#BookTour “Dark of Night” by Colleen Coble

January 9-February 3, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

book cover




The law is about justice—not grace. But perhaps ranger Annie Pederson can find a way to have both.

As if the last few months haven’t been hard enough—complete with threats on her life and the return of her first love, Jon—Annie has to figure out whether or not to believe a woman who claims to be her sister, Sarah, who was abducted twenty-four years ago at age five. Annie’s eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, has plenty of questions about what’s going on in her mother’s life—but there are some stones Annie doesn’t want uncovered. As Annie grapples with how to heal the gulf between her and her would-be sister and make room in her daughter’s life for Jon, she’s professionally distracted by the case of yet another missing hiker in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A woman named Michelle Fraser has now been abducted, and though the woman’s estranged husband is at the top of their suspect list, Annie and her colleagues will need to dig deeper and determine whether these recent mysteries are truly as unrelated as they seem.

In this second novel of bestselling author Colleen Coble’s latest romantic-suspense series, Annie and Jon must fight for the future—and the family—that could once more be theirs.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Published by: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: January 2023

Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 0785253742 (ISBN13: 9780785253747)

Series: Annie Pederson #2

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Should she even be out here alone? Michigan’s U.P. was a whole lotta wilderness. Michelle Fraser’s shoulder blades gave a tingle and made her glance back to see if anyone was following her. No one there. But in spite of seeing no movement in the trees and bushes, she couldn’t discount her gut instinct. She’d been spooked ever since she left the safety of the women’s shelter.

Maybe it was just knowing she was out here with no backup that had her on edge.

The heavy scent of rain hung in the twilight air as she set the last of her wildlife cameras in the crook of a large sugar maple tree. A northern flying squirrel chattered a warning from its nest. The glaucomys sabrinus’s agitation made Michelle pull away in time to avoid being nipped.

Thunder rumbled in the distance, and a spooky mist blew through the forest. The sooner she was out of here, the better. Her last set of cameras hadn’t turned up the elusive mountain lions she’d been searching for, but a hunter in neighboring Ontonagon County had snapped a picture of a large male reclining on a rock. If she could acquire more data, it would aid her research for the magazine article proving mountain lions inhabited the area. And she had to have pictures.

She’d been obsessed with big cats for as long as she could remember. Even the various names held a fascinating mystique: catamount, puma, cougar, mountain lion, panther.

A mosquito landed on her arm, and she swatted it. Her hands came away with a drop of blood on her fingers. Yuck. She wiped the residue on her khaki shorts and turned to go back to her ATV. A sound erupted to her right, and it sounded like either a puma or a woman’s scream. The hair on her neck prickled, and she moved that way.

The scream pealed again, and she removed the lens cap on the camera slung around her neck. Her palms dampened, and her breath came fast. Walking toward danger might not be the smartest thing, but Michelle couldn’t help herself. She yearned to see a puma in the wild in all its power and beauty. Her knees shook as she pulled out a bullhorn from her backpack to frighten away the cat if it sensed her as prey.

Queen pumas would be protecting their litters in June, so she needed to be careful. Her lungs labored as she rushed in that direction. Her black belt in jujitsu wouldn’t do much against the speed and power of a puma. She seized a large branch to make herself seem bigger as she advanced through the forest. Evergreen needles clawed at her arms as she forced her way through a thick stand of white pine.

She paused on the other side and caught the glimmer of water. Lake Superior’s waves lapped at the rocky shore, and she spotted a yellow kayak riding the swells in the shallow surf. A discarded backpack bobbed beside it.

Her sense of unease grew as she observed the scene. Glancing around, she approached the water and snagged the backpack from the lake, then pulled the kayak onto the rocks. Her gut told her someone was in trouble.

Should she call out? If it was wildlife threatening the woman she thought she’d heard, Michelle could scare it off with a flare. But if the attacker was human, she didn’t want to give away her presence and put the woman in greater danger. She scanned the area for bear or cougar scat but found nothing.

The sound of oars slapping the water came from her left, and she ducked back into the shadow of the pines until she could tell the intent of the boaters. Two figures partially shrouded in mist paddled a large canoe around a rocky finger of the shore. The glimpse of broad shoulders through the fog indicated they were probably men. She strained to listen through the sound of the wind and water but couldn’t hear much.

She couldn’t put her finger on why she didn’t want them to see her. Maybe because they were men, and Brandon might have sent them after her.

“I know she ran this way. Trying to get to her kayak, eh.” The man’s heavy Yooper accent carried well over the water.

“Can’t see her through this mist,” the other man said. “I don’t know why I let you talk me into this. Your love life isn’t my business.”

“You owe me. Let’s try on down the shore. There’s a deer trail toward the road she might have tried to take.”

Their voices faded as their canoe moved past. She didn’t get a good look at their faces. Was a woman out there trying to escape an abusive ex? Michelle had seen plenty of that kind of trauma this past year and had experienced abuse personally.

Once they were out of sight, she stepped back into the clearing. “Hello,” she called softly. “Is anyone here? I can help you.”

She walked across the green mossy clearing, searching for a sign of an injured woman. The bushes to her left shivered and rustled, and she stepped closer. “Hello? Do you need help?”

The leaves parted as the mist swirled along the ground, and the pale oval of a woman’s face emerged. Long blonde hair hung in strings along her cheeks, and her eyelids fluttered as though she might faint. Michelle rushed forward and helped the young woman to her feet. She was in her early twenties with a slight build. Mud smeared her khaki shorts and red top, and she was barefoot.

She seemed familiar, and Michelle reached down to touch her forehead. She nearly recoiled at the heat radiating from the young woman. “Wait, aren’t you Grace Mitchell?”

They’d met when Grace first arrived at the shelter, but Michelle hadn’t immediately recognized her with the mud and dirt on her face and hair. The woman’s fever alarmed Michelle. “You’re burning up. We need to get you to a doctor.”

“I-I’ll be fine. Do you have some way out of here?”

“My ATV is this way.” Michelle put her right arm around the woman’s waist and helped her stumble toward the trail. “What are you doing out here?”

Grace paused and wiped the beads of perspiration from her forehead. “I spotted my ex driving past the shelter, and I knew he’d found me. That day we met, you mentioned a remote area you liked with a great camping spot, and I decided to try to find it. You know, hide out until I figured out where to go to get away from Roy. But I stopped by to get camping gear from my parents, and he must have followed me here. He’s out there somewhere. He and a buddy.” Her blue eyes flashed with fear. “I can’t let him find me.”

They reached the ATV, and Michelle got Grace situated, but it was a tight squeeze on the vehicle meant for one person. Michelle got water out of her backpack and helped Grace drink some. She grabbed her phone, too, and took a quick photo of the traumatized girl before she dropped it back into the pack.

Michelle started the machine and pulled out onto the trail back to the cabin where she’d been hiding out. She should have gotten out of here earlier since the weather had caused darkness to fall sooner than expected. It would be slow going on the rough trail with only the headlamps pushing the darkness back a short distance.

After only a few minutes, Michelle realized she’d gotten off the trail. She stopped the machine and looked around. Which way should she go? She consulted her compass and decided to push due west. They’d only gone a few feet when the ground gave out under the machine, and they went flying into the air. When Michelle hit the ground, something in her right leg snapped, and the excruciating pain was instantaneous.

She bit back a scream but couldn’t stop the moan as she pulled her knee to her chest. The swelling was already starting four inches above her ankle, but at least it didn’t appear to be a compound fracture. “I-I’ve broken my leg. Are you all right, Grace?”

When Grace didn’t answer, Michelle felt along the ground until she touched her thigh. “Grace?” She felt up the young woman’s body to her face.

Grace wasn’t breathing. “Oh no,” Michelle whispered. She checked her out in the dark as best as she could. No pulse.

Michelle dragged herself to the machine but it was on its side, and she couldn’t right it with her broken leg. No one would be searching for her out here, so she had to find shelter. But how?

The pain made it hard to think. She froze at the sound of movement in the vegetation. Something big was crashing toward her. A deer? A mountain lion or bear?

A man’s shoulders moved into sight, and his expression sent shivers up her spine. When he reached down to lift her up, the pain intensified in her leg, and her vision went black.


Law enforcement ranger Annie Pederson sat at a table by herself in the small interrogation room at the Rock Harbor jail and waited for Taylor Moore to be brought in for questioning. Maybe it was Annie’s imagination, but it seemed as if the beige paint on the walls reeked with the guilt and despair of countless years of interrogations. Even the clean scent of the disinfectant used in the area didn’t dissipate the unpleasantness. She didn’t like this space and wished she could have talked to Taylor at the coffee shop or somewhere more pleasant.

But this meeting might be the end of her lifelong search, so she would have faced even tigers in this place.

The door opened and Taylor entered. Several weeks ago Annie had hired her to help out around the Tremolo Marina and Cabin Resort and with Annie’s eight-year-old daughter, but the woman had been picked up for questioning about the necklace found belonging to a murdered girl. Her claim to be Annie’s sister, Sarah—kidnapped from Tremolo Island twenty-four years ago—had turned Annie’s every thought on its head. According to Taylor’s ID, she was twenty-nine, three years younger than Annie, so that detail matched Sarah.

Annie’s heart squeezed at Taylor’s ducked head and stringy locks. The bright-red hair dye was fading, and glints of her natural blonde color showed through. Her jeans and tee looked like she’d slept in them for days, and the scent of stale perspiration wafted from her.

Taylor glanced up, and Annie bit back a gasp at the defiance gleaming in those vivid blue eyes that matched Annie’s eye color instead of the muddy brown Annie was used to. Jon Dunstan had claimed Taylor was wearing contacts to change her eye color, and it seemed he was right.

Annie had prided herself on her ability to read people in her line of work. She’d always thought she could detect a liar with no problem. Taylor had completely snowed her. After Taylor’s impeccable references, Annie had trusted the woman with her child.

Sheriff Mason Kaleva ambled in behind Taylor. He gestured to the chair across the table from Annie. “Have a seat, Ms. Moore.”

In his forties, his husky form brought solace to Annie. He’d always been there for her and his town, and his kind brown eyes swept over her in a questioning gaze. She gave him a little nod to let him know she was okay.

Taylor’s eyes narrowed. “It’s Ms. Vitanen. Sarah Vitanen.”

A wave of dizziness washed over Annie, and she bit her lip and eyed Taylor closely. “You claim to be my sister, but do you have any proof?”

The chair screeched on the tile floor as Taylor pulled it out before she plopped onto it. “I should have expected you wouldn’t welcome me with open arms. After all, you did nothing to stop my abduction.”

Heat swept up Annie’s neck and lodged in her cheeks. “What could an eight-year-old do to stop an adult? If you’re really Sarah, what was the name of your favorite stuffed animal?”

“Cocoa,” Taylor said without hesitation. “It was a brown kitten. I couldn’t have a real one because Mom was allergic.”

Annie’s eyes widened. She caught her breath as she studied the other woman across the table. “Let me see your left knee.”

Rebellion flashed in Taylor’s blue eyes, and she leaned down to yank up her baggy jeans, then stood with her tanned knee exposed. A faded two-inch scar just below her kneecap matched the one in Annie’s memory. Sarah had gotten snagged on a large metal hook under the dock at the marina. It had taken fifteen stitches to close the wound, and Annie had helped her sister hobble around for several weeks.

But was that proof? Kids had scars from all sorts of things. She wanted to believe her sister was still alive, but was Taylor really Sarah?

Her breath eased from her lips, and Annie couldn’t speak for a long moment. “You really believe you’re Sarah? Did you research all that and make sure the details matched?”

Taylor just stared back at her with that same defiance. In Annie’s dreams, finding Sarah meant a tight embrace and happy tears, but Taylor’s stance with her arms folded across her chest and her jutting chin warned Annie off any displays of affection. Not that she was feeling any warmth toward the other woman in this moment.

When the other woman plopped back in her chair and didn’t answer, Annie licked her lips. “Why didn’t you tell me when you first showed up looking for work? Why the fake name? I’ve been searching for my sister for years.”

“Have you? Have you really?”

Annie glanced at Mason. “Ask him if you don’t believe me.”

Mason shifted his bulky form and nodded. “I’ve been helping Annie search. We’ve sent DNA samples numerous times over the past ten years. Her parents searched for Sarah, and even hired investigators, until their deaths.”

Annie hadn’t known that. Her parents’ business, the Tremolo Marina and Cabin Resort, operated on a shoestring, so they must have taken much needed money to try to find Sarah.

Annie shifted her gaze back to the woman across the table. Taylor twisted a strand of hair around her finger in a coil. Sarah used to do that too. If this was a scam, it was an elaborate one. With all her heart Annie wanted to believe it, but she couldn’t quite accept it. It was so sudden, and the circumstances were bizarre.

Mason cleared his throat. “We’ll need a little more proof. We can get the DNA back in a week or so.”

“I have nothing to hide,” the other woman said.

Annie had spent twenty-four years agonizing over her failure to save Sarah. The guilt had nearly swallowed her alive, though everyone told her she couldn’t have done anything. Until a few days ago, she hadn’t been able to recall much about that awful night. Maybe she hadn’t wanted to remember how she froze in fear when the kidnapper grabbed Sarah.

Annie fingered the scar on her neck where the attacker had wounded her with a knife. She’d been left for dead in the cold waters of Lake Superior, and while logically she knew she was no match for the gruff woman who’d snatched her sister, Annie had struggled to believe it.

“Were any of the things you told me about your life true? Those things you said about your m-mother?”

“I had a rotten life, if that’s what you’re asking. All those things I said about my mother were true. And it was all your fault.”

There was nothing Annie could say to counter that when her own conscience condemned her too. She was only too glad when her boss, Kade Matthews, texted her with a new case. Mason could continue the questioning about the necklace.


Excerpt from Dark of Night by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2022 by Colleen Coble. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:



BookBub: @colleencoble

Instagram: @colleencoble

Twitter: @colleencoble

Facebook: colleencoblebooks


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#BookTour “Concrete Evidence” by DiAnn Mills

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Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills

On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Praise for Concrete Evidence:

“VERDICT Mills … delivers another action-packed novel that offers intrigue and an adventurous ride. Recommend to fans of Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, and Carrie Stuart Parks.”

Shondra Brown for Library Journal

“The confident plotting keeps the mysteries coming, and red herrings will have readers guessing the culprit through to the satisfying conclusion. Fans of Colleen Coble and Susan Sleeman will savor this thrilling standalone.”

Concrete Evidence Trailer:


Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Published by: Tyndale House Publishers

Publication Date: October 2022

Number of Pages: 416

ISBN: 9781496451897 (ISBN10: 1496451899)

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Tyndale


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Texas Hill Country

AVERY ELLIOTT SPURRED HER HORSE across one of the thirty-five thousand rolling acres of the Brazos River Ranch in the blazing heat. The sultry August wind blew through her hair, bathing her damp face and shoving aside her pensive mood. Granddad had told her once that if he could lasso the wind, he’d ride that bronc to eternity. She’d framed the saying and placed it in the reception area of their office.

Granddad had left at dawn to ride fence and enjoy some solitude and think time. His work habits overruled his stomach, which meant he wouldn’t stop to eat until he’d inspected a recently repaired stretch. Then the Internet had gone down ending her morning’s work. A good excuse for her to get away from the office and spend special time with him.

She lightly grasped the reins of the most wonderful quarter horse on the planet and the perfect cure-all for the morning’s frustration. Closing her eyes, Avery allowed Darcy’s rhythmic gallop to soothe her.

Avery slowed the mare to a walk and twisted her phone from her jeans pocket. Pressing on Granddad’s name in Favorites, she breathed in the sweltering heat and envisioned him fumbling for his phone.

“Mornin’, sweet girl.”

“Can I treat you to a five-star restaurant for lunch?” He chuckled. “You’ll have to fly in the prime rib.”

“I’ve packed us a picnic, and I’m on my way to meet you. Just say where.”

“Drivin’ or ridin’?”

“You’ve hurt Darcy’s feelings.”

“Give her my apologies. I’m west of the river about a mile from the family cemetery. Should be a nice breeze there this morning. We could talk and have lunch with your grandma.”

“Good. I’d planned to stop at her grave while I was out.” The oaks bordering the family plots would offer relief from the hundred-degree temps. With the abundance of summer rain, the area brimmed with green and vibrant wildflowers. “I’ll make sure she has flowers on her grave.”

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. Guess I’m a sentimental old man who never got over his first love.”

Someday Avery wanted the same kind of love. She remembered the woman with warm brown eyes and a loving touch who fell prey to a stroke nearly fifteen years ago and never recovered. “You’re not a sentimental old man but one who misses his wife and best friend.”

“I see her in you.” He sighed. “You have a spirit of strength deep in your heart. Others think you’re quiet—until you’re riled. Then you’d give the devil a run for his money.”

“I hope I can always live up to that strength.”

“You already have. One day you’ll make the right man proud.” “Haven’t found him yet.”

“Time’s just not right. So when will you get here?”

Avery studied the familiar landmarks—thoroughbred horses grazing to the south and cattle taking advantage of the Brazos River. Why anyone would choose to live away from nature’s beauty made little sense to her. “About thirty minutes.”

“You didn’t bring tofu and carrot sticks? Mia’s new diet is killing me. The doctor doesn’t need to worry about my cholesterol or weight because she’s starving me.”

Avery laughed. “No. I packed ham and cheese, jalapeño-bacon potato salad, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and apple pie. You can eat light this evening.”

“I have a political dinner at six o’clock and a deacon meeting at seven thirty. Hey, how did you get the forbidden food past Mia?”

“She was upstairs while I hurried in the kitchen.” Their housekeeper and cook had entered the back side of her sixties and refused to slow down, but Granddad and Avery kept trying. Both knew better than to tell Mia to cut back on her pace unless they were looking to be chased down the road with buckshot in their rears. Granddad had no room to talk. He faced the big seven-oh in October, and he’d made no plans to ease back.

She slipped the phone back into her jeans pocket and hurried Darcy on. Avery wanted to arrive at the picnic site well before Granddad and have lunch set out for him.

Her thoughts crept back to the accounting issue from this morning. A work problem had made another moment at the ranch office torture, and getting away from the computer served as the perfect antidote. In examining Elliott Commercial Construction’s records before the auditors arrived next week, she’d found a discrepancy. A paid bill for materials was much lower than it should have been. Why hadn’t she seen this weeks ago at the completion of the Lago de Cobre Dam? The original bid for the project included the cost to supply additional rock and expand the footprint, footers, and other foundational elements to compensate for the soft ground. Those materials were ordered, canceled, and still the specs showed the work had been completed per the contract.

She’d contacted the material’s supply company, and the accounting manager confirmed they’d invoiced what they supplied. Yet Avery’s files didn’t reflect a different supplier for the required foundation, as though Granddad had substituted inferior materials or hadn’t followed the specs. He’d never sacrifice safety. Even the idea scraped raw against her conscience.

A call had gone to Craig, the foreman, but only voice mail greeted her. The accounting mess would drive her nuts until she resolved it, but she’d have to wait. Granddad would laugh at her fears about the dam’s potentially faulty construction and explain the discrepancy. Accurate details ruled her thoughts, and perfectionism had a way of eating at her logic. A lot of good her Ivy League education accomplished when the numbers didn’t add up.

Granddad said Avery shared his insight and discernment. The ability took practice, prayer, and purpose—his favorite three p’s as though he’d outlined a sermon. But Granddad was wrong. She must have made a mistake, and the error warred within her.

Avery rode the path to the family cemetery. Elliotts had owned this property and been buried there before Texas became a state. Irish, English, and Scottish heritage—hard workers and fighters for faith, family, and freedom. Which had a lot to do with Granddad’s name, Dad’s, and hers—Avery Quinn Elliott, respectively Senior, Junior, and whatever that made her. Fortunately, Granddad went by Quinn or Senator, Dad went by Buddy, and she was simply Avery. Proud family and heritage, although Dad and Mom slipped in applying all three traits of being an Elliott.

Not going there today. After spending time with Granddad and finding out the source of her accounting problem, she—

A shot rang out from the direction of the cemetery.

She dug her heels into Darcy’s side and bolted ahead. Had Granddad met up with a wild pig, a rattler, or even a two-legged varmint? The latter caused her to slow the mare and circle a grove of trees. If she needed her Sig, the firearm rested in a saddlebag beside the packed lunch. Granddad wasn’t in sight. Only his stallion.

She dismounted and grabbed her gun. Tying Darcy to a slender oak, Avery moved closer to the iron gate of the cemetery entrance and prayed he hadn’t been hurt. How had he been a mile west of here when she called him?

Hesitant to call out for him and draw the shooter’s attention to her, she hid behind an oak. A riderless motorcycle—a shiny, blue Yamaha Tracer 9 GT—had parked in the shadow of more trees outside the far edge of the iron fence, a few yards from a worn path leading to the main road.

On the opposite side of the cemetery, Granddad bent over a man, whose blood stained his chest and pooled on the ground. He felt for a pulse and lifted his head to the cloudless sky. In Granddad’s gloved right hand rested a gun. He shoved the weapon into his front belt and lifted his phone to his ear.

“He’s dead. This has to end.” Granddad scanned the area, no doubt searching for someone. “I want Avery kept out of this, but I’m expecting her in the next twenty minutes.” He kicked the dirt with the toe of his boot. “He parked on the road and walked back. She isn’t to know about any of it. I’ll handle the situation on my end. . . . Yes, I’ll be careful and not let the authorities know what happened. Look, I need to move his body out of sight. He was a friend, one of the best. I despise where this has gone.” Granddad waved his hand. “I told you Avery won’t be a problem.”


Excerpt from Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills. Copyright 2022 by DiAnn Mills. Reproduced with permission from DiAnn Mills. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, an active member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

                      DiAnn is very active online and would love to                        connect with readers on:
BookBub – @DiAnnMills
Instagram – @diannmillsauthor
Twitter – @DiAnnMills
Facebook – @DiAnnMills
YouTube – @DiAnnMills


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#NewRelease “Refuge for Ailsa, (Bluegrass Bravery Book 15)” by Deanndra Hall

Title: Refuge for Ailsa (Bluegrass Bravery, #15)
World: Susan Stoker’s Badge of Honor
Author: Deanndra Hall
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Cover Designer: Buoni Amici Press, LLC
Release Date: September 13, 2022
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

A vindictive psychopath is on the loose …

Thirty-nine-year-old Tavish Stewart is content being alone and focusing on his career as a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Conservation Officer. After all, love has never come easy to him. His parents resented him, and his ex-girlfriend destroyed him. The water and wildlife are all he knows—and wants. But when an accident on the water forces him to start questioning witnesses, Tavish is blown away by the red-haired Scottish beauty who runs the store.

Ailsa MacDougal is still reeling from failing to save her late husband from his addiction and rage. All she wants is to live quietly on her boat and fly under the radar. But meeting the sexy conservation officer rocks her to the core.

As Ailsa and Tavish begin to navigate the waters of a new, budding relationship, Tavish’s past threatens to destroy what they’re attempting to create. Suddenly, Ailsa’s life is on the line. Come Hell or high water, Tavish will do anything to save the woman who finally stole his heart. Will he find refuge for Ailsa before it’s too late?

Join us in Boyle County, Kentucky, in this installment of the Bluegrass Bravery series, where you’ll once again find Conor Paxton from Susan Stoker’s Police and Fire: Operation Alpha tales.

Kindle Unlimited


Tweet: ✨NEW RELEASE ✨Join us in Boyle County, Kentucky, in this installment of the Bluegrass Bravery series … Grab your copy of Refuge for Ailsa by Deanndra Hall Available exclusive on Amazon https://ctt.ec/iZ72j+ #Deanndra Hall #newrelease #romanticsuspense #romanticsuspensereaders

Deanndra Hall is a working author living in the far western end of the beautiful Bluegrass State with her husband of over 35 years and small menagerie of weird little dogs. When she’s not writing, she’s editing. When she’s doing neither of those two things, she’s having dinner with friends, spending time with family, kayaking, eating chocolate, drinking beer or moonshine, or looking for something that she put in the wrong place and can’t seem to find (which is pretty much everything she owns).

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#ReleaseBlitz “Wanting the Fight (Gloves Off – Next Generation)” by LP Dover

Title: Wanting the Fight: a Gloves Off – Next Generation
Author: L.P. Dover
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Sports Romance
Tropes: MMA Fighters, Actress, Mafia, Friends to Lovers, One Night Stand, Secret Pregnancy
Release Date: October 25, 2022

From New York Times bestseller L.P. Dover comes a story of passion, revenge, and twisted manipulation.
Ethan Jameson has it all. He’s one of the hottest fighters in the middleweight circuit and is loved by women everywhere. It seems nothing can stand in his way… except for the dragon tattoo that marks him as a target. He knew the day would come when Nikolai Michelson would seek out his vengeance. He even fooled himself into believing he was ready to fight back… until a one-night stand changes everything.
Peyton Emerson; Hollywood starlet and America’s sweetheart. She’s always wondered what it would be like to have Ethan to herself. After a drunken weekend in Vegas, she got the pleasure of finding out firsthand. But being with her comes at a cost. Peyton knows all too well how the paparazzi tear couples apart with their lies.
Still, there’s no denying that their one-night stand sparked something inside of them—a need for one another they can’t quell. Unable to fight their attraction, they work to keep their relationship a secret. Unfortunately, their efforts aren’t enough to keep an enemy from finding out and using that information to manipulate them both. When Peyton and Ethan are approached with a grisly demand, they have no choice but to accept. Those they love will pay the horrific price if they try to refuse…

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Goodreads Review – ❝Wanting the Fight returns readers to the Gloves Off Next Generation series for what is the best story to date!!❞


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Everything’s sweeter in the South has always been her mantra and she lives by it, whether it’s with her writing or in her everyday life. Maybe that’s why she’s seriously addicted to chocolate.

Dover has written countless novels in several different genres, including a children’s book with her daughter. Her favorite to write is romantic suspense, but she’s also found a passion in romantic comedy. She loves to make people laugh which is why you’ll never see her without a smile on her face.


#ChapterReveal “High Impact (High Mountain Trackers Book 4)” by Freya Barker

Title: High Impact (High Mountain Trackers, #4)
Author: Freya Barker
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: December 6, 2022
Cover Designer: Freya Barker
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

Manager for Hart’s Horse Rescue, Lucy Lenoir, finally feels she has a handle on life after having worked hard to leave her old one behind. So hard, there are times she almost forgets what she escaped. Memories which suddenly come flooding back when she catches a glimpse of a familiar horseman in town.

What’s worse, he’s in the company of the unlikely cowboy she’s only just beginning to trust.

High Mountain Tracker, Bo Rivera, tries hard never to repeat his mistakes. A huge one changed the course of his life and made him particularly cautious, especially around women. So much so, he almost passed up on the best thing to ever walk into his life; the compact, blonde ballbuster in need of a gentle hand.

However, the more he learns about her, the more he realizes a soft touch alone won’t keep her demons at bay. Those will need a firmer hand…to keep the gun steady.


Read Chapter 1:


Look at those poor babies.

They can’t be more than a week old but won’t last much longer if I don’t intervene. Their mother isn’t looking any better.

I got the call earlier this afternoon and wish I’d been able to wait for a deputy to follow me, but potential cases of animal abuse aren’t very high on their list of priorities. The woman who called insisted the situation was dire, and she’s right.

“Hey! You!”

Oh shit.

A rough-looking, burly guy is coming around the corner of the dilapidated farmhouse, about fifty yards from where I’m crouched next to the pen. He has a shotgun in his hands and it’s aimed at me.

“You’ve got two seconds to get off my property,” he yells, looking pissed.

This kind of rescue work isn’t without its occasional challenges and dangers. It isn’t the first time I’ve looked down the barrel of a gun held by some disgruntled farmer or rancher when they didn’t appreciate my rescue of their abused animal. Still, it never fails to scare the crap out of me.

I don’t like guns. I’ve never been comfortable around them, although I will say I won’t hesitate to grab the shotgun we have by the front door at the rescue when facing anyone who threatens our safety or the safety of the animals. Too much has happened here over the past two years since we moved from Billings.

We, being Alexandra Hart and myself. I’ve worked for Alex for over eight years now. I joined her when Hart’s Horse Rescue was on a much, much smaller property, just outside Billings, Montana. Then, two years ago, she purchased the property near Libby and I happily followed her here. Of course, since then, she’s met and moved in with Jonas Harvey at the High Meadow Ranch, just down the road.

At the rescue we don’t only provide a safe haven for the animals, but also rehabilitate injured and traumatized animals. Alex is something of a horse whisperer and has a special affinity with the animals I lack. Don’t get me wrong, I’m good with the horses—all the animals—but they certainly don’t respond to me the way they do to Alex.

Anyway, these days it’s just me and the animals at the rescue, where I look after the day-to-day operations. Not a bad gig, not at all. I have a job I love; I have a roof over my head, and I live in what has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Not that I’ve traveled much. I’m about the farthest away from where I grew up right now, although staring down a barrel is familiar.

According to Lester Franklin’s neighbor, he leaves for work every day at the same time and doesn’t return home until late afternoon. I’d parked on the neighbor’s property and was supposed to wait for a sheriff’s deputy to show, when I saw him drive off and came to investigate. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so I went in without backup. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, that had not been my smartest move.

Today being the exception to the rule, he obviously returned early and isn’t happy finding me here.

I lift my hands up to show him I’m not armed.

“Your kid goats need to be supplement-fed or they’re gonna die,” I yell back.

“None ‘a your goddamn business what I do with my goats. Yer trespassing!”

He racks his shotgun and repositions it against his shoulder, lining me up in his sights. The sound of it is a bit unnerving, but I know that’s what he intends; to scare me off.

“Look, if you’re happy to let them die, why not just give them to me to look after?”

The shotgun blast is loud as the dirt in front of me sprays up. I’m down on my face the next second. Guess he wasn’t just trying to scare me. I vaguely notice a stinging burn on my shin but my eyes are locked on Lester Franklin, who appears to be cocking his gun, readying it for another shot.

“Hey! Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department. Put that damn shotgun down!”

I turn my head slightly to where a fresh-faced sheriff’s deputy is standing, legs spread wide and her hand on the butt of her service weapon. Sloane Eckhart. She’s the niece of my friend Pippa’s husband, Sully, and brand-new to the department. So new, I can still see the creases on her uniform shirt.

“I have every right to defend my property! She’s an intruder.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Mr. Franklin,” Sloane fires back right away. “She’s at worst a trespasser and if you shoot at her you’re the one who’s gonna be going to jail! Now, I’m gonna ask you one more time; put the shotgun down!”

Despite my rather precarious position, I grin at the girl’s attitude. Hell, she’s probably early twenties, looks more like a child playing dress-up than an actual sheriff’s deputy, but she’s sure not easily intimidated.

“What are you gonna do about it?” Franklin challenges her.

Slow and easy, she slips her weapon in her hand, widens her stance, and aims straight at him.

“I outshot the entire department in an accuracy test two weeks ago,” she says calmly. “Want to test me?”

For a few seconds, it looks like we might have a shootout when the guy pans his aim toward Sloane, but at the last moment lowers the barrel.

I get to my feet and notice my lower leg still burning. The front of my jeans on the left side is wet and stained dark. Wonderful.

“Were you hit?”

Sloane walks over, her eyes zoomed in on my leg.

“Just some rock spray hitting me, I think. Just a scratch.”

I don’t want her distracted, I want her to control Lester while I collect these poor goats.

“Right,” she says, giving me a hard look before she walks to her cruiser, the driver’s side door still open. “Gonna call some backup. Looks like we need Animal Control out here too.”

While Sloane puts in her calls, I pull up the leg of my jeans as I try to keep an eye on Franklin, who continues to hover in front of his house. My leg is a mess. It’s difficult to see anything, but I look to be bleeding from more than one source.

“Yikes,” Sloane comments, walking up. “Maybe I should’ve called the EMTs as well. That doesn’t look good.”



“Can you hand me the wrench?”

I dig through the toolbox and give James the requested tool.

We’re out behind the ranch house, in the shed where the pump running the automated watering system is housed. The system provides water to the horses out in the fields closest to the house. There are only a few of the back meadows left to cart water to, but if we can’t get this damn pump to work, we’re gonna be back to hauling it everywhere.

It’s a time suck and a general pain-in-the-ass job no one wants to do, which is why we’re back here trying to fix it, even though neither James nor I are particularly talented in mechanics.

“Why don’t I go ask Pippa to come have a look?” I suggest when James releases a few juicy curse words.

Pippa is married to Sully, another member of our team, and she’s a mechanic. They live in one of the cabins on the other side of the ranch house and just welcomed a new baby two weeks ago, so she’s home.

“I’m sure she’s got other things going on,” James mutters.

“Are you kidding? If it was up to her, she would’ve strapped that baby to her body and already be back at the garage working.”

It’s true, I walked in on an argument about exactly that topic between her and Sully just yesterday. Pippa is itching to do something with her hands, while her husband feels she needs more time to recover.

He’s just worried about her, being protective, and she’s afraid to lose autonomy over her life with the new baby and relatively new husband. The fear-driven dynamics are clear to see from an observer’s point of view, but I guess even a couple of weeks of sleepless nights, constant feedings, and endless diapers can make you lose perspective.

Pippa is a rock and I have no doubt she’ll jump at the opportunity to get out of the house for a bit. Sully’s back to work and manning the breeding barn with Fletch today, but there are many at the ranch who’d drop anything to keep an eye on that baby girl for a few minutes.

Poor kid was born into one of the strangest families I’ve ever known, with a whole bunch of uncles, aunts, an honorary grandfather, and a handful of cousins, of which only one aunt and one cousin are actually blood related. The ranch, High Meadow, is at the center of this haphazard family. Its owner, Jonas Harvey, was my commander in the armed forces. Jonas, Sully, Fletch, James, and I were part of a special ops tracking unit. Like me, Jonas came from a ranching background. When he aged out of the unit, he bought this place, pulling us in one by one as we each aged out.

High Meadow is a stud farm, but in recent years we’ve been developing our own breeding program as well. In addition to that, the ranch is also the base for High Mountain Trackers. We may all have been too old for Uncle Sam, but we’re still able to put our skills to good use with HMT, which is a search and rescue—or recovery—unit on horseback. We get a variety of calls, anywhere from missing children to hunting down criminals, and often work together with local and state law enforcement.

The ranch is our home, even though I’ve never lived here like most of my brothers. I have my reasons for choosing an old apartment in town over one of the staff cabins on the ranch, although there’ve been many times I wished things were different. That’s life though, you’ve just got to roll with it. I’m sure there’ll come a day I can wake up to beautiful views and sweet mountain air instead of the parking lot at the rear of the restaurant next door, but that day isn’t here yet.

There’s no one at the cabin, but I find Pippa and the baby in the kitchen at the main house. Carmi is being burped by Alex, Jonas’s woman, with his old man, Thomas, looking on. I bend down and give that little downy blond head a kiss.

“How’s my little girl?”

“She sure don’t look like yours,” Thomas pipes up, unable to resist a tease.

There were too many years I would’ve taken that the wrong way, especially coming from an old, white, Southern boy, but I know he would’ve said the same thing to Fletch, who is white but dark-haired. This isn’t about the color of my skin but the blond hair the baby inherited from her father.

“Hush, after her daddy, Bo gets dibs. He delivered her,” Pippa reminds the old man with a grin.

I did. Two weeks ago, at the horse rescue.

It wasn’t my first baby—before I joined the military I worked as a nurse in different departments—but it had been a few years, maybe even decades, since the last one. Luckily, the basic mechanics of childbirth stay the same and, other than the baby was coming fast, there were no complications.

“Hey, you got a minute?” I ask Pippa. “We can’t get the motor on the water pump to—”

I don’t even get a chance to finish my sentence before she jumps in.

“Yes. You don’t mind, do you, Alex?”

Alex makes a face as she snuggles the baby closer. “Like you need to ask.”

Pippa follows me outside where we almost bump into Sloane, Sully’s niece, who moved here over the summer. She’s a sheriff’s deputy.

“I was looking for you” she addresses Pippa. “Where’s the baby?”

“Kitchen.” Pippa cocks her thumb over her shoulder. “I swear,” she continues when Sloane rushes up the porch steps. “I’ve ceased to exist since she was born. Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby beyond measure, but it’s a little unsettling when I’m being treated like an extension of that little human instead of my own person.”

I hear her. Fuck, I’m guilty of it too, heading straight for Carmi without even a hello for her mother.

Throwing my arm around her shoulder, I give her a little squeeze.

“Good thing we have a busted water pump to remind us you’re not just good at making babies,” I tease.

“Haha,” she grumbles, elbowing me in the gut.

“Oh, Bo?” I hear Sloane call.

“Yeah, what’s up?” I ask, turning around.

She’s hanging over the porch railing.

“You may wanna swing by Lucy’s, when you have a minute.”

As always when I hear her name, my attention is piqued.


“She had a run-in with a rancher north of town. She didn’t want me calling EMTs, but I think she got hit with some buckshot.”

I don’t realize I’m already moving until I hear Pippa yell out behind me.



Tweet: 💥 CHAPTER REVEAL💥 High Impact (High Mountain Trackers, #4) by Freya Barker @Freya_Barker #PreOrder ➜ https://ctt.ec/85W0z+ #FreyaBarker #romancebooklover #bookiesunited #bookishvibes

USA Today bestselling author Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
With forty-plus books already published, she continues to create characters who are perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy.
Recipient of the ReadFREE.ly 2019 Best Book We’ve Read All Year Award for “Covering Ollie, the 2015 RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for Best First Book, “Slim To None”, Finalist for the 2017 Kindle Book Award with “From Dust”, and Finalist for the 2020 Kindle Book Award with “When Hope Ends”, Freya spins story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!

Purchase/Pre Order the rest of the series!!


#ReleaseBlitz “Tink (Devil’s Handmaiden’s MC, #1)” by DM Earl

Title: Tink (Handmaidens MC, #1)
Author: D.M. Earl
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: November 3, 2022
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

President of the Devil’s Handmaidens, Maggie “Tink” Rivers’ is hellbent on ridding the world of human trafficking. Between her duties as president of her club and her duties in business, she’s in over her head, feeling empty and overwhelmed. But when she meets a former Navy SEAL, everything changes.

Relocating to Montana is Ellington Rutledge’s fresh start. And the beautiful and fiery president of the female motorcycle club is just the new beginning he’s been looking for. As Tink and Ellington grow closer, her past comes back to destroy them. With Tink’s life on the line and the club at stake, can Ellington save Tink and the club before it’s too late?


Tweet: #NowLive the new #MCRomance, Tink (Handmaidens MC, #1) from @DMEarl This new #MC novel is now available to #BuyNow https://ctt.ec/W8nvV+ #BAPpr #MotorcycleRomance

D.M. Earl is a U.S.A. Today Bestselling Author who spins stories about real life situations with characters that are authentic, genuine, and sincere. Each of her stories allow the characters to come to life with each turn of the page while they try to find their HEA through much drama and angst. D.M. finds ideas for her next story from within those around her and what she experiences in daily life. Each book has a part of her left behind in it. She lives in Northwest Indiana married to her best friend who was instrumental in the start of her writing career in 2014. When not writing D.M. loves to read, play with her seven fur-babies (yeah crazy) and ride her Harley Dyna Lowrider.

“Enjoy this Ride we call Life.” Remember we only get one chance.

#ReleaseTour “See You Fall” by Gemma Lawrence


See You Fall

by Gemma Lawrence



BUY THE BOOK: https://mybook.to/SeeYouFall



He only has eyes for her…

Chloe Stark needs to get her life on track after the collapse of her marriage. Everyone keeps telling her so. When a night out with her friend Laura leads her to Danny, an age-old game of girl-meets-boy unfolds. It should be normal, exciting, but something about him is…off. A little too interested, a little too intense. When she leaves, she doesn’t give her number. End of story.

But Danny isn’t going anywhere. He pursues Chloe with a determination that frightens her, ignoring her warnings to leave her alone. He invades every corner of her world, even her deepening feelings for Tom, a friend who could be more. Soon, the threads of her life quickly unravel, and she struggles to fight Danny’s promise that they will be together – at any cost. With Tom and Chloe growing closer, her fear for him escalates, as does Danny’s worsening behaviour. But if Chloe’s past has taught her anything, it’s that actions have consequences, and hers may destroy the possibility of happiness before it’s even begun.

Can she leave her past where it belongs and keep herself and the ones she loves safe from Danny’s devastating infatuation?


Gemma loves to read books that have plenty of psychological drama mixed with sizzling chemistry, and that’s what you’ll get from her books too.

Gemma lives in Hampshire in the UK with her husband, daughter, and two cats who love to bring as much chaos into their lives as possible.

#ReleaseBlitz “Embers of You (Silverbell Shore)” by Imogen Wells


Embers of You by Imogen Wells


BUY THE BOOK: http://mybook.to/EmbersofYou

Add to TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60386011-tba

#EmbersofYou #SilverbellShore #ImogenWells



Time is a healer, or so they say.

But time has done nothing to heal my wounds.

Forced back home after six years, I must now face everything I ran from.

Grief, feelings for those I once loved and a threat I thought I’d left behind.

But there is one person I’ve never been able to hide from.

One person who can crumble all my walls.

Asher King.


Life is good. A good job, good friends and sex on tap.

What could possibly go wrong?

Kennedy Scott, that’s what.

After six long years, she’s returned to Silverbell and with her comes feelings I’ve tried to forget and secrets I thought were buried.

Now, I have to stop history repeating itself or risk losing it all.

Author Bio

Imogen Wells is a dark romance/suspense author from the East of England, where she lives with her husband, three children and the family dog and cat.

After being a stay at home mum to her three children, Imogen decided to go back to school. Much to her eldest son’s amusement. In 2020 she graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in History and English Literature.

When she is not writing, she can be found reading, binge watching Netflix shows or Boxsets, and every Sunday she is cheering her son on at his football games, no matter the weather

Social media links:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/AuthorIWFB

Amazon: http://bit.ly/AUTHORIWZON

Instagram: http://bit.ly/AuthorIWINSTA

Bookbub link: http://bit.ly/AuthorIWBB

Reader’s Group: http://bit.ly/AuthorIWRG

TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMLg6Gooo/


#PreOrderBlitz “Tink (Devil’s Handmaiden’s MC, #1)” by DM Earl

Title: Tink (Handmaidens MC, #1)
Author: D.M. Earl
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: November 3, 2022
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

Working to rid the world of human traffickers has been Tink’s life’s calling. It’s very close to her heart and only those in her inner circle know the real reason why. Lately though, between her duties as the president of her club—the Devil’s Handmaidens MC—their businesses in town, and the ranch, Tink feels empty and like something is missing, but for the life of her she can’t figure out what it is. Well, until her club sister’s brother moves back to Timber-Ghost to start some sort of sanctuary. With him comes Ellington ‘L’ Rutledge, or as she knows him, Noodles. From the moment their eyes meet, she feels the winds of change at her back.

Ellington is ready for a challenge or a real purpose in his life. Since he left the SEALs, well, was actually pushed out, he’s been drifting through each day. When the opportunity to relocate to Montana comes his way, it sounds like a new adventure with a purpose he can wrap his head around. Actually, being part of something from the beginning has him filled with excitement for the unknown. When Tink walks into the local watering hole, she rocks his world making everything shift for him.

As the two start to get to know each other, Tink’s past comes back to haunt her. As she struggles not only to figure out who it could be, but also continue on her life’s mission, Noodles decides it’s his duty to protect her to his last breath.

When the angel of death comes knocking on Tink’s door, will her club and Noodles be able to save her or will her past finally catch up to her? Can Tink trust her inner circle to keep her safe or will the door slam shut on Tink’s future?


Tweet: #Preorder the new #MCRomance, Tink (Handmaidens MC, #1) from @DMEarl This new #MC novel is available on November 3, PreOrder your copy here: https://ctt.ec/fvj6e+ #BAPpr

D.M. Earl is a U.S.A. Today Bestselling Author who spins stories about real life situations with characters that are authentic, genuine, and sincere. Each of her stories allow the characters to come to life with each turn of the page while they try to find their HEA through much drama and angst. D.M. finds ideas for her next story from within those around her and what she experiences in daily life. Each book has a part of her left behind in it. She lives in Northwest Indiana married to her best friend who was instrumental in the start of her writing career in 2014. When not writing D.M. loves to read, play with her seven fur-babies (yeah crazy) and ride her Harley Dyna Lowrider.

“Enjoy this Ride we call Life.” Remember we only get one chance.

#ChapterReveal “Wanting the Fight (Gloves Off – Next Generation)” by LP Dover

𝙁𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝙔𝙤𝙧𝙠 𝙏𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙧 𝙇.𝙋. 𝘿𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙖 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙤𝙛

passion, 𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙚, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙬𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙥𝙪𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣


book cover
𝗪𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁: 𝗮 𝗚𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝗢𝗳𝗳 – 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗡𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗹

by LP Dover is releasing October 25th!

PreOrder today ➜ https://books2read.com/WantingTheFight
Read the Chapter ➜ https://bit.ly/3ROKhBC



Chapter 4


Everything was set.

My flight was scheduled to leave in three hours, and the cab would arrive shortly to take me to the airport. Was I nervous about going through the airport alone? Unfortunately, I was. I’d never done it before. One thing was for sure, my mother was going to kill me when she found out, but probably not before my brother got to me. I kept waiting for the dreaded knock on my door.

Reagan was my best friend, and we always kept each other’s secrets, but this was different. She was genuinely worried about me, and I had a feeling she was in her room right now, plotting with Braden on how to keep me away from the airport. That was why I needed to leave before they could stop me.

Grabbing my suitcase handle, I pulled it up and rolled my luggage over to the door. I was ready. However, a loud knock made me jump back when I was about to open the door. My pulse skyrocketed, and I held my breath. Maybe if I didn’t answer, whoever it was would think I had left.

“Peyton, open up,” Ethan called. “I know you’re still in there.”

Silently, I groaned and tilted my head back. I needed to stay away from him before I continued my reckless path of falling into his arms again. Not moving an inch, I stayed in my spot, refusing to open the door.

He knocked again. “Seriously, Peyton?”

Go away, I wanted to yell. Why did he have to make things so complicated? A few seconds later, all was quiet. I was about to look through the peephole when my phone started to ring.


And then I heard Ethan’s laugh just outside the door. “You should’ve put it on silent, cupcake.” I swung open the door to see Ethan leaning against the frame with a smirk on his face.

“So much for distance. You’re infuriating, Ethan. What do you want?” I snapped.

He straightened and peered over my shoulder at my suitcase. “I’m here to stop you. Reagan paid me a little visit. Apparently, you have it in your head that you’re going to the airport alone.”

“I am going alone,” I challenged.

His grin widened. “No, you’re not.”

He slid in past me and grabbed my suitcase. “Looks like you’re stuck with me. My stuff’s already in the truck. And just so you know, there are paparazzi everywhere. I’m not letting you navigate through that shit on your own.”

Why did it turn me on to see his protective side? Why couldn’t I just hate him? It’d make things so much easier.

“So what? I’m just supposed to forget about my flight?”

Ethan stared incredulously at me. “I’m sure you’ll manage. You’re worth what? Millions? I’m sure you won’t go broke after spending a couple hundred on a flight.” True, but I didn’t like throwing money away. He wheeled my suitcase out into the hallway.

“I thought you were staying in Vegas a while longer,” I stated, grabbing my purse off the couch and joining him.

“I was,” he said, turning to face me, his expression serious, “but getting you home safely is more important. I’m your stand-in bodyguard.”

Bodyguard, huh? Was it wrong that I liked hearing those words come out of his mouth? We walked side by side to the elevator.

“It’s not an easy job, Ethan. You’re going to regret taking it on.”

Ethan snorted. “I can handle it.”

The elevator doors opened, and we stepped inside. I was thankful we were alone.

“They’re going to be all up in your face, asking you questions and saying God knows what.”

“Do you think they’ll ask if we’re together?” he wondered.

My heart thundered in my chest. “Probably. And what exactly would be your reply?”

He shrugged. “I’d say it’s none of their fucking business.”

I shook my head. “That right there is a dead giveaway. They’ll know something’s going on. If they ask, you’re my bodyguard, plain and simple.”

“Ah, so you’re embarrassed by me. Am I not worthy of you?”

Grabbing his arm, I squeezed it and stepped in front of him, staring right into his crystal blue eyes. “That’s not what I’m saying, Ethan. Being around me in public complicates things, not just for me but for you, too. I need you to trust me and do as I say. The world knows you’re a close friend. We’ve been in the tabloids numerous times together growing up. You’re filling in as my bodyguard while my mother’s not here. Got it?”

Ethan paused as if contemplating my words, but then he nodded once. “Got it.”

When it came time to take things seriously, Ethan was always good at that. He knew when to joke around and when not to. It was what I loved about him, my brother, Ripp, Brooks, and my cousin Carter. The guys were always protective of Emma, Reagan, and me growing up.

The elevator doors opened, and I reached for my suitcase. Two men in the lobby appeared to be guests, but I could see their cameras hidden under their jackets. They hadn’t noticed us yet.

“When I’m with my mom, I always have the luggage,” I said, taking the handle. “That way, your hands are free to knock some jackasses onto the ground if need be. We have incoming out front and to the left.”

Ethan’s body tensed, and he took the lead. “Stay close and move fast.”

I chuckled. “I’ve been through this a gazillion times, Ethan. I know what to do.”

With my ballcap on my head and my sunglasses on, I was ready to go. I followed close on his heels to the door that led to the parking garage. It only took a few seconds before someone shouted out my name and cameras started to flash. Ethan pushed the door open, and we were bombarded with more flashes. It was a good thing I had my shades on.

I recognized a few photographers from last night, and with Ethan taking the lead, they gave him a wide berth. He was well-known in the MMA world as the middleweight champion. I doubted any of them wanted to get on his bad side.

“Peyton, is it true your brother married Reagan Jameson last night?”

Ethan and I continued to walk to his truck, but I couldn’t stop smiling. Now that was a question I could answer. I looked over at the photographer— a young woman with curly brown hair pulled into a ponytail. If I had my guess, she’d probably been in the parking garage for hours, waiting for a moment like this.

“They did,” I answered her. “Reagan was a beautiful bride. I know both she and my brother are thrilled.”

A slew of questions were shouted at Ethan and me, but we kept walking. There were too many to answer. Finally, Ethan and I made it to the truck, and he opened the door for me.

“Ethan, are you and Peyton together now?” More cameras flashed. “How does it feel to be with one of the sexiest actresses in the business?”

Our eyes met, and I could see a twinkle in his. I had no clue what would come out of his mouth, but I prayed it wouldn’t be something that’d give us away. He helped me into his truck, and I moved my suitcase to the backseat while he faced the paparazzi.

“As of right now, I’m Peyton’s bodyguard,” he shouted so all of them could hear. “And to answer your question,” he called out, pointing toward a man in the back. “I wouldn’t know what it feels like to be with one of the sexiest actresses in the business. But whoever Ms. Emerson decides to give that privilege to will be one lucky man.”

He shut my door and went around to the driver’s side. More questions were fired at him, but he kept quiet. Once inside the truck, he started it up and sped away.

As soon as we were away from prying eyes, he looked at me and smiled. “How’d I do?”

“Not bad, Jameson. Not bad at all. We got lucky, though. Those photographers gave us our space. It’s not always like that.” Maybe it was stupid of me to think I could fly home alone.

Ethan’s smile faded. “Well, if they cross that line, I’ll have no problem putting them in their place.”

Leaning my head against the seat, I took in a much-needed breath. “Welcome to my world.”




“Please tell Ethan thank you for us,” my mom said. “I appreciate him bringing you home.”

I glanced at Ethan out of the corner of my eye. We’d been on the road for two hours, and I spent most of it on the phone with my mom, telling her everything about Reagan and Braden’s wedding. I left out the part where I was supposed to be on a flight.

“I’ll tell him,” I promised her.

“Oh, your dad and I will stop by your apartment to ensure everything’s okay there. It probably wouldn’t hurt you to stay with us tonight. You could move back in with us while you find a home where we can install an amazing security system.”

I was grateful for her protectiveness, but sometimes it was overbearing. “No, Mom. I’ll be fine on my own. I’m twenty-three years old. I don’t need to be living with my parents.”

“Hey, it’s just a suggestion. I only want you to be safe. There are a lot of sick bastards out there. I know that by personal experience.”

And that was true. When she was around my age, she was kidnapped by a man named Scar—the operator of the Dark Side—and forced to do things I could only imagine. That was why she was so protective of me now. She never told me in great detail what had happened to her, but I knew it was messed up. What I did know was that she was forced to fight men, sadistic men who wanted to hurt her in all ways imaginable. Scar would’ve had my father killed if she didn’t fight them. My parents thought that part of their lives was over, but it wasn’t.

The Dark Side was an underground fighting arena, headed by Scar before Nikolai had him killed, and funded by many others, including the mafia—mainly the Michelsons. I had yet to meet Nikolai Michelson personally, but I knew he had a vendetta against my family and friends. He said he would come after us all, and I knew my time would come. He’d already gone after Emma and Carter and Reagan and Braden. Our only saving grace was Seth Michelson, Nikolai’s older brother. He was on our side, but even that made me cautious.

“All right, sweetheart,” my mom murmured. “I’m going to let you go so your dad and I can check out your apartment. And if anyone’s lurking about, they better think twice.”

I laughed. “I think the paparazzi already know how scary you and dad are.”

“And they better not forget it. I’ll see you soon. Love you.”

“I love you too.” We hung up and my phone was almost dead, so I shut it off and slipped it into my purse. “Sorry about that,” I said to Ethan. “I should’ve known that’d be a long conversation.”

Ethan smiled. “It’s okay. What did Gabby say about Reagan and your brother? Was she upset?”

I shrugged. “Yes and no. But I’ve been warned not to do the same thing. Apparently, your dad is a little upset that he didn’t get to walk his baby daughter down the aisle. My dad will never forgive me if I do that to him.”

I was nowhere close to getting married, so my dad had nothing to worry about. Turning my attention to the window, I watched as the desert and mountain landscape passed us by. “My mom wanted me to thank you for bringing me home.”

Ethan’s deep chuckle made everything inside of me tighten. “My pleasure. It’s too bad you didn’t get your wish, though. You know, the one where you didn’t want to see me when I got back home. I didn’t exactly give you a choice.”

“We’re not at home yet,” I informed him. “As soon as you drop me off, I don’t have to see you if I don’t want to. Right now, I’m stuck. I’m not going to sit here whining because of it.”

“So, are you trying to say it’s not bad being around me?”

Rolling my eyes, I turned to him. “You’re my friend, Ethan. We just happened to make a mistake last night, that’s all. I don’t want things to be awkward. I’m going to be home for a couple of months, and we’ll have no choice but to be around each other. Also, Christmas is coming up.”

“Do you want to pretend nothing happened?”

He glanced over at me, but I turned my head quickly. I didn’t want to look in his eyes.

“I do,” I replied. It wasn’t the truth, but it also wasn’t a lie.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him still staring at me. But then he huffed and turned his head back toward the road.

“All right, it never happened then,” he said.

“Good. Glad we got that settled.”

He sighed. “Me too.”

And this was the awkwardness I’d wanted to avoid. Think, Peyton. Start up a new conversation.

“Your fight the other night was pretty epic. I’m glad I was able to be there and watch everyone win. I didn’t realize how much I missed that excitement.”

Ethan grinned and peered over at me. “I liked having you there. We’ve gotten to know each other a lot more this past week.”

“Yes, we have,” I agreed, ignoring his accentuation on the lot part. “We’re finally on the same wavelength now. You were never interested in talking to me when I was a teenager.”

He laughed. “That’s because I’m four years older than you, Peyton. You were a little bit behind me.”

“Me?” I shrieked. “Seriously? I was way more mature at twelve than you were at sixteen. Don’t fool yourself otherwise.”

We both chuckled together, and it was nice. “Yeah, maybe you’re right,” he gave in. “You were never annoying like Reagan.”

Laughing, I shook my head. “And speaking of growing up, what about you? You’re twenty-seven and single. Your sisters are both married and beginning the next stages of their lives. How does that make you feel?”

He shrugged. “Lucky. I’m enjoying my freedom.”

“Yeah, I bet you are. It must be nice to come and go as you please. Have sex with anyone you want, whenever you want.”

Ethan smirked at me. “Is that jealousy I hear?”

“Of course, it is. I’d give anything to be able to do what I want.”

“No, no, not that. I’m talking about the ‘sex with anyone you want’ part. Your voice sounded a little angry when you said it.”

“Nope, not at all,” I fired back with a smile. “Trust me. I couldn’t care less what you do in your free time.”

“Okay, cupcake, let’s switch things around. You’re twenty-three and single. Your two best friends, who are also my sisters, are happily married. How does that make you feel?”

Ethan glanced over at me, his blue eyes searching mine before he had to focus back on the road. How did it make me feel? The first emotion I felt was happiness, but there was something else, something deeper. I never realized it until now. I was sad, envious, and a part of me was angry. The truth was, I didn’t know if I’d ever have what they had.


“Sorry,” I said, my voice low, “I’m actually ashamed to admit my real feelings.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

I stared down at my hands in my lap. “I mean, I am happy for them, but I’m worried I’ll never find that kind of happiness. With the way my life is, it’ll be impossible. The media tear people like me apart. I’ve worked with so many couples who were in love but being in the public eye and having trash written about them all the time broke them up. It’s sad.”

Ethan shrugged. “Maybe they weren’t strong enough together to handle it.”

“You think it’s that easy?”

“Why not?” he said, meeting my gaze. “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the media says about me. I know who I am. And if someone were to write something false, I’d hope the person I’m with could trust me.” He cleared his throat. “Take you, for instance. I’d have to watch you make out with other men in your movies if you were mine. I’m sure there’d be some speculation about an on-screen affair or some shit like that. I have no doubt this new one coming out in a few months has some pretty hot and heavy scenes with you and another guy. I’ve seen the teaser trailers.”

I could feel the burn rise in my cheeks, but he had a point. “That’s why it’ll be hard and almost impossible for me to keep a relationship. I’m an actress, and I have to kiss a lot of men in my movies. I haven’t fallen for any of them.”

Ethan scoffed. “Really? What about Josh Mayfield? You were both into it from what I saw on those clips.” Now, who had jealousy in their voice?

A laugh escaped my lips, and I turned to him. “Josh is gay, Ethan.”

Ethan’s eyes widened when he glanced over at me. “For real?”

“Yes,” I said, laughing again. “I think we had more chemistry together than I had with any of my straight costars. Josh was the best. His boyfriend was there watching us on set.”

Ethan shook his head. “There’s no way in hell I could’ve watched that.”

“Well, at least you don’t have to worry about it,” I said. “We’re not together.”

A sigh escaped his lips. “No, we’re not.”

Even if we wanted to be, we couldn’t.



book cover
𝗖𝗿𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁: 𝗮 𝗚𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝗢𝗳𝗳 – 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗡𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗹
➜ https://books2read.com/CravingTheFight

book cover
𝗧𝗮𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁: 𝗮 𝗚𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝗢𝗳𝗳 – 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗡𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗹
➜ https://books2read.com/TakingTheFight


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