Saturday, March 6, 2021

Release Blitz: Lucy Felthouse's The Longest Night


OUT NOW—The Long Night by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #PNR #vampire #paranormal #reverseharem #whychoose #rhromance #reverseharemromance #military #uniform


Forever is a long time for a vampire… but is all that about to change for Lailah?

Lailah’s neighbour, Loulou, is well known for hosting wild, extravagant events, so as Lailah heads over there for the much-anticipated annual Halloween bash, she thinks she’s prepared for pretty much anything. Soon after arriving, though, she discovers Loulou has outdone herself—and presented Lailah, who, as well as being an actual vampire, has come in fancy dress as one, with the opportunity to have a little joke at her own expense.

What Lailah’s not prepared for, however, is the appearance of three gorgeous men in uniform. Their out-of-place getup piques Lailah’s curiosity, and as polite conversation turns to flirtation, Lailah gets the weirdest feeling nothing is ever going to be the same again.

But how will Luke, Leo and Jack react when they discover Lailah’s vampirism isn’t just for Halloween?

Note: This novella has been previously published as part of the Duty Bound with Bite anthology.

Available from:  




I’m prepared for pretty much anything on my way to my next-door neighbour’s house for her Halloween party. Loulou is well known across north London for her wild, extravagant events, a few of which I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of—they’re always good fun. So I’m expecting something spectacular—she wouldn’t let me help, or even have a sneak peek at the decorations, so whatever she’s gone for will be a complete surprise to me.

The nearest streetlamp to our houses is providing just enough light to show off her outdoor decorations. I smile as I push open her fake-cobweb-covered front gate, duck as a plastic bat swoops toward my head, then make my way up the garden path, which is lined with creatively carved pumpkins, the tealights nestled inside each helping to illuminate the way to the door.

For all intents and purposes, I’m walking through a graveyard. Headstones in varying states of decay litter the grass. Noises ring out periodically—the hoot of an owl, the howl of a wolf, the yowl of a cat. There’s even a dry ice machine secreted somewhere, as a sinister, low-lying fog hovers over the ground.

I jump and gasp as I pass a large tree to find a decrepit, bloodstained zombie grinning at me from behind its trunk. Tutting, then chuckling at my own silliness, I mount the three steps up to the porch, where more of the same greets me, as well as some macabre smiling skulls, blood dripping from their mouths and spiders crawling from their eye sockets. It’s great, it really is, but there’s nothing unusual about any of it. This is Loulou we’re talking about—I’m waiting for the ‘wow’ factor, that extra something she’s thrown in to make her party an event that’ll be talked about for weeks, maybe even months, to come.

A sign with Gothic blood-red print is fixed to the door.


Obviously, I dare. With a roll of my eyes, I depress the door handle—which has a large plastic spider hanging off it—and step inside. It’s only a few minutes past the official start time for the party, so it’s still pretty quiet. I’m fine with that—it gives me the opportunity to have a good look around at what Loulou has done with the décor before it gets too busy, too heaving with bodies. Live ones, that is. The dead ones dotted around the place don’t seem to care one way or the other.

I don’t bother announcing my presence to my neighbour—we’ll find each other before long. Instead, I immediately start exploring, exchanging the occasional polite nod with other early partygoers as we pass. The scent of pumpkin spice hangs in the air. So far, so typical—more cobwebs, spiders, pumpkins, skulls, bats, black cats, ghosts, witches, zombies, black floaty material draped everywhere, creepy music…

Then something catches my eye. Toward the back of what is usually Loulou’s enormous living room—the properties in this area, including mine, are huge—is a sectioned-off area. A partition, designed to look like an old stone wall. It’s dark, gloomy, spooky. I love it. And that’s before I notice the sign affixed to the arched doorway embedded in the wall.


A snort escapes me, and I quickly look around to make sure nobody noticed. I’m alone, thankfully—probably the others are diving into the drinks and snacks which are most likely laid out in the dining room, getting their hands on all the best stuff before other people arrive.

I open the door carefully, since I don’t know how sturdy this whole shebang is, and I don’t want to wreck it—Loulou’ll kill me—and enter, eager to find out exactly what Loulou thinks a vampire lair looks like.

You’d think she’d have an idea, really, given she lives next door to one. Not that she knows, of course—I don’t make a habit of announcing my true nature to people. It just results in disbelief, asking for proof, which then often leads to screaming and freaking out. I just can’t be doing with that kind of drama. Therefore I keep my supernatural status to myself, and move around just often enough to ensure people don’t start to notice I haven’t aged a day since they first met me.



Author Bio:

Friday, March 5, 2021

Guest Author Day: Kelli Wilkins


Behind the Scenes: A Most Intriguing Temptation

By Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

A Most Intriguing Temptation is the sequel to A Most Unusual Princess and is Book Two of the Royal Desires series. I never intended on writing a series, but readers loved the characters from A Most Unusual Princess so much (and so did I) that I wanted to continue the adventures of Dalton and Elara. A Most Intriguing Temptation is a more serious story than A Most Unusual Princess and focuses on the themes of trust, loyalty, identity, and honesty.

The book introduces Elara’s equally headstrong and spoiled brother, Prince Allan. He is an irresponsible womanizer who drinks too much and lives for having fun. To him, business is boring, and he doesn’t take his royal duties seriously. His father (King Maxwell) sends him to meet with Emperor Salizar on business. To ensure the negotiations go smoothly, Maxwell insists Dalton accompany Allan.

When Elara hears that Dalton is going to the emperor’s notorious pleasure palace, she devises a plan to test his fidelity. This sets the stage for the main drama of the book.

Elara sneaks into the palace and impersonates a kharim woman. She calls herself Oonish and begins her deception. She constantly tempts and teases Dalton (in the bath, in the bedroom, and even at dinner). To Dalton, Oonish is nothing but an annoying, dimwitted distraction. Although he admits she’s lovely and appealing, he pushes her away and insists he’ll remain loyal to the wife he loves.

Prince Allan learns about Elara’s plan and warns her that she is playing with fire. Trying to seduce Dalton isn’t fair, and the whole scheme could backfire on her. Spoiler Alert: Allan is right of course, and Dalton does “cheat” with Oonish—but there’s one catch—he knew Oonish was Elara.

Elara is devastated that Dalton cheated on her—until Dalton confesses he knew it was her all along. That’s when the trouble really starts for the couple. Dalton is furious that Elara snuck into the palace. It’s not safe for any woman, and Emperor Salizar is a madman who despises King Maxwell and Elara. If she is caught in the palace, she will be in real danger. In addition, Dalton feels betrayed because Elara deliberately set him up and doesn’t trust him.

It’s a dark moment for this loving couple, and these events truly test their relationship. Elara is heartbroken and ashamed of herself. She let her jealousy get the better of her and has gotten in way over her head.

It’s also a turning point in the story, because Emperor Salizar has discovered Oonish’s true identity. Elara’s prank has put everyone’s life in danger.

When I was writing the book, I loved creating the scenes where Oonish/Elara drives Dalton crazy with her suggestive flirting and arousing touches—and Dalton goes out of his way to resist her. (He even tells Allan to take Oonish for himself.) The push/pull between the two characters was fun to write.

I also enjoyed the scenes between Allan and Elara/Oonish. These spoiled siblings are a lot alike: they share the same sense of entitlement, are used to getting away with their wild and irresponsible actions, and have an off-color, odd sense of humor.

The hardest scene to write was after Dalton “cheats” with Oonish and confronts Elara. All of a sudden, this isn’t a game anymore. Elara finally understands that she has done something despicable by tricking the man she loves.

Dalton wonders if he can ever trust Elara again. Elara is worried Dalton will leave her and dissolve their marriage. It breaks her spirit, and she realizes (a little too late) how awful she has been. This was a difficult scene to write, knowing how it would wound Elara, but she had to be taught a lesson and face the consequences for her actions.

Overall, I love A Most Intriguing Temptation. It’s got everything a great book needs: drama, adventure, humor, romance, and a hint of danger. It runs the gamut of emotions: parts of it are funny, parts are super erotic, and other parts are tender and sad. It’s a great story and readers loved it. (Although the book is part of the Royal Desires series, it stands alone as an individual read.)

As I was writing, Prince Allan turned into one of those characters who try to take over the story. I fell in love with Allan so much that halfway through writing this book I knew he needed his own book. Readers and fans also wanted to know more about Allan and thought he should have his own book, too.

Allan is the male counterpart of Elara, so I started wondering: what consequences would Allan face for his role in the events? What would happen to him when he got home? I explore this in the third and final book in the series, A Most Unfortunate Prince. (I’ll share more about that book in another blog.)

Here is the book summary and links:

A Most Intriguing Temptation


After only four months of marriage to Princess Elara, Prince Dalton is sent to Emperor Salizar’s pleasure palace on business. Not wanting to be left behind, Elara risks her personal safety and sneaks along on the trip.

Aided by her mischievous brother, Prince Allan, she disguises herself as one of Salizar’s sultry kharim women and decides to test Dalton’s loyalty. Masquerading as Oonish, Elara goes out of her way to tempt Dalton at every turn. Despite Dalton’s resolve to resist the indulgent girls, he finds himself falling under the spell of the mysterious Oonish.

After nearly giving in to temptation, Dalton discovers Elara’s trickery and turns the tables on her, making her into his submissive playmate. Their fun and games are quickly shattered when Emperor Salizar learns about Elara’s deception. He holds the royals prisoner and condemns Elara to a fate worse than death.

Can Dalton save Elara before it’s too late, or will her prank bring about the end of their love?

The Royal Desires Series is available on Amazon & other platforms. Catch this hot historical/fantasy trilogy from the start:


Book 1: A Most Unusual Princess:



All other platforms: 

Read reviews here:


Book 2: A Most Intriguing Temptation:


All other platforms:

Read reviews here:


Book 3: A Most Unfortunate Prince:


All other platforms:

Read reviews here:

I hope you enjoyed this “Behind the Scenes” look at the making of this romance. I welcome questions and comments from readers and other authors. Contact me via the form on my site or on social media.

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins



Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 3 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

In January 2021, Kelli released Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Her horror short, “A Witch’s Wishes” was published in the Nothing Ever Happens in Fox Hollow anthology in December 2020. In October 2020, Kelli had horror stories published in two anthologies. “The Uninvited” was published in Halloween Horror Vol. 2. This tale about a children’s Halloween party gone horribly wrong is one of her favorites. Her unsettling short story, “What the Peeper Saw” appeared in Madame Gray’s Creep Show anthology.


Earlier in 2020 Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.


Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: and Twitter:

Visit her website/blog for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

New Release Spotlight: Yes & I Love You/GIVEAWAY


Yes & I Love You

by Roni Loren

Publication Date: 3/2/2021


A beautifully emotional and unforgettably steamy new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren


Everyone knows Miz Poppy, the vibrant reviewer whose commentary brightens the New Orleans nightlife. But no one knows Hollyn Tate, the real face behind the media star…or the anxiety that keeps her isolated. All her life, Hollyn’s tried to hide her true self behind an online façade, but when her boss tells her she needs to reveal the truth to the world or lose her job, she’s forced to rely on an unexpected source to help face her fears.


Enter Jasper Deares: actor, newly minted fake boyfriend, and way, way out of her league. Hollyn thinks Jasper must be joking when he offers private lessons to help overcome her fears. Getting up on a stage? Hello, worst nightmare. But Jasper’s infectious charm has her saying yes despite herself. They’re only supposed to be playing a few improv games, but as the lessons run longer and the lines grow blurrier, Hollyn can’t help but wonder if she’s acting at all…or if a relationship with Jasper might help give her the confidence she needs to say yes to every imperfect part of herself.

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Jasper remained hunched in the passenger seat, half-turned to the side, as Hollyn pulled onto the road and made her way to I-10. She was sweating now, too, and her fingers were tapping a four count on the steering wheel. She was probably supposed to talk to distract him. That was what people did in these situations, right? She’d seen those kinds of scenes in movies. 

“This won’t take long,” she said, not looking his way. “Fifteen minutes tops. Maybe you just have food poisoning or something.” 


“Or maybe your organs are going to explode.” 

He made a choked sound, but then she realized he was laughing—or at least attempting to in between whatever pain he was dealing with. “Gee, doc, you really know how to delicately lay out my condition.” 

“My sympathy meter for you is low right now.” 

He lifted his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “I know. I’m really sorry. Like really, epically sorry.” 


A few seconds of silence passed and he looked over at her. “Can you keep talking? Even if it’s just to tell me what an ass I am. Anything to distract me from this stabbing pain.” 

Keep talking. The plea made her throat want to close up, Jasper’s attention on her too intense. She could feel her tics ramping up. “I don’t know what else to say. Ask me something.” 

“Favorite color.” 

She wet her lips. “Blue.” 

“What’s your last name?” 

“Tate. Yours?” 


She turned to look at him. “Dearest? Like your mom is Mommy Dearest?” 

He sniffed derisively. “It’s Deares without the T. And that’s an old joke, Hollyn Tate.” 

“Not to me.” She felt the corners of her mouth hitch up a little. “Jasper Dearest. I sound like your 1950s wife calling you to come to the dinner table and eat your pot roast.” 

Oh God, did I say that out loud? I just called myself his wife. 

He snorted. “Too bad your name isn’t Hollyn Darling. We could get our own retro TV show.” 

The tight feeling in her chest eased a little. “I’d have to learn to make pot roast.” 

“Not a food blogger then, huh?” He leaned back against the headrest and closed his eyes. “What do you do? My money’s on CIA operative.” 

She focused on his profile for a moment, which was oddly compelling, the slight bump in his nose somehow making him that much more interesting to look at—imperfectly handsome. She turned her attention back to the road. She didn’t need to be thinking about his nose or how handsome he was. Asshole, remember? “I do a lot of freelance writing, but not about food. Mostly about movies and entertainment.” 

“I love movies. You like your job?” 

“Mostly, but it’s a lot of scrambling. I’m hoping to find a full-time position one of these days. You know the magical kind that comes with insurance and a steady paycheck?” 

“Jobs like that exist?” He shifted in his seat and let out a soft grunt of pain. 

“I’ve heard rumors.” 

“Fascinating.” He reached out and angled the air-conditioning vent toward him. 

She took a breath, trying to settle into the rhythm of the conversation. “So you do coffee and improv.” 

“Yeah. And I’m going to teach some classes at WorkAround.” 

“On how to trash your coworkers?” 

Jasper’s head turned her way again. “Ouch.” 

She didn’t look over at him. No way was she apologizing. She needed to remember she was mad, that he’d been a jerk. Not get distracted by his hotness or his struggling-actor state. 

“Look, Hollyn,” he said, his voice quiet. “I’m truly sorry. What you saw tonight…that isn’t the spirit of our show.” He paused and took a ragged breath, like the speech was a lot of work. “I made a mistake. The serial-killer thing naturally brought my mind to Andi, and I bet if you asked her, she wouldn’t have taken what I said seriously. When I talked to her, she made fun of her own obsession. She embraces her weirdness.” 

“Right,” Hollyn said, jaw tightening. “So I should just be cool with being made fun of. I’m the one who’s too sensitive. Got it.” 

“God, no,” he said with frustration. “I’m saying I was a dick to use you in the monologue, and I’m sorry. I didn’t know about your tics. I just thought you were annoyed with me.” 

Her grip tightened on the steering wheel as she took the exit for Canal Street, and she inhaled a deep breath. “I’ve grown out of the worst of them but they flare up when I’m…nervous.” 

She could feel him watching her, and her fingers tapped more quickly. 

“So I made you nervous?” he asked. 


He frowned in her periphery. “Why?” 

She rubbed her lips together, not liking this line of questioning at all. Because you were funny and boy beautiful and have the sexiest smirk. “I’m not great with new people.” 

He shifted in the seat again. “Good thing I’m not new anymore. You can relax now.” 

She glanced over. The guy looked like hell. Flushed and sweating. But his eyes had a little spark of invitation in them. 

“You’re still exceptionally new,” she said. “Cellophane wrapped with the price tag still on.” 

“Nope. The seal’s been broken. We’ve texted. You helped me limp off a city street. Hey, we’ve even had our first fight and planned our TV show, Hollyn Darling. I’m no longer new to you.” He winced and gripped his side. “We’re old friends now.” 

She stared at him for a moment, part of her wishing it could be true. But who was she kidding? One, how could she trust that any interaction they had wasn’t going to turn into material? And two, she’d been fooling herself when she’d thought they’d been flirting. Jasper was a comedian. Funny quips were his business. Charm was his currency. She’d read the whole situation wrong. “We’re not friends, Jasper.”



Excerpted from Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren. © 2021 by Roni Loren. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.


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About the Author

Roni Loren is a two-time RITA Award winner and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She spent years as a mental health counselor, but now she writes full time from her cozy office in Dallas, Texas, where she puts her characters on the therapy couch instead. Visit her online at


Monday, March 1, 2021

Book Spotlight: Magnified/GIVEAWAY

Title: Magnified

Series: Magnified, Book One

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/01/2021

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63955

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, college, demons, djinn, mage/magic user, vampires, werewolves, religion

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On her deathbed, Yani’s great-grandmother reveals she has one last story from her past to tell: that of his great-uncle Yakov, who helped her survive the Nazis. It’s a story of vampires and werewolves he can scarcely believe—and in the wake of his great-grandmother’s death, Yani discovers the story is far from over.

The world of vampires and werewolves isn’t a safe place for a human, even one with Yani’s unusual family history. With danger at his door, the smart thing would be to run, but much like his great-grandmother, Yani has never been very good at running away—especially with his loved ones and the whole world at stake.


Mell Eight © 2021
All Rights Reserved


“Gramma, are you really dying?” Shira asked. She spoke around the thumb tucked in her mouth, but Great-grandma Chana still smiled down gently at the small three-year-old girl and her very chubby cheeks. Yani’s sister was such a baby, but she could say things that Yani didn’t dare. He was thirteen after all, and post-bar-mitzvah children knew better.

“I’m sorry to say that is finally true,” Gramma replied gently. The Eastern European accent she had never lost despite her many years living in the US, softened her consonants. Yani had heard her kind voice almost every day of his life, and it hurt to know that was about to end. “It is my time, as such a time comes to us all. God writes in his book, every Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, who will live and who will die. Shira, this year I asked God to take me to him. I have been on this earth for long enough.”

“But I’m gonna miss you, Gramma,” Shira sniffled.

Mom came over then and pulled Shira into a hug. Yani wished he were still young enough to get the same treatment. He could use a hug too. Gramma had been around for forever. She was nearly a hundred years old, although since her original birth certificate had been lost, no one was exactly certain of her precise birthdate. Instead, they celebrated on the day she had finally earned enough money to buy an actual house and move the entire family out of the city.

Gramma Chana was such a constant fixture in Yani’s life that he couldn’t imagine what it would be like with her gone. She had held him when he was born and had attended every birthday party and Passover Seder. In fact, just ten years ago, she’d still held Thanksgiving dinner at her house. Tzimmes for Thanksgiving was weird, according to Yani’s non-Jewish friends, but the sweet-potato-and-marshmallow dish was a staple for his stomach, and he couldn’t understand why no one else had it too. It was one of Gramma’s specialties.

Gramma had stood tall at his bar mitzvah just a few months back when she read an aliyah. Her hug after he read from the Torah while she stood next to him and watched with pride visible in every bone had been the strongest one of that day. In fact, Yani couldn’t think of a single important moment when Gramma hadn’t been there with a wide smile on her face.

But now she was lying in bed at a hospital, surrounded by her family. Grandpa Gideon was there, holding her hand while his younger brothers, Aharon and Shmuley, and their two much younger sisters and all their kids and grandkids hovered nearby. Great-uncle Shimon stood in the corner watching with tears in his eyes; Gramma had raised him too.

Mom was still holding Shira, standing next to Grandpa with her two older brothers. All of Yani’s many cousins were across the room. In fact, the room was packed with people.

Gramma sighed and smiled happily as she looked around the room. “Truly, I have been blessed. To have such a family. If only—” She paused on another sigh. “Yani.” She beckoned toward him. “I have a story to tell you. A very important story.”

Yani slowly walked closer to her bed, taking her wrinkled and scarred hand in his. She had worked hard when she first immigrated to America. Sixteen-hour days mending and sewing in a tiny basement apartment, trying to feed five people while learning to speak and read English and all of the new and strange American customs, had left their scars.

“I’ve already heard all of your important stories, Gramma,” Yani said gently, hoping to escape from one last telling of her days as cargo with four young children in tow aboard the steam ship that had brought her and her entire family across the Atlantic Ocean to America.

“Not this one, my dear,” Gramma Chana said with a very gentle smile. “This one I have not told you, but it is my most important story. It is the story I have kept close to my heart all these years; the story of survival and love in utmost adversity. In fact, everyone should listen and remember, Shimon especially,” she added in a louder voice to the rest of the room. “About my younger brother, Yakov.”

“Yakov? He stayed behind in Europe,” Grandpa Gideon said, but Gramma just continued to smile and began telling her tale.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Release Spotlight/GIVEAWAY: Jackson



by LaQuette

Publication Date: 2/23/2021


Restoration Ranch may have been the first step on her road to redemption…but Jackson Dean will be the last mile. 

Aja Everett longs to turn her old family ranch into a place where anyone can find rest and healing. But her big heart’s bound to get her in trouble if she’s not careful—someone wants her gone, and they’ll do whatever it takes to drive her away from the land that’s her lifeblood. Whether she’s willing to admit it or not, she needs help. 

She needs a man like Ranger Jackson Dean. 

Jackson doesn’t trust love. He once made the mistake of following his heart and all he’d gotten was pain in return. But when city-slicking do-gooder Aja Everett asks for his help, he can’t stay away…and as attraction sizzles and protective instincts flare, she may be the only woman able to restore the heart of this Texas Ranger.

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Jackson Dean made his way inside the Texas Rangers’ Headquarters and headed straight for his office.  It was early in the morning and he wanted nothing more than to still be in his bed.  Unfortunately, a call from his boss, Major Hargrove, put the kibosh on that plan. 

He twisted the knob and switched on the light, waiting a moment for his eyes to adjust to the brightness flooding the room.  He remembered how happy he was to get an office of his own.  The room was nothing much to speak of.  A typical windowless space in a government building made of white concrete walls and filled with metal furniture. But no matter how bland it was, he was still proud to have his name etched on the door because it came with his promotion to team leader eight years ago. 

Today, it looked almost exactly the same as it had when he’d first been given the keys.  But at the moment, when sleep hadn’t yet completely let loose its grip on him, boundless pride wasn’t the emotion he was experiencing.  No, it was more like annoyance and frustration grating on his nerves at having to come in early after working in the field late last night. 

He dropped his bag on a nearby chair and headed straight for the coffeemaker on top of a metal filing cabinet.  Fresh, frequent, and plentiful caffeine would be the only thing to keep him from getting an insubordination write-up in his personnel file, so he opened a couple of bottled waters and poured them into the machine 

A tap on his door grabbed his attention.  He glanced up from it and rested his eyes on the yet-to-start dripping coffee machine and groaned. 

“Someone must want me to get a write up.” 

Another tap and he pushed away from the filing cabinet and opened the door. 

“Morning Jackson,” Major Hargrove didn’t wait to be invited in.  He just assumed the open door was all the invitation he needed.  “Thanks for coming so quickly.” 

“I’m still half sleep,” Jackson groaned as he stepped away from the door and made it back to his coffee pot.   

“At least you had the chance to go to sleep, I’ve been up for about twenty-four hours since I got this call just before I was about to head home yesterday.” 

Jackson stared through narrowed slits.  Hargrove didn’t play with his time.  He stayed when necessary, but he was obsessed with him and his rangers having a clear work-life balance.  Nothing kept him from punching out at six in the evening unless there was a real emergency.  “You made it sound like it was life or death that I came in at,” He raised his left wrist pretending to read the wide-faced watch there. “ass O’ clock in the morning.  What’s going on Major?” 

His boss slid a file on Jackson’s desk and took the seat in front of it waiting patiently for Jackson to fill the mug he’d grabbed the second the alarm on the machine told him his brew was ready. 

“You’re not gonna put any milk or sugar in the rotgut?” 

“No sir,” he replied, sitting down and taking a long slow sip.  “I like it the way it is: strong and black, just like me.” 

He took another sip before opening the file.  The first thing that caught his attention was the picture of a woman in a fitted designer dress.  Not that he knew fashion from foam rubber, but the way the black material hugged her full curves, he was certain it had been made or at least tailored, just for her. 

“I’m not gonna be ready to read this without at least another cup.  Just give me the highlights.  Who is she?” 

His boss crossed an ankle over his knee and tilted his head.  “She’s the niece of a friend.  A judge in Hill Country.  Her property has been vandalized and the judge needs someone to look into it.” 

Jackson felt his brow inching higher into his hairline.  Something about the way Major Hargrove said “someone” scratched at his bullshit meter. 

“What do the locals have to say about it?” 

Hargrove lifted an open palm before letting it fall back to his knee.  “Not a thing.  There’s some bad blood between the local sheriff’s department and Ms. Everett.” 

Jackson shifted in his seat, the coffee plus his boss’ preliminary recount was starting to sketch an outline to this tale of a spoiled judge’s niece using her uncle’s connections to get what she wanted.     

“Anyway, the judge wants to make sure this is taken seriously.  Especially since the vandalism has escalated from fence posts and a scaffold being knocked down to her barn being burned to the ground yesterday.” 


Jackson sat up straighter. “Anyone hurt?” 

“Minor cuts and bruises on Ms. Everett.  Her uncle called me while she was being seen at the hospital.  Asked me to get her a protective detail and send a team out to investigate.” 

“She pointing fingers at anyone?” 

Hargrove stood up and tapped on top of the beautiful woman’s picture.  “Don’t know.  But you can ask when she gets here.  I assigned Jennings and Gleason to her protective detail overnight.  They’re bringing her in first thing this morning so she can swear out a statement.  Get your team together and figure this thing out.”  He walked toward the door confident his orders would be followed.  And they would be.  Jackson might give his boss shit, but he always got the job done. 

He looked at the picture of one Ms. Aja Everett again.  He ran his finger slowly over the high cheekbones that turned her eyes into barely-opened slits as her wide grin smiled back at him.  “Why would anyone want to harm you?” 



Excerpted from Jackson by LaQuette. © 2021 by LaQuette. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.



About the Author

LAQUETTE writes savvy, sexy contemporary romance. She is the 2016 Author of the Year Golden Apple Award Winner, 2016 Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner, and a 2018 Passionate Plume Finalist. She is an advocate for the #WeNeedDiverseRomance campaign. LaQuette, a native of Brooklyn, lives in Pennsylvania with her family. Learn more about her at

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