SPOTLIGHT — Unexpected Wife by Paige Warren

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Ainsley McCullough has been running from her past for a while. When she stumbles across an abandoned farm house, she thinks that maybe things will start to look up. Getting a job in the small Texas town, she’s surprised to learn the man who owns her home is in jail. 

Braedan O’Connor was falsely accused of a crime and has spent the past year in jail. He’s anxious to get home and see what kind of damage has been done to his home. When Braedan enters his home and smells homemade apple pie, he’s surprised to say the least. Spotting the woman responsible for the mouth watering smell, all of his senses come alive. 

Ainsley hadn’t expected to get caught in the man’s home. Face to face with the handsome stranger, she isn’t sure what to expect. Knowing he was in jail frightens her, almost as much as his good looks turn her on. Just how far is Ainsley willing to take her charade?

Night’s Embrace (a vampire novella) is Now Available!

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Annabel is ready to give herself to Poe, body and soul. But will he accept her offer?

Just as Annabel is ready to end her life, an amazing man comes to her in the dark of night. Her body responds to him and she finds that she wants him more than she’s ever wanted anyone. Allowing him to make love to her, she decides that she’ll do whatever he asks, as long as he’ll keep her with him — even if he is a vampire.

EXCERPT

The darkness rolled in like dark clouds in a thunderstorm.  The inky black night surrounded me, wrapped me in its embrace.  It had been a month since “the incident” had happened, and while it might seem minor to some, it was the final nail in my coffin. I had tried to carry on, but I couldn’t take another thing life had to throw my way. If I’d been able to afford a psychologist, I’m sure he would have diagnosed me with some fancy term and prescribed me a bottle of pills. Instead, I was taking matters into my own hands.

The hair on the back of my neck stood on end, letting me know I wasn’t alone.  I knew I should be afraid, yet I wasn’t.  I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to be frightened.  The numbness had spread through me, leaving nothing but emptiness inside of me, a large echoing cavern that I couldn’t fill.

I felt a puff of breath against my skin.  A chill raced down my spine as my eyes stared sightlessly ahead, the dark impenetrable.  I didn’t know what was to come, but I stood stoically, waiting to see what would happen. It couldn’t be any worse than what I had planned for myself.

Soft lips trailed down my neck to my shoulder.  Teeth softly brushed against my skin.  I felt a small prick against my neck and then warmth spread through me.  I closed my eyes, a sigh on my lips.  Whatever was happening, it felt right.  Arms encircled my waist as they pulled me against a tall, hard body.  Muscles bulged in the arms that held me gently.  A lover’s embrace.

Fluid trailed down my neck and my captor lapped it up like a kitten drinking milk.  “So sweet,” said a husky voice that left chills on my flesh.

“Who are you?” I whispered.

“It doesn’t matter.”

He turned me to face him.  I looked up into fathomless gray eyes, the color of a winter morning, set in a pale face.  He had a long elegant nose that led to full lips.  Shaggy brown hair fell past his shoulders.

When he smiled, I saw canines that were long and pointed.  Vampire my mind said, but I shook the thought away.  Vampires weren’t real.  My hand drifted to my neck and I felt the two small pinpricks.  A breath caught in my throat as I stared up at him in surprise.  Or were they?

“You’re a vampire,” I heard myself say in a quiet voice filled with wonder.

“Yes.” He watched me intently, probably expecting me to scream at any moment. And had I been anyone else, I might have. But a woman willing to die was another matter all together.

I tipped my head to the side, exposing my neck to him once more.  “Do it.  Go ahead and end it.”

He looked puzzled and slightly taken aback. “Do what?”

“Bite me.  End my life.”

He shook his head and looked exasperated. “Silly creature, why would I want to end your life? I feed to live, not to kill.”

To my humiliation, I felt tears gather in my eyes and slip silently down my cheeks. “Please,” I begged.  “I can’t go on living this way. I’m tired of feeling empty.”

I felt his intense stare as if he could see right through me.  I wondered how long it would take to make a decision.  Did I not taste good?  Was there something wrong with my blood? Or was there just something wrong with me?

“Why do you feel empty?” he finally asked.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t feel this way.  I only see shades of gray and darkness.  When I wake up, all I want to do is close my eyes and sleep until another day has passed.  I go through the motions, smile at people when I should, but it’s all meaningless.  Inside I feel like there’s a void, a giant black hole in the middle of my soul sucking the life right out of me.” It wasn’t that I wanted to feel the way I did. I just hadn’t had a reason to be happy.

He grinned. “So you have a vampire in your soul?”

I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but it made a sort of crazy sense to me. “Yeah, I guess I do.”

His long fingers reached out and stroked my jaw. “You’re too beautiful to die.”

Beautiful?  Me?  I wanted to laugh, but also wanted to cry.  I couldn’t remember the last time someone had seen me as beautiful.  I certainly didn’t see myself that way.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw nondescript brown hair, plain brown eyes, and average facial features.  I saw a body that was too plump to be fashionable, rounded in more places than it should be.  What was beautiful about me?

He stared into my eyes as if reading my thoughts.  And perhaps he could.  Before I knew what he was doing, he leaned forward and brushed his lips against mine. They were petal soft and chilled to the touch.  His mouth moved over mine, coaxing me to join in his dance.

A spark ignited inside of me, a small glowing ember.  Warmth spread through my soul and for the first time in years, I was happy to be alive.  This dangerous, deadly, gorgeous man made me feel more alive than any of my family or friends had in a long time.  Nothing in this world had felt half as right as being kissed by him. It amazed me how I could feel so much in just one kiss. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been kissed before, because I had, but Poe’s kiss put all the others to shame. With just one kiss, he pushed aside my thoughts of killing myself.  I’d come to the cavern so no one would find me. I knew my landlady wouldn’t be able to handle finding a dead body. She was sweet and I didn’t want to do that to her. And I didn’t have any family or friends to speak of. Just an ex who kept showing up repeatedly, no matter how many times I pushed him away.

With just one kiss, Poe had given me a gift. The gift of hope. I’d felt bleak and hopeless for so long that I’d forgotten what it felt like to want to live. But with one kiss, he’d given all that back to me, and more. As if he were a drug, I found that I wanted more. Kissing Poe was the equivalent of basking in the sunlight.

 

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Croc and the Fox – Review

Croc And The Fox (Furry United Coalition, #3)Croc And The Fox by Eve Langlais

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Renee comes off as vulnerable and helpless in the beginning, but as the story is told, she blossoms and finds an inner strength she didn’t realize she had. Viktor is your typical alpha male, but I laughed as he tried to fight off Renee’s innocent advances, knowing he would crumble sooner or later. The action in the story was well placed and Mastermind was finally unmasked. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the tale, from beginning to end.

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All Roar and No Bite – Review

All Roar and No BiteAll Roar and No Bite by Celia Kyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ms. Kyle did an amazing job, as always. I enjoyed getting to know Van more, and I loved how Lauren was both sassy and vulnerable. She didn’t mind taking a bat to someone who richly deserved it, but she was also happy letting her bear step in to take care of her.

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Wrong Turn Review

Wrong Turn (The Shenandoah Pack, #1)Wrong Turn by Taylor Law

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wrong Turn has a lot of potential. I like the storyline, for the most part, but I felt like the characters weren’t as well developed as they could have been. If the author had added just a few more pages of description and emotion, I think it would have made the story shine a little more. It read a little like a rough draft and not a finished, polished piece.

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Bear Naked and Bite Marks Review

Bear Naked and Bite Marks (Sweet Water, #5)Bear Naked and Bite Marks by Jenika Snow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had hoped, since the beginning of the Wylde Bears series, that Melissa would find her perfect mate, and Declan is definitely perfect for her. I thought the bad guy was easy to guess from the beginning, but aside from that it was a good story. I’m not sure if I will read it again or not, but it was definitely worth reading once.

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Stacking the Deck – a review

Eostre's Baskets: Stacking the DeckEostre’s Baskets: Stacking the Deck by Selena Illyria

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who could possibly resist a sexy dragon and a naughty fairy? While I don’t typically read books where the couple has been together for a while, I found myself turning page after page. The sex scenes were explosive, and quite creative, and you could feel the emotional tension between Dean and Carrie. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves shifter or fairy romances.

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