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The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.
I’ve had a busy week! I attended a fund raiser for the Susan G Koman 3 Day – several of my friends are participating this year. The fund raiser was at Mongolian BBQ, and I took one of my nieces and a co-worker. We nommed on stir-fry and then ordered several desserts to give them a try. The tuxedo cheese cake is the best, followed by the deep-fried Oreos.
Yesterday I had grad party to attend. Audie, who is part of my horse show family, graduated from high school. I am so proud of her, but I’m also sad to think she’ll be headed off to college in the fall.
In between the social events, my coffee maker died (on Monday morning – what a terrible way to start the week!) , and then I dropped a bone on Bumble’s food dish and broke it into a billion pieces.
I’m looking forward to the long weekend. If you are in the States, I hope you have a great 4th of July!
Check out my current contests! See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!
New Arrivals at the Café:
After the Kiss by Lauren Layne
Twilight Hunter by Kait Ballenger
Big Sky Wedding by Linda Lael Miller
Hero’s Redemption by Georgie Lee
Seducing the Demon Huntress by Victoria Davies
Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen
Bite Me by PJ Schnyder
A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!
What did you get? Please leave links and share!
Debut author Kait Ballenger has generously offered a peek at Shadow Hunter, the kick-off to her Execution Underground series. Shadow Hunter is part of the After Dark anthology, which also contains Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Angel. In addition to letting us enjoy this teaser, Kait has a copy of After Dark for one of you to win! Check out this exciting scene from Shadow Hunter, and enter below for your chance to win a copy!
Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger (Execution Underground 0.5)
Numb, Tiffany stepped out of the shadows and slowly walked over to stand near the corpse, a young guy of around thirty-five who looked as if he’d been healthy and fit before the vamp got him. Now the man’s arm was detached from his body, gnawed to shreds. Exactly the way the young girl’s face had been. His eyes were wide open, staring toward the night sky, the stars drowned by the lights of the city. Bending down, she carefully brushed her hand over his eyelids, closing them for the final time. She stood.
“Tiffany!” Damon roared.
Before she could comprehend what was going on, he tackled her full force and knocked her to the ground. A loud hiss pierced the darkness, and her mind snapped to attention. A fierce, red-eyed vampire stepped forward from the shadows, its fangs already extended and blood ringing its mouth.
Damon crouched in front of her, blocking her from the vampire’s attack. As the creature lunged, Damon ripped the Desert Eagle from his waistband and fired a round into the bloodsucker’s gut. With such a high caliber bullet, the vamp’s midsection blew to pieces. Blood and guts splattered over the alleyway, but that wasn’t enough to kill it. Only a severed spine, decapitation or a stake straight through the heart would destroy a bloodsucker for good. The vampire screeched and staggered. It held its internal organs in as the damaged flesh knitted over, healing the bullet wound. It lifted its head. Glowing red eyes pierced through the darkness.
“You will die, hunter.” It crouched in front of the body, guarding the corpse as a lion guards its prey.
Suddenly it ran at Damon, barely visible thanks to its intense speed. It clawed at Damon’s throat, but he kicked his steel-toed boot straight into its still-healing wound. A feral growl escaped the monster’s throat. Damon fought the vampire blow for blow, matching its supernatural strength with a power she’d never seen in a human being before.
For several seconds she stared, completely frozen. She watched their killing dance as the vampire’s blood spilled in all directions, yet each time it lunged, Damon emerged unscathed.
Holy hell. She couldn’t sit there. She had to help. She ripped her own stake from her belt and rushed into the fight.
She lunged at the vampire from behind and stabbed the meaty flesh of his shoulder. Not enough to kill, but enough to injure. In an angry fury, the vampire spun and grabbed at her. She dropped to her knees and sucker punched the bloodsucker straight in the groin.
Take that, sucker.
Human or vampire, getting hit in the crotch hurt like hell.
The creature doubled over in pain, falling on top of her. They rolled across the pavement, each trying to gain the upper hand. Though she was stronger than the average man, the vampire’s supernatural strength overpowered hers. With all its weight it pinned her to the ground. If it sank its fangs into her neck she would be done for. Like a snake, it hissed and threw back its head to attack. A growl, deep and full of anger, sounded in her ears.
It wasn’t the vampire.
Wow!! Pretty awesome, huh? Ready for your chance to win Shadow Hunter? Fill out the widget below to enter the After Dark giveaway. Earn extra entries for following. US mailing addresses only
Shadow Hunter, which is part of the After Dark anthology, from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:
About the book:
Title: Shadow Hunter
Author: Kait Ballenger
Part of the After Dark Anthology
May Contain Spoilers
When the author approached me to review this novella, I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t had the chance to read a PNR in a while, and there’s something about a group of people who are brave enough to face down slavering monsters that I find appealing. This is the introduction to the Execution Underground series, and it’s also the romance between Damon Brock and Tiffany Solow. While Shadow Hunter didn’t work for me completely, it did serve to get me interested in the series. But, yeah, that non-ending. Oh, how I don’t like those, so make sure you have Twilight Hunter near at hand (or at least on pre-order), because you are going to want it!
Damon is suffering from guilt and remorse after the death of his best friend and partner, Mark. Mark was killed in a raid on a vampire nest, and Damon hasn’t forgiven himself for allowing his friend to die. Worse, he has to live with the guilt that he left Mark’s sister, Tiffany, with no family. Damon and Tiffany had been exchanging letters for years at the urging of the higher ups in the Execution Underground because he was having trouble dealing with his emotions and stress. So, it was either write to someone, or pour his guts out to a shrink. Damon’s correspondence with Tiffany begins with one sentence, and grows into something deep and meaningful to him over the years. Tiffany doesn’t hesitate to pour her feelings into her letters. and before long, they have fallen for the other. They never acknowledge these feelings before Mark’s death, however, and after, Tiffany is too busy being angry and resentful that Mark was killed, to feel anything but rage and betrayal. She blames Damon for abandoning her brother to vampire killers.
Damon has sworn to get revenge on Caius, a very old and powerful vampire, so he moves to Rochester, New York with every intention of tracking him down and killing him. He is dismayed to discover that Tiffany has the same goal in mind. When she tries to capture him and turn him over to Caius in a bid to prove how loyal she is, they both get a rude awakening. After a tense standoff, Damon and Tiffany are reluctantly forced to work together. There is something not right going on in Rochester, and they are going to have to join forces if they hope to put a stop to Caius and his nefarious plot to destroy the vampire hunters.
Shadow Hunter featured one of my favorite tropes – younger sister falling in love with her older brother’s friend. I loved the twist here – after falling in love through the letters, Tiffany blames Damon for causing Mark’s death so he could bask in the glory killing an ancient vampire. Wow! Though the fireworks started exploding before she realized who he was, Damon still had to do some fancy footwork to get her to trust him again.
I enjoyed the world building and am looking forward to revisiting this paranormal version of Rochester. While I found a majority of the book a quick and exciting read, I felt that it lost steam when Damon was choosing his team, the heroes of future installments of Execution Underground. I also didn’t like the ending, which is to say, there was no ending. Shadow Hunter stops with a complete cliffhanger, something I am not fond of at all. So, while I felt letdown when I hit the last page, I am looking forward to Twilight Hunter, which will be in stores in August.
Review copy provided by author
Title: Officer Off Limits
Author: Tessa Bailey
May Contain Spoilers
Tessa Bailey’s books just keep getting better and better! I really enjoyed Officer Off Limits, and found the mix of sensuality and humor very agreeable. The only reason this story worked for me, though, is because the heroine is so strong. The first chapter has her getting dumped by her intended two weeks before their wedding, and she starts out restrained and, while not quite timid, certainly not forceful. She gets a measure of satisfaction by ordering the most expensive bottle of champagne and charging it to his tab, but this is peanuts compared to getting dumped in a restaurant. Two weeks before their wedding. What a jerk!
When Story’s father suffers from a heart attack, she flies from CA to NYC in an attempt to patch up their rocky relationship. She meets a sexy guy in the waiting room, and doesn’t know whether to be relieved to learn that he’s her father’s partner, instead of a psycho stalker with strong opinions about snack foods. Hostage negotiators for the NYPD, both men are tough, no nonsense men. Daniel takes it one step further. Bounced between foster homes when he was a child, he has developed a wall around his emotions that even the most skilled mountain climber would not be able to scale. A traumatic experience when he was sixteen changed his life forever, leaving him mentally scarred and even more wary of relationships. To compensate for what he perceives as his greatest weakness, he is a full-on, raging alpha. Dear, me! This guy puts on one heck of a front – he hops from bed to bed, never staying with the same woman longer than it takes to get his clothes back on. He has no close relationships, and keeps everyone at arm’s length.
Daniel came across as such a jerk at the beginning of the book. He is attracted to Story and makes no secret that he wants to get to know her tan lines better. When she rebuffs him in the waiting room, she only piques his interest. Even learning that she’s Jack’s daughter, and that his mentor will flay him alive if he tries any funny business, isn’t enough to get him to back down. Like a blood hound, once Daniel’s on the scent, it’s hard get him to focus on anything else. He thinks a quick hook up with Story will get his mind back on work, but the silly alpha is confused. Story isn’t like the rest of the women he’s known, and after her disastrous engagement, she wants to call some of the shots. So not what the demanding Daniel is accustomed to.
As I stated previously, if Story has been even one notch more submissive, Officer Off Limits would not have worked for me. Daniel is so dominating, and I will admit that alpha-jerks are not my favorite hero types. But with Story’s developing confidence, the two play off each other well. The author had me believing that jaded Daniel was so enamored with Story that he couldn’t think of anything else. That he was willing to risk Jack’s wrath to spend just one more minute with Story. As their relationship deepens, he begins to learn to trust again, and Story slowly draws out his tender side. I was so convinced that he was maturing and and growing emotionally. This was one couple, with their quirks and hang ups, that I wanted to find their HEA. Even the admission from Jack that he had been meddling in their relationship didn’t lessen my enthusiasm for this couple.
Like in my last review of a Tessa Bailey book, while I would normally suggest tossing this in your beach bag for a summer read, instead I recommend settling down with a few ice packs and cold beverages. This is a scorching read, and with temps hovering in the upper 80s, I’m fearful you will get heat stoke if you read this while lounging outside in the sun.
Review copy provided by publisher
Today I have a treat for you! In addition to sharing some quotes from Officer Off Limits, I have two giveaways for you to enter! Let’s start with some information about Tessa Bailey’s latest release, Officer Off Limits. This is a fun, sexy romp, and if you haven’t read anything by her yet, check it out.
About the booK:
Barnes & Noble:
Tessa Bailey dropped by the virtual offices to share her favorite alpha quote. There are so many great lines in Officer Off Limits that I don’t know how she picked just one!
Tessa Bailey’s Favorite Alpha Quote:
“Who am I kidding? When I finally get inside you, I’m going to f@ck you until your voice is hoarse from screaming my name.”
My favorite Story Quote:
I was going to share my favorite alpha quote, too, but I thought it would be more fun to share my favorite quote from Story. This book worked so well for me because the heroine didn’t take any crap from Daniel.
“Oh, and just so you know, I am going out tonight. It will be after dark. And if you have a problem with that, you can kiss my perfectly palm-sized ass.” (page 66)
$50 Amazon Gift Card
Digital copy of Officer Off Limits
Please welcome CJ Carmichael to the virtual offices this morning. She’s here to chat about her latest Harlequin American Romance, Promise From a Cowboy.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[CJ Carmichael] Empty-nester, book-loving, nature freak who loves hiking and biking with her life-partner Mike and hanging out with family & friends when not writing.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Promise From a Cowboy?
[CJ Carmichael] The hero of this book, BJ Lambert, decided to keep mum about an arson and accidental death that occurred when he was eighteen years old. He did it to protect his girlfriend’s brother, but the price he pays is losing her in his life. The story picks up over ten years later, when new evidence is found that leads to re-opening the investigation. His girlfriend is now the County Sheriff and the kicker is…he still loves her.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[CJ Carmichael] BJ is the oldest of four in the Lambert family of Coffee Creek, Montana. I love writing connected stories because this allows me to spend time developing a community feel to the stories and also to include sub-plots that span the length of the series.
The sub-plot in the Coffee Creek books involves the domineering, manipulative Olive Lambert (mother of BJ as well as Corb, Brock and Cassidy) and her feud with her much nicer sister, Maddie Turner.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Savannah?
[CJ Carmichael] determined, responsible, fearless
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If BJ had a theme song, what would it be?
[CJ Carmichael] Once in a Lifetime by Keith Urban (Because despite all their years apart, Savannah is his Once in a Lifetime girl)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Savannah is never without.
[CJ Carmichael] her Sheriff badge. It means everything to her, because she craved respectability as a kid, and who could be more respectable than a Sheriff?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in BJ’s bathroom?
[CJ Carmichael] Any other woman but Savannah, hair gel—he likes the natural look, and cologne—he’s not that guy.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Savannah’s greatest regret?
[CJ Carmichael] Savannah’s biggest regret is that she wasn’t there the night the old Turner barn caught on fire and a man died in the loft.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[CJ Carmichael] I love spending time in Montana (show me anyplace more beautiful than Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake), perusing Western magazines and cowboy pictures on Pinterest, listening to country music—all can be very inspirational for my cowboy romances.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[CJ Carmichael] Quiet. Quiet. Quiet. (and a computer)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[CJ Carmichael] I can only name one? Sigh. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[CJ Carmichael] One of the earliest novels I remember reading was Little House On The Prairie. I grew up on the prairies, so that made the story more relevant to me.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[CJ Carmichael] I love to spend times outdoors, whether it’s hiking in the mountain, biking or sitting on the patio playing cribbage or scrabble with Mike and enjoying a glass of wine. I also love family dinner when my girls are home and we end up playing board games after.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[CJ Carmichael] Just try to avoid me! I’m on twitter as CJ_Carmichael, on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, and I have a blog called CJ’s Desk Diary on http://cjcarmichael.com. And hey, you can always send me an e-mail! I’ll contact you if you review one of my books on Goodreads. I think it’s awesome when readers take the time to spread the word about a book they’ve read and I try to personally thank everyone who does this for mine.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
[CJ Carmichael] Thank you for the fun questions, Julie!
About the book:
Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?
Here’s another smokin’ hot cover, and this one has the protagonists almost engulfed in flames. Really! While I can certainly think of better things to do than cuddle when about to be BBQ’ed, that tat is mighty distracting! The yellow pants, not so much, but I’ll forgive a lot when there’s 6-pack abs involved.
How to Tame a Wild Fireman by Jennifer Bernard will be in stores September 2013