time this is your chance to enjoy books from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and national bestselling authors.

Check out Karen’s excerpt and after that pick up your copy of our box set for 99 cents. BONUS: You could win a Kindle if you attend our release party on Facebook at  scheduled for September 29, 2015, so sign up now right here!

CAUGHT (A Protectors Series Novella that takes place between the Protectors books and may be read on its own)

While on her way home from work, Elle Jameson is abducted by a human trafficker. Her abductor, Sloane Devlin, is a man cloaked in secrets and contradictions. He takes her away from the traffickers he works for but will not set her free.  Sloane claims all is not as it seems and that he will see her safely home. Elle cannot separate the truth from the lie yet despite her resolve she is softening toward him and believing him, trusting him, may cost Elle her life.

EXCERPT:

The man who bumped into Elle was big. Under the glow of the street light, she had to admit he was one of the most handsome men she’d ever seen. Tall, broad shouldered, his full dark hair was windblown from the kick of the wind blowing this evening and just brushed the collar of the overcoat unbuttoned over a charcoal gray suit.
Square, strong jaw darkened by a sexy five o’clock shadow. He was peering out at her from deep blue eyes. Oh, yes, he was hot.
“Sorry,” he said.
Even his voice was sexy. She’d been so preoccupied with thoughts of the apartment that she hadn’t seen him coming toward her. She started to say, “That’s okay” when she realized he’d made no move to step away from her. In fact, he was still pressed against her. Despite the clothing that separated them, she could feel his every rock hard muscle. A definite pick me up to end a long work day.
She moved to step back from him herself, albeit reluctantly, when his eyes widened on her slightly.
“Shit,” he muttered, his brows drawing together.
Elle felt a flash of annoyance. Well, hell, he’d walked into her. Before she could tell him that, his arm swung around her shoulders. He pulled her closer, tight against him.
“What are you doing?” Alarm replaced the annoyance. She took a step back, or tried to, but something pricked her neck. In her peripheral vision, she saw him palm a small syringe.
An instant later, the syringe disappeared in his coat pocket. He’d injected her with something. Four alarm fear shot through her. She opened her mouth to scream her lungs out, but no sound came out. Her eyelids drooped. The big step away from him that broke into a run that she made, turned out to be only in her mind. All she managed to do was drag one foot against the other.
She stumbled against him. Unable to fully support her own weight now, her head lolled onto his chest. His arm wrapped around her, supporting her and slowly, as if he had all the time in the world, he began to lead her away from the store window, along the sidewalk to the street curb where a car was parked.
There wasn’t much pedestrian traffic at this time of evening. Many nine-to-fivers would already be home, but a man and woman passed by Elle and the man leading her away, their arms wrapped around each other against the evening chill.
Elle tried to get the couple’s attention. To let the man and woman walking briskly by, hunched into their jackets against the slow drizzle, know that Elle was being led away against her will.

Romancing The Military: Ten Hot Military Heroes

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo Coming Soon

The Dare: On Preorder Now At 10% Discount

Howdy everyone! I hope you’re having a great week so far. Do you like your romantic suspense spicy? The Dare was the first erotic romance I wrote and it was originally published in 2002. I updated it this year for Loose ID and they’ve released it with a delicious new cover by artist Scott Carpenter. Today I’ve got an excerpt for you from which is on preorder now at Loose ID for a 10 percent discount.

Grab Your Discount Copy Right Here!

DA_TheDare_coverin

Mousy and just plain boring…

Tired of self-denial and being cloistered by her father’s over protectiveness, wealthy painter Isabella takes a vacation alone.

Tough and way too cocky…

Police officer Luca Angello is self-confident, powerfully sexual, and on the trail of gang members attacking women.

Isabella thinks Luca is shallow and only out for a good time. Luca thinks Isabella needs some loosening up.

Fear brings them together…

When danger throws her into his arms, she discovers that he can reach her depths in ways she never could have imagined.

* *

Bella thought she could finish drying the car before Luca appeared again. No such luck. He strode out of his house a few minutes later, his expression reserved. She’d never guess in a million years this was the man who had kissed her into the next century and set her blood on fire.

Nope. Cool as fresh watermelon, his gaze said he was all business. His wet hair and change of clothes told her he’d taken a shower. He wore a plain green T-shirt and a pair of jeans. The snug fit of his T-shirt showed his wide shoulders to perfection. His almost-new-looking jeans skimmed his lower body affectionately but without a tight fit. If Bella thought his ravenous kiss and brazen attitude would turn her off, she’d discovered that she couldn’t be more wrong. Her body still throbbed and tingled in places she didn’t want to think about, and she knew if she looked in a mirror right now, her lips would be red and a bit swollen. She sucked in a breath as he arrived in front of her.

He held a black wallet out to her. “My identification.”

Bella took the leather wallet reluctantly. Flipping it open, she saw it held the usual ID, including a driver’s license that declared his name to be Luca Thomas Angello. Next to that she found an ID card proving he was a detective with the Piper’s Grove Police Department. After examining the badge attached to the inside of the wallet, she also glanced at his vital statistics. Thirty-seven years old, six feet four inches tall, and two hundred pounds. Black hair, black eyes, and the sexiest aura on the planet.

Uh-huh. As if it said that on his ID.

“Do I pass muster?” he asked.

She frowned as she handed the wallet back to him. “Great. So you’re a cop.”

“Now you know you can trust me.”

She crossed her arms and shook her head. “I think we’d better keep our distance. If you’ll excuse me, I have things to do.”

With an indulgent smile, he reached into his wallet and pulled out a business card. “Here. My cell number is at the bottom.”

Bella knew she had to make a fast escape, or this man would take hold of her senses once again. Before she could move a foot, his hand clasped her upper arm gently.

“Look, I’m sorry about what happened earlier. I was a dick. I didn’t mean to scare you or come on so strong. If you see or hear anything suspicious, or if you’re ever frightened, call me on the cell phone. It’s on all the time.”

He walked back to his condo without another word.

Surprised by the apology, she stood there a minute. After she rewound the garden hose, she gathered up the car-washing items and carried them into the small utility room in the condo. Her entire body seemed to be trembling. Disgusted with her lack of control, Bella decided she would do something to get her mind off the exasperating man. She went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to get iced tea. After pouring herself a tumbler of tea, she pressed the ice-cold glass against her face and tried to regulate the pounding of her heart. What on earth had happened in the past few hours?

Had she ever experienced quite this much fire and fury with one man? She thought about it, staring into nothingness as she sipped her tea. She’d left Denver to avoid complications, and somehow they found her anyway. Because he was a cop, part of her longed to tell him what happened to her in Denver; the other part of her said she didn’t have concrete proof of anything.

No, better to keep quiet about the reason she’d left her father’s estate.

Involuntarily, she glanced through her kitchen window. No one was out there watching her. She rushed over to the window and drew the cellular shade down as apprehension touched her. She leaned against the counter while her stomach roiled. Wanting to control the fear, she closed her eyes and thought instead of the weird combination of trepidation and safety she felt when Luca was nearby. Mad at herself for giving in to anxiety, she lifted the shade. She looked at Luca’s kitchen window again. Bella almost expected to see Luca standing in his kitchen, buck naked.

Heat filled her face. She must do something to take her mind off the past few hours. She scanned the house, aware for the first time that the rental didn’t say comfort so much as it said mediocre. The modern paintings on the walls and the chrome-and- glass furniture screamed impersonal. Her room at her father’s estate had every luxury a woman could ask for—whirlpool tub, giant shower, huge mirrors, large walk-in closet. You name it, she owned it.

Even there, though, she’d felt detached and as if she didn’t belong anywhere.

Tears prickled her eyes, and she blinked. Bella felt adrift and uncomfortable with the raging desire and confusion rising inside her. She slumped on the couch and stared at the white walls, the entertainment center with the large television, the tile floor, and the elegant throw rugs. The place didn’t speak to her, nor did the silence.

She needed something to release the real Isabella Markham.

But what?

That’s why I came here. To seek and find the answers. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? How can I resolve the feeling that something horrible hovers just outside my knowledge, waiting to pounce?

Grab Your Copy At A Preorder Discount Right Here.

Coming July 1: Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes


RomancingTheMilitaryMan2D_800px

Today I’m teasing you with a tiny sampler of my story Saved By The Marine, which is featured in the box set Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes. This box set is available on preorder July 1. I’m excited to be in this set with Jan Springer, Adrienne Bell, Toni Anderson, Riley J. Ford, Lisa Hughey, Kathy Kulig, Carded Pineiro, Sharon Hamilton and Karen Fenech. Here’s a taste of the box set.

Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes

Whether it’s romance, suspense, or action/adventure—Romancing the Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes Box Set offers ten romance stories with something for everyone who craves a hot military hero. For a limited time this is your chance to enjoy books from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and national bestselling authors.

Excerpt from Denise A. Agnew’s Saved By The Marine:

Explosive danger creates a whirlwind of heat between two strangers…

At forty years old, Candy Cartright isn’t eager to indulge in girlish dreams of ‘happily ever after’ when she attends her friend’s wedding. When she runs into a suit and tie guy at the hotel bar, she thinks he’s a nerd businessman.

Retired US Marine Mike Compton finds it amusing that Candy at first mistakes him for a nerd. He’s not looking for a hookup, but he can’t resist the challenge in her eyes. However, when unexpected danger forces them into tight quarters, they discover there’s a hell of lot more to both of them than meets the eye.

* *

Mike followed her onto the dance floor. As they eased into a tight spot, she flowed into his arms on instinct. He didn’t hold her close—he kept their distance formal. She placed her hand on his shoulder, and he cupped her waist and hand. As the music grew a little louder, she smiled up at him. Mike was tall. Even with her heels the top of her head only came level with his eyes. She drew in a deep breath and found his all-male scent a bit intoxicating. Right. It is just the whiskey. But one whiskey didn’t usually cause her to feel this giddy, and being this close to Mike Compton gave her a definite thrill she couldn’t explain. As they moved slowly, the love song’s sultry sound drew her nearer to Mike. She appreciated his formality, yet one part of her wondered what it would feel like to be held close in his arms. His big hands were so damned gentle on hers, yet she sensed a lot of leashed power within them. She caught site of Jessica and Arnie watching her, and Jessica gave her a thumbs up sign. Arnie had a big grin. For a half second she wondered if they’d set her up. Nah. Jessica wouldn’t do that. Would she? She had to know.

“Did Jessica put you up to this?” she asked.

He leaned in closer. His gaze was puzzled. “Put me up to what?”

“I thought maybe she sent you over to dance with me.”

He smiled. “She didn’t send me over. I was late getting to the bar because I was on the slopes skiing earlier today, then I went to dinner with an old friend. Just got in not long ago.”

“Ah, I see.” Time to change the subject. “Did you grow up around here?”

“Yeah, I did. My parents did, too. They owned a ranch here. Mom still works it with my brother and his wife.”

After that they clammed up, and she wondered if his silence meant she’d made a horrible first impression. They moved around the dance floor and after two songs her feet wouldn’t take it any more.

“Afraid these shoes are killing me,” she said with a groan.

He smiled. “Let’s get back to our drinks.”

As he released her hand the warmth of his fingers passing over hers sent a sweet tingle through her skin. She sank onto the barstool and nursed her drink, while he took his time with the remainder of his beer.

“Thanks for the dances,” he said quietly, his eyes still intent on her.

She hadn’t experienced this level of male attention in so long she wasn’t sure what to do with it. She was out of practice making clever conversation.

“You’re welcome. You’re a good dancer.” She didn’t know what the hell to say next, so she said the first odd thing that came to mind. “How tall are you anyway?”

“Six three.”

“Are you a friend of Arnie’s?” she asked, elevating her voice a little as a loud song cam over the speakers.

“From way back. We’ve worked together before.”

A little spark of surprise hit her. “Military?”

“Yep.” When she gaped at him, he grinned.

She bit her lower lip. “I was thinking you could be anything from a soldier to an accountant.”

His nose wrinkled and he chuckled. “Oh, man. Accountant.”

Slightly embarrassed that she’d assumed so much, she said, “Sorry. The glasses threw me off.”

He peered at her. “Are you telling me you’re one of those people who judges by looks?”

Feeling like an idiot, she fessed up. “I don’t usually. But I confess I did this time.”

“It’s okay.” He gestured at the glasses. “I usually wear contacts. These are my BC glasses.”

“BC?”

“Birth control glasses.”

She gave a short burst of laughter. “I see. Because…”

“If you wear them no one will want to make love to you,” he said in a deadpan tone.

Wow. Warmth filled her lower body at the thought of kissing him much less doing the nasty with him. Her imagination went riot. What would he be like as a lover? Were his muscles as glorious as she imagined? Stop Candy. Despite the personal admonition, her body didn’t care. Her nipples tightened against her bra. Thank God the slight padding would camouflage high beams.

Time to get some perspective. “I’ll be right back. Off to powder my nose.”

He nodded. “Where are the restrooms anyway?”

“In the hallway down toward the exit.” She stood and shifted the small clutch handbag over her shoulder.

“I’m going that way, too. Meet you back at the bar?” he asked as he stood and followed her toward the door leading into the hallway.

“Meet you there.” She smiled as he headed in the same direction as her—the men’s room lay across the hallway from the women’s restroom.

Minutes later she stood near the sinks using a hand dryer when she thought she heard a few noises outside she couldn’t identify. Shouts? She stood still and tried to hear over the obnoxious roar of the hand dryer. Again she heard something. A booming noise? What the—?

Her heartbeat picked up the pace. Hands dry, she headed toward the door when she heard shouts outside and then screams and then— Oh shit.

Gunfire.

 

Release Day! Excerpt: Winterfall (The Wasteland Trilogy #3)

Howdy all! I hope you’ve had a great week. Today is the release of Winterfall (The Wasteland Trilogy #3). I had a great time writing about people in Maine after a super volcano explodes in California. Poor California! Always getting destroyed in disaster movies. When I wrote The Wasteland Trilogy I decided these stories would be more about the hero and heroine in each story, their relationship and maybe some of the things that happened to them when the volcano erupted. These stories aren’t about the actual eruptions themselves, but more what might/could/has been theorized would happen on the East Coast of the United States if an event like this did happen. But again, these stories are more about relationships and how people might form those relationships in a time of crisis. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into Winterfall. You can find Winterfall at the following outlets:

Liquid Silver Books

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

winterfall

 

A firefighter and a former soldier have survived an apocalypse, but there is still danger lurking in the winter light

Firefighter Juliet Van Pelt’s strength comes from previous adversity, but there’s an arsonist in town who wants to crank up the heat. When threatening letters target her, she turns to the one man she has never forgotten. Former Army Ranger and sniper Mark O’Day can’t forget the woman he met months ago when their city was in chaos and they shared a dangerous moment. When opportunity brings her into his life again and danger threatens, he knows there is no alternative but to keep her close and never let her go.

* *

Juliet’s eyes almost teared when she caught sight of the four homes across the street leveled to nothing more than charred ruins. “What a mess.”

Mark’s voice sounded a little hoarse. “I’m thankful it didn’t leap the street and get to your house, but I feel bad for those people.”

She couldn’t make her throat work as she imagined all the memories in the burned structures. “At least no one was killed or injured.”

“At least.”

When they parked behind Jeeter and Okono, she unbuckled her seatbelt. “I won’t take long.”

“Want me to go with you?”

She glanced at Jeeter and Okono standing expectantly on the sidewalk. “I have a feeling they’re volunteering for duty.” She grinned. “Gotta keep the overkill going.”

He laughed and they exited the SUV. Part of her wondered if she was imagining it, but were three men actually jockeying for her attention? It didn’t make sense for Okono, because all he’d shown her was misogynistic tendencies. Jeeter liked her, but she wasn’t convinced he wanted her as his girlfriend. Now Mark…Mark did it for her mentally and physically. His teasing, the banter, and their talk about sex had thrilled her on a level she hadn’t experienced with a man in ages. Remembering how hot and amazing his kisses were threatened to set her panties on fire. Part of her thought maybe she should just do him and get it out of her system.

Someone was speaking to her, but she’d totally missed what they’d said. “What?”

Jeeter frowned, and she hated seeing that since he usually had such a happy-go-lucky personality. “You okay? You were about a mile away.”

She smiled to reassure the three men staring at her. “Absolutely. I’ll get my mail.” She walked over to the mailbox, grabbed the bundle of envelopes inside and walked toward them. “You guys hang out here, and I’ll go inside and get a bag ready. I need my car, so I’ll back that onto the street.”

To her surprise, no one objected.

“Amazing,” she said. “That was easy.”

“What was easy?” Okono asked.

She smiled and saluted as she walked away.

She drew in a deep breath and reality hit her in the face. The air still smelled like smoke. She headed up the sidewalk. Once inside the house, she shut the door. She’d left all the curtains closed and had to flip a light on to see. Damn. Even the house smelled like smoke. She wrinkled her nose and threw the mail on the living room table. She took the stairs quickly and went to her bedroom to put together a bag. She threw together a few days’ worth of easy wear clothing. Who knew how long the investigation would take? If they kept this street evacuated for a while, she didn’t plan on returning any time soon. Yet she also couldn’t rely on Sentry Security’s continuing hospitality. She shrugged off the worry. She’d deal with things as they came.

She removed her heels, which were starting to bug her feet, and dragged off the pantyhose, which were making her legs itch. “Thank you God.”

She shucked the sweater dress and tossed it into the hamper, then slipped into her favorite blue sweater, a pair of relaxed jeans, and athletic shoes. When she went downstairs with her weekender bag, she noticed the combination telephone and answering machine for the first time. She had one message. Without thinking she pushed the button to listen.

“Hi sweetie. This is Dad.”

She dropped the bag on the floor in surprise. That was his voice all right. Gravelly. Deep.

“Yeah, I know you’re not too crazy to hear from me. I’m out of prison finally. I’ve served my time and want to reconnect. I heard about the fires in Buckleport and the one across from your house. Wanted to make sure you were okay. If you…look, you probably hate my guts and I understand that. I’d like to connect, though. I’ll try calling you again soon. Take care and stay safe.”

Shivers ran up and down her body, goosebumps trailing up her arms. Dad. Years had gone by since they’d talked, since she’d made the decision to cut him out of her life. Could he have changed in that time? Or had the penitentiary turned him into a worse monster? She rubbed her arms. Whatever. She needed to report this to the Fire Marshal and the police.

“Great. Just great,” she said.

She retrieved the mail and leafed through it quickly in case there was a bill to pay. Junk mail mostly.

“Well, we know the apocalypse wasn’t too bad. People still send junk mail,” she said.

One envelope made her blood run cold, and she tossed the rest on the table. Same white standard size business envelope with no return address and her name printed in blue ink on the front. Same handwriting. No stamp. Her heartbeat quickened, her pulse feeling erratic. She reached for the mail opener and sliced it open. Slowly, holding on to the paper like it was a bomb, she drew the paper out and unfolded it.

Dear Juliet,

I’m sorry you haven’t seen the folly of your ways yet. I don’t blame you for what’s happened, even though some men would. You’re continuing to ignore me even though it is dangerous to do so. You know I’m the only one you can depend on. The fires won’t stop until you acknowledge that you need me. Yes, I started the fires across from you. I could have taken your house, but I have no intention of hurting you at any time. Now that man you’ve been with. That security guy. That’s another thing. I do plan to hurt him.

Admit it and join with me. You want the fire as much as I do. It’s the only way to cleanse the horrible society we’ve created. The volcano was only the beginning, you know. The beginning of the end. Help me start the fires and we’ll make the process go faster. Everything must burn. Everything. And when everything is burned, we will start again. Together.

Love,

Fire Starter

The doorbell rang. She gasped and dropped the letter. “God.”

Cover Reveal: Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes

Whooohoooo! Romancing The Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes will be available for preorder July 1. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this glorious cover.

What makes a hot military hero?

Whether it’s romance, suspense, or action/adventure—Romancing the Military Man: Ten Hot Military Heroes Box Set offers ten romance stories with something for everyone who craves a hot military hero. For a limited time this is your chance to enjoy books from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and national bestselling authors.

RomancingTheMilitaryMan2D_800px

Excerpt: Winterfall (Wasteland Trilogy #3)

Hey everyone! Coming June 15 is the release of Winterfall, the third story in my Wasteland Trilogy. I’d say the final story because this was supposed to be a trilogy, but there is a novella coming out called Nightfall that features a reoccurring character from the previous three stories and it will be out this year as well. In the meantime, you can preorder you copy of Winterfall now at Liquid Silver Books for a discount right here.

Here’s a tidbit from the story to tantalize your palate.

winterfall

A firefighter and a former soldier have survived an apocalypse, but there is still danger lurking in the winter light

Firefighter Juliet Van Pelt’s strength comes from previous adversity, but there’s an arsonist in town who wants to crank up the heat. When threatening letters target her, she turns to the one man she has never forgotten.

Former Army Ranger and sniper Mark O’Day can’t forget the woman he met months ago when their city was in chaos and they shared a dangerous moment. When opportunity brings her into his life again and danger threatens, he knows there is no alternative but to keep her close and never let her go.

* *

Buckleport, Maine

October

“Damn, Van Pelt, the way you’re polishing that tumbler is giving me ideas,” Firefighter Decker Okono leered.

Juliet Van Pelt broke from her trance long enough to throw a glare his way. They stood at the sink in the kitchen area of Fire Station Three finishing kitchen duty. Soon she’d take the mandatory forty-eight-hour time off, even if they needed every hand they could get. Besides, her accounting job waited at home, demanding she take care of her “day job” business. As a volunteer, she didn’t get paid, she fought fires for free. Okono, on the other hand, was a full-fledged firefighter with a few years under his belt and the paycheck to go with it.

She continued to dry the glass, turning her attention back to the busy street beyond the station house. “Keep on dreaming, Okono.”

She’d been dreaming all right. Pretending that January’s Long Valley Super Volcano eruption in California hadn’t jacked up their world. Hadn’t wreaked havoc across the United States. Bangor’s population had increased tenfold since the disaster, as waves of refugees from the western states poured into the eastern seaboard and points north. Traffic jammed the streets, and they’d worked a record number of car wrecks in the last week. Fires, too. The job never ended. In the months since the volcano had destroyed the world as they’d known it, things had improved. Riots had ceased, but crime had skyrocketed, and poverty and a general economic downturn had made life a far grimmer situation.

She opened the cabinet to her upper right and deposited the glass.

“Baby, there’s no need for you to dream,” Okono said. “I have everything you need right here inside this uniform.”

Seriously? She almost choked on the idea of sharing anything intimate with the ex-Navy SEAL, especially sex. Even meaningful conversation with this goober seemed completely beyond the realm of possibility.

“I thought Navy SEALS were supposed to be all honorable and shit,” she said, injecting toughness into her voice.

She felt rather than saw him bristle, and for a second wondered if she’d crossed the line. She didn’t know him, not really. If he decided to go postal, she was in deep kimchee. Okono grunted and rinsed another glass. He handed it to her and she dried it thoroughly before adding it to the cabinet.

“I’m as honorable as you’re gonna get, little lady.” His accent changed to fake southern. He was from New Jersey. “There aren’t many good men out there, Van Pelt. A woman needs a protector in this big, bad world. You could do worse than me.”

She laughed, but the sound held nothing but derision. “Yeah, right.”

“I’m serious. This is a different world. More dangerous since Long Valley. And it isn’t getting better anytime soon.”

Got that right. But not this guy. No, she didn’t want or need his protection. Especially not a man who thought his status as a former SEAL entitled him to front row seats to everything, including sex. He seemed to never have heard of sexual harassment, and she could report him. Thing is, she didn’t want the conflict. She could handle his brand of idiocy with one hand tied behind her back.

No, there were other men…far more agreeable than Okono. Her mind flashed back to April when a nasty fire had taken down a warehouse. A serial arsonist had been operating in Buckleport for months now. Scores of buildings had burned and the arson investigators hadn’t closed in on a suspect yet. During that fire she’d met a man who continued to intrude on her thoughts day and night. Hell, he’d done more than that. The nameless man had been part of a security team making sure firefighters weren’t harassed by some bad-ass-wannabes. Her mind drifted to the conversation.

The fire had cooled down, the destruction pretty complete, the old warehouse a smoldering ruin. They’d be here for hours more knocking down any flare ups. One of the rednecks who’d harassed the crew stepped toward her when she’d stopped near the ladder truck to strip off her self-contained breathing apparatus.

“Hey, pretty lady,” the man said, his big body and ham-sized biceps showing pure power. “What the hell are you doing out here? Women shouldn’t be taking a man’s job.”

“What?” she asked, not even sure she’d heard him right. She wasn’t up for games–she was hot, tired, and grimy as hell.

He crossed those beefy arms. “Women ain’t designed to be firefighters.”

“I’m not taking anyone’s job, bub. I’m a volunteer. I don’t get paid.” His mouth dropped open, but before he could say anything else stupid, she continued. “If you don’t mind, I have work to do.”

The man’s glare grew hot with anger. “Listen, bitch–”

“Move along, sir,” a deeper voice said from slightly behind her.

She turned her attention to the man the voice belonged to, and he approached with his semi-automatic clasped in front of him. Her rescuer stood taller than six feet and had dangerous written all over him.

The dipwad who’d given her a hard time stepped back and held both hands up. “Hey, hey. No need to get all violent with me, cop.”

“I’m not a cop. Move back and let the firefighter do her job.”

Her rescuer wore a black baseball cap, tactical or flak vest over a black t-shirt, a pair of khaki cargo pants, and a seriously thunderous frown. She’d seen two men and one woman pile out of an unmarked black SUV not long ago and realized they were one of the private security teams who now supplemented police and military in protecting the city. Security dude owned a powerful, ripped physique that said he might have been in the military at one point. Sunglasses and a baseball cap didn’t camouflage his craggy good looks. His dark hair, almost black, was cut military short as well. All of that wouldn’t have normally drawn her attention, but his voice had a certain quality…an intense, whiskey-deep sound.

“Move along,” the private security man said to the redneck wannabe.

When the guy backed away and left, security dude took his glasses off. His dark chocolate eyes held an intensity that slammed into her with a force she hadn’t expected. She saw undeniable curiosity and attraction in the way he looked at her, but his attention didn’t feel slimy.

“You all right?” he asked.

“Of course.” Defensiveness dripped from her tone. “I can handle myself.”

His gaze swept up and down her body, the look in his eyes telling her he liked what he saw very much. Unlike the slimeball who’d just left, the security dude’s attention sent a wild thrill through her belly.

“I’m sure you can,” security dude said. “But I’m here to help if you need me.”

“Oh, don’t worry. I won’t need you.”

Her captain called her name right then, and when she saw security dude next he was at least fifty yards away.

After that day she hadn’t seen him again, but God she’d dreamed about mystery security man. Hot, sexy dreams that made no sense.