Monday, December 11, 2017

I Need a Hero!

Politics got you down? Or maybe, looking up? Yeah, let's not talk politics. But one of my personal heroes was a past president. Who happens to be immortalized on Mount Rushmore. Can you guess?

It's Theodore Roosevelt. I've been a fan since fifth grade, when I wrote a report on him for Social Studies. I think we could use more Teddy Roosevelts.

Ironically for a man of action, he became president by chance. President McKinley was shot while giving a speech and it fell to Teddy, Vice-President, to step in. At the age of 42, Roosevelt remains the youngest man to take office (Kennedy, often thought to be youngest, was 44). What's so great about Theodore Roosevelt, you ask?

The Bullet Points:

A sickly, asthmatic child, he overcame his health problems by adopting a strenuous active lifestyle. Asthma? No thanks! I've got too much to accomplish. (I have asthma. No easy feat to overcome it).

He's often defined by his "robust masculinity." Swoon!

One of his main interests and a priority was preserving our lands in their natural state. We have Theodore Roosevelt to thank for the establishment of our National Parks system.

His mother and his wife died on the same day in the same house, his mother from typhoid fever and his wife from kidney disease just two days after giving birth to their daughter. In his devastation, he launched himself deeper into his work, exposing corruption in the New York City government.

He risked aggravating his supporters in the segregated south by inviting Booker T Washington to dinner at the White House.

Unhappy with his political party (Republican), he created his own Progressive Party (aka the Bull-Moose Party).

Ignoring friends who wanted him to stay in Washington, Roosevelt resigned from his post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to form the First US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, the Rough Riders. Colonel Roosevelt surrounded himself with Ivy Leaguers, gentlemen, frontiersmen, athletes, cowboys, miners, and Native Americans. His victories leading the Rough Riders led to his eventual Medal of Honor.

And so much more, but I can't go on all day. If you need to develop an alpha male hero who is rugged and athletic, and not afraid to take action and stand up for his beliefs and for others, look to Theodore Roosevelt. My final evidence? We think of Roosevelt like this.

But this is what he looked like as a young man. Hubba!

Not to mention he inspired the Teddy Bear.

Tell me about your personal heroes!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Highwayman's Bite is out! Read the first chapter!

It's here! The Highwayman's Bite is HERE!
You can get it on
and Google Play!

This might be the last Scandals With Bite book in the series, we'll see. I had a lot of fun playing with the kidnapper-trope and seeing if I could bring anything new to it. Also, the legal situation with rogue vampires is so frustrating and a catch-22, that it reminds me of a lot of real laws in the world, lol.

Anyway, I am so excited about this one and I hope you all enjoy it!

Here's the first chapter!

Chapter One

Lancashire, England, 1825

Vivian Stratford peered out the carriage window and yawned, though sleep was impossible on this long journey. The full silver moon in the sky was so bright that the carriage lanterns were almost unnecessary. The rutted road to Blackpool was fully illuminated, a bright path to her impending isolation.
Vivian’s father had packed her off to her reclusive uncle, who would keep her locked away until the scandal died down.
Madame Renard, Vivian’s companion, made an indelicate snorting sound as she woke from her doze. “Have we arrived yet?”
Vivian shook her head. “No, but the moon is bright. Perhaps we can stop and have another lesson?”
Madame Renarde sighed and stroked her square jaw. “My joints are aching too badly for such rigorous exercise. Besides, it is not safe for women out in the dark.”
“We are in the middle of nowhere,” Vivian retorted a little sharper than intended. Immediately, she was contrite. “I am so sorry, Madame. I’m only weary of being trapped in this carriage. I want to stretch my legs and practice…”
Madame Renarde straightened her cap with a frown. “Your father told me to never allow you to touch a rapier again.”
Vivian had expected as much, but hearing the confirmation still felt like a thrust to the heart. “Did he find out about you teaching me?” Or worse, Madame’s bigger secret?
“No,” Madame Renard said quickly. “And I will not stop teaching you. I know that fencing is your passion. Without passion, people wilt like flowers. But we must be careful, and I think it would be wise to keep our steel sheathed for a time. At least until we learn your uncle’s habits, so we can discern a safe time and place to fence.”
Yes, that sounded like the wisest course of action. Especially since it was Vivian’s blade that landed her in this scandal-broth, which resulted in Father packing her off to her great-uncle’s estate. But Vivian was veritably rabid with the need to have her sword in her hand. Those blissful moments of thrusts and parries, dancing on her feet with the ring of steel in her ears, were the only times she felt she had any control in her life.
The rest of the time, Vivian always had to submit to what someone else wanted of her. From her governess to her tutors, her dancing instructor, her father, and her suitors, she was always expected to comply, to play a part like a scripted actress that would end with her… what?
The unanswered question made her age-old panic slither over her like funeral crepe. While Vivian was aware that she was supposed to marry a suitable man with a good title and preferably a substantial income and bear him heirs, she couldn’t stop from wondering, what else would there be? In all the stories of fair ladies and princesses, they ended when the heroine married her dashing hero. Why couldn’t Vivian be more like a hero? Have adventures and defeat monsters just as Beowulf and Odysseus did in her favorite stories.
Her governess had told her such thoughts were unnatural. Her father only squinted and frowned. Most other ladies her age either shunned or mocked her for wanting more than landing a good match, even going so far as to say that with her small dowry and plain looks, she should be grateful for any match. In the face of such censure, Vivian learned to be silent about her unconventional thoughts and wordless sense of want for something more.
Only Madame Renarde understood Vivian’s inner turmoil when she’d been hired shortly before Vivian’s debut in Society three years ago.
“I know precisely what it is like to feel that the life Society expects of you is somehow wrong in a way that you cannot quite identify. Yet the notion haunts you like a shade.” Madame Renarde once told her.
The paid companion had only been at Father’s estate for two months before she’d come upon Vivian late at night out in the garden. Vivian had broken down in helpless tears without even knowing why. The French matron had pulled Vivian into her arms and coaxed the story out of her as Vivian rested her head on the companion’s surprisingly broad shoulder.
“That is it, exactly,” Vivian had said, wiping her eyes. “I only wish I knew what it was that I want.”
“It will come to you.” Madame Renarde stroked her hair. “Until you do, I advise that you find a hobby that gives you pleasure. Such can clear your mind and allow your deeper needs to come forth.”
“I do have hobbies.” Vivian had lifted her head from her companion’s shoulder, slightly embarrassed that she’d been caught in such an emotional state. “I read, dance, and study various languages.”
“Yes, and your dance steps are quite deft.” The companion’s gaze had turned speculative. “Wait here.”
Vivian had sat on the marble bench, listening to the wind whispering through the leaves of the trees and rosebushes, her curiosity stretching the minutes to seem like hours. When Madame Renarde returned, Vivian blinked in astonishment to see two thin swords gleaming in the moonlight.
“You’ve brought rapiers?” she’d asked, wondering if she was dreaming. Vivian had never seen a woman with a sword, much less two.
“Would you like to learn how to fence?” Madame Renarde tossed one of the blades toward Vivian. The rapier streamed through the air in a gleaming arc and stabbed the grass beside Vivian like a javelin. She stared the quivering metal, fascinated by its delicate, deadly beauty. Slowly, she’d reached down and gripped the pommel, pulling the blade from the ground. A primal desire flowed through her being. The sword represented power. She wanted it.
“Yes,” she’d whispered.
Madame Renarde executed a salute that was both elegant and theatric. “First you will learn the stances.”
They’d trained almost every day. And sometimes, Madame Renarde would disguise Vivian and take her to witness fencing matches. Vivian longed to compete, but as a female, she’d never be permitted.
Madame Renarde was a master fencer, astonishingly quick and nimble for a woman in her forties. Vivian asked her how and where she learned, but it was two years before the woman trusted her enough with that story. And months more before she learned of her companion’s ultimate secret.
A secret that her father must never uncover, or Vivian would lose her closest friend forever.
The memories cut off when the carriage jerked to a halt, throwing Vivian against the cushions, and making poor Madame Renarde fall to the floor. The horses shrieked and made the conveyance lurch again before a man’s voice boomed, “Stand and deliver!”
“A highwayman,” Vivian whispered, her pulse in her throat. She’d heard tales from her father of the times when the thieves ran rampant through England’s country roads. But these days, highwaymen were rare.
Madame Renarde recovered first. She reached under the seat and withdrew her rapier, quick as the fox that was her namesake. Then she leapt up from her seat, positioning herself in front of Vivian.
When the carriage door was flung open, Renarde thrust her blade forward. Vivian heard a hiss of pain before a man came into view. The large slouch hat that he wore cast most of his face in shadow, but she could see an exquisite sculpted chin, mischievously arched lips—and the barrel of the pistol he pointed at them.
Madame Renarde sent the pistol flying out of the highwayman’s grasp. Vivian expected him to flee right then and there, but instead, he brought his own blade to meet Madame Renarde’s sword with a speed that made Vivian gasp.
The ring of steel was piercing in the closed space of the carriage.
The highwayman laughed. “I had not expected such a diverting encounter. You are quite good for an old man. I don’t know why you hamper yourself with skirts.”
Both Madame Renarde and Vivian sucked in sharp breaths. How did he know?
Madame Renarde had fooled everyone they’d encountered, including Vivian herself for several months. The shocking observation took the companion off guard, and her sword went clattering to the carriage floor.
“Don’t you hurt her!” Vivian shouted and dove forward to meet the highwayman’s blade with her own.
He moved back, visibly startled by her attack. Vivian continued to lunge, attacking him with fury of a magnitude that she’d never experienced. The highwayman deflected her blade with lazy parries, yet he continued to retreat.
Triumph swelled in Vivian’s breast… until her feet touched the packed dirt road outside the carriage. He’d lured her out here so that he’d have more room to regain his offense. Sure enough, the highwayman danced at her and brought his arm across in a Coup d'arrĂȘt attack. But it was a feint, she should have seen that. She barely got her blade back up in time.
“I see that you are a student of that Molly in the carriage,” the highwayman said with a grin. His white teeth flashed in the moonlight. Something seemed off about those teeth, but she didn’t have time to ponder it.
He moved into reposte, a counter attack that rivaled hers in speed and precision.
She matched his attack with the requisite parries, naming them in her head. Tierce… quinte… septime.
As they danced, and their rapiers clashed, Vivian realized two things. The first was that she could tell that he was holding himself back. He’d disarmed Madame Renarde with little effort, and yet Vivian was still holding strong. Yes, she was faster on her feet than the older woman, but Madame Renarde was quicker and more well-versed with her blade. Madame Renarde was a master who’d trained under someone even more impressive, yet this highwayman before her was equal, if not superior to her companion’s skill. He moved beautifully, and Vivian could see that he was capable of more. She should be insulted that he was letting her continue the match. If not for her second realization.
She was enjoying herself.
As ludicrous as it was, her being outside in the middle of the English countryside in the cool September night, crossing swords with a highwayman bent on robbing her, should have been terrifying. Yet her blood sang in her veins, her face flushed with pleasant heat, and her heart pounded in exhilaration as they moved together, more exciting than any waltz.
“Flawless passa-sotto,” he murmured as she dropped her hand to the soft grass and lowered her body to avoid his blade.
His praise warmed her all over. At last, a man appreciated her swordplay rather than scorning it. Vivian shook her head. Had she gone daffy? Why should she care what this thief thought of her? Furious that he was able to wreak such havoc on her emotions, Vivian redoubled her attack.
The highwayman grinned as if he read her thoughts. “I’m afraid I must cut this diversion short.” In an executed move, he knocked the sword from her hand. “Out of respect for your defense of the Molly and the skill that he taught you, I will not rob your odd companion.” Before Vivian could breathe a sigh of relief, he stepped forward and seized her arms. “But I cannot depart empty-handed.”
He snatched the jeweled comb that held her hair neatly atop her head.
“How dare you!” she said as her brown tresses tumbled about her shoulders. “Give that back!”
“I have to take something.” The highwayman chuckled. “I wager that fancy locket between those lovely breasts would fetch an even better price.”
Vivian reared back, clutching the locket that had been her mother’s and her grandmother’s before her. The locket that held her mother’s miniature. Desperation flooded her heart. “Please don’t take it.”
“I’ll let you keep the trinket,” the highwayman said, his gloved fingers lightly caressing the bare flesh of her upper arms. Gooseflesh rose up on her limbs, but surely it was only the chill night air. “In exchange for a kiss.”
“I beg your pardon?” she whispered as her heart hammered against her ribs. She’d been kissed twice in her two Seasons and only one had been welcome. But she’d never had a man ask her for a kiss. Much less a highwayman who’d already taken her comb.
“A kiss from a beauty such as yourself to warm me in this cold, lonely night.” The highwayman tilted his hat and favored her with a rakish grin. “That is the price I demand. That, or your locket.”
Heat flooded Vivian’s cheeks as she studied him. His eyes glittered in the moonlight, but the shadow of his hat made it impossible to discern their color. From what she could see of his nose, it was straight and pleasing. Her eyes traveled back down to his firm, masculine jaw, and the sharp curves of his lips. Her mouth went dry as she whispered, “Very well.”
She rose up on her toes and lifted her chin to meet him. In time with her move, he lowered his head. Their lips pressed together like the meeting of their swords. His hands slid down to clasp her waist and she reached up to loop her arms about his neck. He deepened the kiss like a CoulĂ©, sliding his lips over hers in a testing exploration as he’d done with his blade.
Vivian moaned and opened her mouth further, submitting to him even as she reveled in the taste of him and the forbidden sensations he wrought. This was no chaste peck on the lips like she’d received from an awkward suitor. This was passion made flesh.
Suddenly, he released her with a ragged gasp. “With kisses like that, I’d soon beggar myself. I will depart before I am tempted to ask for more.” He saluted her with his sword. “Thank you for the diverting match and your sweet kiss. I will dream of you.”
With a rakish tip of his hat, he disappeared into the shadows.

The Lord Meets His Lady OR "What happens when a recovering bad boy meets a recovering bad girl?" by Gina Conkle

Sparks are sure to fly when a recovering scoundrel of a second son meets a woman of ill-repute. 

Lord Marcus Bowles rides north to cool his heels. Banished to his mother's childhood cottage, he must stay scandal-free until his older brother finds a wealthy bride. One winter ought to be enough.

But every cottage needs a housekeeper. It shouldn't be a problem that his new domestic is pretty, sports high hems, and low necklines. Or that said housekeeper travels under a false name. Miss Genevieve Abbott Turner is good at things like...

Fixing mechanisms better than a man
Putting to rights a run down cottage
Quick with saucy quips
And putting a man in his place

His unusual housekeeper has a soft spot for horses in need, is on the hunt for her grandmother, and has a talent for illicit kisses.

She keeps Lord Marcus on his toes—good thing because he needs to be ready when a man from Genevieve's past hunts her down. 

Is she a thief?
A criminal on the run?

The challenge is on...Lord Marcus must save the only woman to steal his heart.

What do the critics have to say?

Here's an excerpt:

Lord Bowles angled his face toward her, the corner of his mouth visible over his collar. “I haven’t properly introduced you to Khan, have I?”
            “I don’t know, milord. Horses, they frighten me.”
            “Weren’t you the one holding the lead horse’s bridle at Devil’s Causeway?”
            “Out of necessity… to help the coachman.”
            “Exactly.” His eyes glittered with challenge. “You had the courage to leave your old life, bravely traveling alone to find a grandmother you’ve never met. And you’re afraid of a horse?”
            “One kicked me when I was a little girl.”
            “An unfortunate thing, but you survived. Don’t judge all horses by the one. Come,” he coaxed, extending his hand.
            Taking gingered steps, she put her hand in his. Khan’s ears twitched. The four-legged creature had to sense her fear. His long-lashed eyes watched her watching him, and she knew. Silly as it sounded, befriending Khan opened a door to knowing Lord Bowles.
She offered the horse her other hand. Nostrils flaring, his head dipped. A velvety muzzle rubbed her palm. Whiskered lips tickled her skin and she couldn’t help but smile.
            “He thinks you’re going to feed him an apple,” Lord Bowles murmured.
            Inklings of the old fright thawed. This was new territory being friendly with a creature larger and different than her. “I’m better with mechanisms than people or animals.”
            “You’re doing fine.” Lord Bowles inched closer, his pressure warm at her side. “Go ahead. Touch him.”
His quiet words sent a quiver across her backside. “I’m not sure where to start.”
“Here.” He raised their joined hands. “Behind his ear. He loves it.”
Gloved-fingers twined with her hand. Her palm grazed fine hairs behind Khan’s ear, the sensations filling her. Leather and softness. Darkness and candlelight.
Did the master of Pallinsburn have a tender spot?
“If you want to get on his good side, feed him apples and scratch here.”
Rain cascaded from the heavens, pounding the barn. Coat buttons pressed her spine. Her breathing found a rhythm with Lord Bowles, steady and deep. Peaceful and calm.
“Do the same things work for you?”
“A dangerous question.” His voice vibrated against her hood. “Are you sure you want the answer?”
Shutting her eyes, she leaned back. Time could’ve stopped. His strength was a warm blanket, tender and reassuring. The escape north, the hunt for her grandmother…her choices, even choices for the better, wore her down. This new life meant pushing against the grain of old habits and finding a new way to live.
            Couldn’t she give in to carnal wants at least once? Who would know? She missed sex.
Khan chortled. Eyes opening, her head tipped forward. Lord Bowles slid his hand down Khan’s neck, along the horse’s ribs, widening the gap between them. She stood alone, her body cooling at the loss. The storm pelted the roof but inside air stirred thickly. The master of Pallinsburn had to feel it, yet he carried on unfolding the blanket.
Heat radiated from Khan. The steed was truly magnificent. A black mane, charcoal muzzle, and four black stockings offset his silver-grey coat.
“He’s not as big as Mr. Beckworth’s horse,” she said, petting Khan’s neck.
“Big doesn’t mean better.”
“You’re telling me size doesn’t matter?”
“Large and hulking can be…ineffective, clumsy.”
Her petting hand slowed. “Or powerful.”
He walked behind her, rustling her clothes and whispering, “If you need a basic plow job, yes.”
Her skin pebbled. She’d known her share of flirts and rough sorts, but only Lord Bowles could touch her with words. Her gaze followed him around Khan as he fixed the blanket.
“Must be I need more riding experience,” she said archly.
Hazel eyes sparked beneath a black cocked hat. “You need a superior riding experience. Agile is more responsive…better and long lasting in my humble opinion.”
“And all this time I thought fast horses tired quickly.”
His raspy chuckle tickled her. A pleasant thrum bounced between them. “You haven’t found the right horse.”
She laughed. Skin flushed and nerves charged she didn’t want their conversation to end.
            “Khan is beautiful but his legs are thin as spindles.”
            “Shhh,” Lord Bowles put a finger across his lips. “He’s quite proud of his legs.”
            “As if horses have such a thing as pride.”
He unlatched the stall. “Oh they do, Khan especially. He’s descended from the Godolphin Arabian, the finest bloodline. Believe me, he knows it.” He slapped the horse’s rump and Khan walked into the stall. “This old boy needs his rest. He’s had a long, hard day.”
            Her legs stretched back a step or two until her bottom bumped the post. “Long and hard for you too, I imagine.”
“Part of it.” 
Lord Bowles shut the gate, keeping his hand on the top slat. Wind howled outside. Khan drank from a trough. Life went on, yet a curtain could have fallen between them. Khan was a pleasant distraction as was their veiled discussion of horses and riders.
            “Why did you go to Learmouth, milord?”
            The black hat shaded his eyes and for a moment, she didn’t think he’d answer. He didn’t have to.
“I needed a good, fast ride.”
            “Fast horses and fast women,” she mocked, slipping both hands behind her back. “The way Mr. Beckworth said it I guessed you were seeking a woman for sexual favors.”
            “Would it matter?” he asked quietly.
            The cavernous barn expanded everything. The thrum under her skin. Noises of Khan settling in. Water dripping behind her. Rain hammering overhead. Who was she but another cog in all the goings on?
“It’s not my concern.”
            “It isn’t.” He sauntered off the stall. “But I’ll admit, it gets lonely, me and my hand in the bath. Not as satisfying as a woman’s touch.”
            She stiffened. “Then I hope you got what you wanted.”
            His crudeness didn’t shock her. She’d heard worse. Being near him tonight wasn’t the same as watching him go off with an actress two years past. What he did came at a cost, a cost she couldn’t explain yet the sting was deep. She turned to go, but Lord Bowles closed the distance.
            “Wait.” He grabbed her arm. “Don’t you want to know what happened?”

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Gina Conkle writes lush Viking romance and sensual Georgian romance. Her books offer a fresh, addictive spin on the genre, with the witty banter and sexual tension that readers crave. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she occasionally gardens and cooks.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

NEW RELEASE: The Power of a SEAL by Anne Elizabeth

The Power of a SEAL, book 5 in Anne Elizabeth's West Coast Navy SEALs series, is out today!

With over two decades of experience, Navy SEAL Leaper Lefton is bringing his expertise to young and impressionable SEAL trainees in BUD/s. As an instructor, he knows he must prepare them for all kinds of situations—and there’s a perfect opportunity for hands-on training when he spots a woman in danger in rough water. Kerry Hamilton, a marine mammal veterinarian for the U.S. Navy is beyond grateful when Leaper saves her from the rough seas, and their attraction is instant. But after everything Leaper has been through, can he truly love again? And is Kerry willing to give him the chance?

Anne is here to tell us her top favorite reader moments!

  • Hugging a reader and learning how my book made a difference. I've become emotional in front of some of my favorite writers before and to have that happen to me with a reader as she's stood in front of me...I am and always will be deeply honored.
  • Hearing about a reader's connection to the military. There are many parallels in the military in terms of life challenges, especially on home front, and it's wonderful to listen to someone chat about his or her life.
  • Learning the particulars of how a romance story touches a reader's life. Every year--usually in December--I give out free copies of my book at Naval Air Station North Island. Last year, I had a sailor walk up to me and thank me, before I could even offer him a book. He said I signed a book for him last year and he gave it to his wife. They read it together and enjoyed it so much that they worked their way through the whole series and are branching out into other writers, too. Reading together, certain chapters each night, has made them feel more connected both on deployments and at home. In my opinion, that's super-romantic and very, very cool!!!
  • Being informed that one of my books is the subject of a book group's discussion. One of the reasons I write books is that I love to read. When a friend of friend told me that her book group had just read A SEAL FOREVER and they were all in love with the hero was a terrific surprise. She had a long list of questions, which were a blast to answer, and now they are waiting for THE POWER OF A SEAL. I hope I can surprise them by sending them early copies as a 'thank you' gift for their support and joy.
  • Being an inspiration or sharing information to encourage other writers to follow his or her dream of writing. Throughout the years, I've given on the craft of writing. As writers, it's so important to pass the knowledge on and to see others reach forward and succeed. This is the last book of my series and I hope there are other writers out there who will pick up the torch to inspire and teach, because fulfilling that dream is one of the most special feelings in the world and I believe there's a special story inside of us all.

Thank you for reading the West Coast Navy SEAL Romance Series - The Personal Side of a SEAL. It's been an amazing experience to share these journeys and to celebrate romance, the military, Sourcebooks, and reading. Live boldly, and have a blessed holiday season!
~Hooyah & Hugs! Anne Elizabeth

New York Times bestselling author Anne Elizabeth is an award-winning romance author and a popular comic creator. With a BS in business and MS in communications from Boston University, she is a regular presenter at conventions as well as a member of the Author’s Guild, Horror Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America. Anne lives with her husband, a retired Navy SEAL, in the mountains above San Diego.

Snag your copy of The Power of a SEAL today!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Cowboy Alert: Texas Bride by Leigh Greenwood

Have a soft spot for classic, historical westerns? Read on for an excerpt from Texas Bride by Leigh Greenwood, now available in a bookstore near you!


The woman neither smiled nor frowned, just watched him calmly out of amazing gray eyes apparently unimpressed with what she saw. She looked like a Quaker with her plain dress, hands folded in front, her coffee-brown hair captured in a bun at the back of her neck. But there was something about her that the prettier Miss Moody lacked, a kind of energy, an inner force or strength which even a stranger on first meeting couldn’t miss. It didn’t make her less plain, but somehow it made her plainness matter less. It also made her more interesting. More of a challenge to make her like him despite her obvious determination to do just the opposite.

“Wouldn’t you be more comfortable at one of the saloons?” she asked.

“No, ma’am, I wouldn’t,” Owen said, beginning to be irritated. “I want to take a bath and change my clothes. I’m not used to this infernal heat.”

“It’s been a relatively cool summer.”

“Not for anybody who wasn’t born in this hell of southern Texas,” Owen snapped.

“Miss Moody doesn’t allow cursing.”

“That wasn’t cussing. When I cuss, you’ll know.”

“Are your boots clean?” She looked him over again before reluctantly opening the door.

“They haven’t touched the ground since I stepped into the saddle this morning.”

“Follow me. Be sure to take your hat off. Miss Moody is very particular about that.”

Owen felt as if he’d stepped into a woman’s bedroom rather than the parlor. He’d never seen so much chintz or so many frills and ruffles.

“Do you mind telling me your name?”

She didn’t slow down or turn around. “Why will you be needing it?”

“I’ll have to call you something. You’ll be in and out of my room all the time.”

She stopped then, turned to face him, her frown even more pronounced. “My name is Hetta Gwynne. I’ll see you have little reason to use it.” Not even a hint of flirtatiousness. She turned and started off once again.

Owen followed her up a stairway and down a narrow hall to a room that contained an iron-frame bed, a wardrobe, and a small table with a pitcher and basin. No chair and no curtains, only shades. The bedspread was a pale blue, the design on the wallpaper faded, and the pitcher and basin plain white.
“Rather stark, isn’t it?” Owen asked.

“Most of our lodgers are men.”

As though men were unable to appreciate color and variety. “Do you serve meals?”

“They’ll be extra.”

“Many restaurants in town?”


“Any good?”

“Good enough for a man.”

He wasn’t used to being ignored by women, especially a plain one. His ego had been bruised. He would wring a response out of Hetta Gwynne if it was the last thing he did. “Where is the bathtub?” he asked.

“Outside. You have to pump your own water.”

“You mean you expect me to take a bath in cold water?”

“The water is pumped into a cistern where it’s heated by the sun. When you finish, you have to fill it up again. Laundry is an extra fifty cents a week. Leave your clothes in the bathhouse if you want them washed.”

“Do you do the wash?”

Her gaze narrowed. “Why do you want to know?”

“Just curious. I wondered if Miss Moody did the washing.”

“Miss Moody owns this house. She doesn’t work.”

“Do you do everything? Clean the rooms, wash the clothes, cook?”

“We don’t have many guests.”

“Aren’t you afraid to be alone with strange men?”

“I keep a shotgun next to the bed. I shot a man a year ago. I haven’t been bothered since.”

Clearly a woman to avoid. “Where can I stable my horse?”

“The blacksmith has a barn. Ask him. If you need anything else, ring the bell on the table by the front door. Guests aren’t allowed anywhere on the first floor except the parlor and dining room. Miss Moody is most particular about that.”

Owen had never met two more unlikely prospects to help relieve tedium. He considered looking elsewhere for lodgings.

“I’ll try not to upset Miss Moody. I hope you won’t have any more lodgers wanting a bath. I intend to use every drop of hot water.”

“We don’t get many people coming through.”

“Of course, if you want to take a bath—”

“We change the sheets once a week,” she went on, ignoring his insinuation. “Miss Moody likes to be paid a week in advance. Which meals do you want to take?”

“Supper.” He dropped several coins into her outstretched hand. “I’ll let you know about the rest afterwards.”

Then she left him. Just closed the door and left.


Texas Bride by Leigh Greenwood
Night Riders, #2
On-Sale Date: December 5, 2017

She’s the one woman he could never have… 

Handsome and devilishly charming Owen Wheeler has always had a way with women—but the war has left him a changed man, and he’s no longer interested in breaking hearts. Now on the trail of a fellow Night Rider turned traitor, he will stop at nothing to ensure that justice is done.

There’s nothing about fiercely independent—and plain—Hetta Gwynne that should make Owen long to trade his vendetta for peace, but something about her makes him feel like the man he always wanted to be. Owen can see a chance for a real future at Hetta’s side…if only he could convince her to let down her guard and trust in the passion neither of them can deny.

The war has changed them all, and each of the Night Riders must decide what is more important: love or revenge?

Friday, December 1, 2017

WOLF HUNGER Releases Next Week!

WOLF HUNGER, the newest book in my Special Wolf Alpha Team (SWAT) Series releases December 5th! I'm so excited for you to read Max and Lana's story!

If you're familiar with the series, then you know it's about an all-werewolf SWAT Team who serve, protect, and take down bad guys while each of them are hoping to find that one woman who can love them for what they are. My newest book features Officer Max Lowry. He's a newer werewolf, and the way he turned into one is absolutely heartbreaking. Saying any more about that emotional event would be giving you way too many spoilers, but I can tell you that Max finds The One for him in WOLF HUNGER. The best part? She's a werewolf, too. Only she doesn't know it...


When SWAT Officer Max Lowry meets Lana Mason, he falls fast and hard. He’s positive she’s The One. And Max’s favorite part? Lana’s a wolf shifter too, so they can skip the awkward reveal and head straight to the happily ever after. There’s just one problem: Lana doesn’t know that she’s a werewolf.

To make matters worse, hunters with intent to kill have tracked Lana to Dallas. Max has to figure out how to keep Lana safe, show her who and what she really is—and just how much she means to him.


“Speaking of award ceremonies,” she said to Max, “I didn’t see you on the stage getting a commendation, so I’m guessing you must be here to support someone who did?”

He nodded. “Yeah. Some of the members of my team got recognized today. How about you? Your boyfriend getting a commendation?”

Max thought he was being pretty damn smooth, but the smile tugging at Lana’s lips told him she saw right through his deception.

“Nope, no boyfriend,” she said. “Actually, it was my dad. Brandy took forever getting dressed. Then we got stuck in traffic. We barely made it here in time to see him get the award. I had to watch from the back of the auditorium.”

That explained why Max hadn’t picked up Lana’s luscious scent earlier. And while he was relieved she didn’t have a boyfriend, it made him wonder which of his fellow cops getting a commendation this afternoon could possibly have a daughter this smokin’ hot.

Max opened his mouth to ask her who her father was when another DPD officer walked by with a plate filled with a collection of various hors d’oeuvres. While Max wasn’t impressed with the selection of food, Lana looked at the appetizers longingly, even though she still had the ones her friend had given her. Maybe she wasn’t big on squash blossoms. He didn’t blame her.

“Would you like me to get you something else to eat?” he asked.

She glanced down at her plate, then shook her head. “Thanks, but unfortunately, the spinach puffs were the only thing remotely edible, which is probably why they’re all gone. I can’t believe they’re trying to pass this stuff off as food.”

He grinned. “I was just thinking the same thing a little while ago. I’m planning to head out as soon as this thing is over so I can get some real food.”

She leaned in close and gave him a conspiratorial wink. “Maybe we can slip out now while no one is looking. I can drop my car keys off with Brandy and we can disappear into the night. I’d just about kill for a slice of pizza.”

Any other time, Max would have been stoked to hear that. In his opinion, there wasn’t anything sexier than a woman who loved pizza. But right then, all he could think about was how his body was reacting to Lana’s nearness. Not only was his pulse racing, but his claws and fangs were dangerously close to coming out. He only hoped his eyes weren’t turning gold.

On the upside, at least he now knew for sure she was a werewolf. He could smell it in her pheromones. That was probably why they hit it off so well. Well, there was another reason, but he wasn’t about to go there—even if a little wolf voice in the back of his head whispered maybe he should.

Lana was telling him about an awesome pizza place that wasn’t too far away, wondering if he’d be interested in checking it out, but instead of answering her, he went in a completely different direction.

“It’s so cool finding another of our kind here,” he said. “I totally didn’t expect it.”

She didn’t seem to mind that he’d changed the subject, but she looked a bit confused. “Another of our kind? Are you a pescatarian, too?”

Max chuckled. That body and those looks combined with a wicked sense of humor? It was like she was made for him. A werewolf who didn’t eat meat? Now, that was epically funny.

Unless it was true, in which case it was a little strange.

Before he could say anything, Lana leaned over to look at something behind him, her lips curving into a smile. Max turned to see who she was looking at and was a little surprised to find Deputy Chief Hal Mason. The deputy chief was in charge of the police department’s specialized Tactical Division, which included the mounted police, canine unit, helicopter support, EOD, and SWAT. As a high-ranking officer in the department, Mason had to attend every award ceremony, but this time he’d been recognized for his commitment to developing his entire division, especially SWAT.

“Hey, Dad.” Lana stepped around Max to give Mason a hug. “I was looking for you and Mom earlier, but you were deep in conversation with some people and I didn’t want to interrupt.”

Max picked his jaw up from the floor and shoved it back into place. Lana was the deputy chief’s daughter?

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Catch up with the rest of the Special Wolf Alpha Team here!