Cam and Gareth finally get their Forever!

38327905Bitten By The Alpha by Annabelle Jacobs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best one yet! Full review to come tomorrow when I’m at the laptop.

Righty. So Cam and Gareth. I’ve been dying for this one (even more than Alec’s story) ever since Book One and I have to say Annabelle delivered it in spades!

Alpha Cam Harly hasn’t had life easy in the past 10 years, he lost his human wife in the Pack Wars, his Pack’s unwanted feud with the neighbouring Primrose Hill Pack has resulted in prison for their ex Alpha and the merging of the two packs, and he’s closed off his inner wolf to anything other than business.

But it’s never that simple.

One of the other great things about this world setting is the lack of drama over sexuality, the pack’s don’t really care who hooks up with who in most cases, but in this one, the prime driver of the secondary plot revolves around an old-fashioned Alpha who has issues over wasting the chance of offspring when his daughter falls for Rachel, daughter of the neighbouring pack’s Alpha and a Beta in her own right.

I really liked Rachel, who is sent off to the Regent’s Park Park to get her out of the way of the temptation of her potential bond with the unflexible Alpha’s daughter Sara (and I actually wouldn’t mind at all a book which gives her a HEA!)

Gareth’s been in love with Cam for years but, as one of his trusted Betas, he’s buried those feelings deep inside. Rachel’s arrival in the Pack, as he doesn’t know about her relationship with Sara, brings an involuntary reaction when his wolf identifies her as a potential threat as a mate for Cam and suddenly he can’t hide them any more and now his Alpha knows his secret.

I’ve always loved how Cam was willing to put himself above all else but he’s not a martyr to his cause, he truly believes that the Pack should be first in all things. He’s had love, and lost it, and he’s so scared of living with the pain again that he ignores his feelings for his steadfast Beta.

Wolf shifter behaviour in this series has always fascinated me as well, Annabelle’s shifters aren’t driven by their animal in quite the same way as in other books I’ve read. Their animals are inside them, a conscious awareness which influences but which they can usually control.

But when it comes to potential bonded mates – a fairly rare occurrence – all bets are off and Gareth’s wolf isn’t going to passively let the chance of forever slip by. The results are unintentional but when Gareth’s jealousy bursts out I have to say I was cheering inside! Then the MINE takes over and the heat ramps up!

There’s a lot of emotions in this Regents Park Pack series and it works perfectly. Their wolves are emotionally driven, whether that’s positive or negative, and there’s all sorts of delicious tension ramping up between the two men as they continue to deal with the fall of out of Alpha Newell of the P-Pack’s treacherous behaviour.

The bonding process isn’t smooth either and both Cam and Gareth are stuck in a kind of limbo until, inevitably, the emotions boil over and suddenly they’re sexing all over the place and I have to say, I don’t think there’s many shifter books I’ve read which are as good as Annabelle’s at laying down the intensity of a mating bonded pair going for it 😉

When Cam and Gareth finally give in to their wolves while out on a full moon run, let’s just say it burns up the pages and hits combustible levels. The mate bite scenes are erotic and powerfully emotional.

I really, really, really hope this isn’t the end of the Regents Park Pack shifter series. I’ve loved every single one of the books in this setting and there’s still potential for more. Luke, Jason, Will, Harry, Rachel…

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Release Blitz: Loving Kit by L.M. Brown

Loving Kit by L.M. Brown

Publisher: Fireborn Publishing

Cover Artist: Sheri McGathy

Genre/s: Romance, Sci-fi, MMM Menage, MPreg

Length: 87 500 words/235 pages

Blurb

Logan McRae never expected to see two aliens when he woke from cryogenic sleep. He has lost his ship and his people and he questions whether he has lost his mind. As he gets to know Halor and Kit he realises he might just lose his heart as well.

Logan expected to wake on the spacecraft Mercury, ready to pilot the ship down to New Earth. Instead he comes out of cryogenic stasis to find he is on another ship with two alien beings, neither of whom can understand anything he says. Unfortunately, they are all the help he has if he wants to find his people and resume his journey.

Kit doesn’t know what sort of creature he has accidentally purchased, but it is definitely male and isn’t so very different from him and his lover, Halor. The language barrier might be a problem, but Kit knows the language of love doesn’t always need words.

Prince Halor of the Hawk Clan has always been reluctant to expand his nest beyond himself and Kit, but it is obvious from the start that his feline lover is attracted to their unexpected guest. Halor will do anything to give Kit the happiness he deserves, even invite another man into their bed.

Logan has no idea that Kit isn’t quite like other men until their passion results in unexpected consequences. Now he must choose between his mission and the two men who have given him everything he ever wanted, as well as things he never dreamed of.

Excerpt

When Logan stepped out of the cubicle, the cat-man was waiting for him with a clean kilt, similar to the ones worn by them. Logan had never worn such a garment in his life, but it was clear this was the only alternative clothing available if he wanted his flight suit cleaned.

His decision made, his covered himself quickly, though not quickly enough to avoid the frank appraisal of his feline host, whose green eyes lingered just a little too long on his groin.

Logan had taken his share of lovers before leaving Earth, but he couldn’t recall ever being looked at quite like that. The feline licked his lips and made no effort to hide his stares.

During his time on the ship, Logan had watched the two lovers touch and kiss almost constantly whenever they were together in a room. He had seen the feline drop to his knees and suck the cock of the bird-man at least once a day. Late at night, when they had disappeared down the hatch, the sounds of their sexual activities echoed throughout the ship. Even if they hadn’t given him a show right there on the flight deck, Logan would have to have been blind and deaf not to have figured out their relationship was far more than that of shipmates.

Since he had been seeing far more than was decent, Logan had also noticed that their feline and bird-like features were combined with those of men. Fur and feathers may have replaced hair, their eyes may be those of birds and cats, but there was enough about the two of them to make it clear they were very much men, not so different from himself.

They were actually quite pleasant to look upon. The feline was adorably cute, with a mischievous grin that never failed to bring a smile to Logan’s lips. As for the bird, Logan not only admired his elegant beauty, he was in awe of his incredible strength.

Logan shivered at the want he saw in the eyes of the cat-man. He might not understand a word he said or even know his name, but the blatant sexual need in his gaze needed no translation.

The squawk of the bird-man alerted them to his presence. Logan jumped, feeling guilty, despite having done nothing to encourage the cat to stray.

The feline grinned and licked his lips again. He meowed and gestured to Logan’s dirty clothing. Logan hoped he was going to get them cleaned, not have them thrown away.

Logan stepped aside so the cat-man could pass him, only for him to run his clawed finger lightly along his chest, sending another wave of shivers down his spine.

As the cat-man passed his lover, the bird-man tapped his arse playfully, causing the feline to swipe at him with his tail. Logan could tell they were merely playing and relaxed a little. As long as the bird-man didn’t think he was trying to steal away his lover, things should be okay.

The feline vanished from sight and Logan stepped towards the door. That was when he realised the cat-man wasn’t the only one who apparently admired his human body. The bird-man halted his progress with a hand on his chest, which turned into a soft caress, running over his abdomen and down to the front of his kilt.

Logan couldn’t have stopped his body reacting if his life had depended on it.

Buy Links

Fireborn Publishing

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads Link

About the Author

L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes that there is nothing hotter or sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three.

When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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To win a $10/£10 Amazon gift card please visit my blog and leave a comment on my new release announcement post.

It will start from the 19th February 2018 and run until midnight GMT on 3rd March with the winner being chosen on Sunday 4th March 2018.

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Release Day Blitz: Hard to Let Go by Jaclyn Quinn

Hard to Let Go RDB Banner

HARD TO LET GO

JACLYN QUINN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 19.02.18

Hard to Let Go Cover

COVER DESIGN: Morningstar Ashley/ Five Star Designs

COVER PHOTO: Stock Photo

 BLURB

Owen Richards lives a quiet life in his small hometown of Haven’s Cove. He has a rewarding life consisting of three very supportive—not to mention feisty—women, and a successful bakery that he owns and absolutely loves. Yet, Owen can’t seem to shake this emptiness inside or the intense feeling that something is missing. A sudden encounter with a man from his past, one he despises, turns his entire world upside down. When Owen finds himself attracted to that sexy man, he questions everything, including his sanity. After all, only an incredibly disturbed person would find that he can’t stop thinking about his high school bully.

Brody Walker never expected to return to Haven’s Cove. He’s made a life for himself in Boston where he can truly be the person he was always meant to be. But an unexpected call has Brody facing all the demons he’d left behind so long ago. Now, he’s faced with not only a difficult goodbye, but one long overdue apology to a man who is no longer that lanky kid from high school. The challenge is to convince the guy he’s changed—and also prove he’s worth taking a chance on.

When passions ignite, truths are exposed, changing beliefs these men have held on to for years. Faced with the knowledge that things aren’t always what they seem, will they choose to hold on to the incredible thing they’ve found…or is it easier to give in to the fear and let go?

Hard to Let Go Teaser 1

EXCERPT

“Do you always put chocolate chips in your blueberry muffins?”

He looked down at the bowl then up at Leslie. He’d been fucking up all morning and it pissed him off to know it was because of that asshole. “Shit. Guess today’s special has been decided, chocolate chip blueberry muffins.”

“Sounds yummy if you ask me, but then, I pretty much like chocolate in everything.” Leslie laughed and tossed some chocolate chips in her mouth.

Owen shook his head and said, “Yeah, I know you do. If you eat one more chocolate croissant, I’m docking your pay.” He bumped her with his hip to move her out of the way as he reached for the muffin pan.

“Like hell you will. It’s called quality control. How else are you gonna know if this stuff is good enough to sell? You’re welcome,” she deadpanned, shrugging her shoulders. “Besides, if you being distracted gets us more chocolate in your baked goods, I don’t see a problem.” Leslie winked at him and tucked a red curl that had fallen out of her hair tie back with the rest of them on top of her head. They each had pale skin, but with Owen’s dark chocolate brown hair and her red curls, they didn’t even look related.

“Who says I’m distracted?” he asked defensively. He was totally fucking distracted. Man, he really needed to get his mind off of the shit-storm that barreled into town this morning. Luckily, all of the mistakes he’d made were ones he could salvage…so far.

Owen’s mind had been going back to the close call that morning over and over again. He knew he was being immature blaming Brody for anything that happened. Owen’s the one who almost caused the accident by running the stop sign. He was just so damned pissed at himself, because before he recognized Brody, he’d let his eyes wander over his well-developed body.

The perfect fit of his jeans, the plaid shirt that clung to a broad chest, the goatee that made him look rugged and mysterious, and the brown hair just long enough to tuck behind his ears. That was not even close to the clean cut, all-star athlete that used to make Owen’s life a living hell.

Without his high school jacket or him hiding behind the ring leader, Chuck, no one would know it was Brody Walker. Except it was him. He was one of Chuck’s lackeys, always there, taunting Owen and egging Chuck on. The fact that Owen had let his eyes wander over his perfectly sculpted—no…shit, Owen—over that piece of shit—yeah that’s better—disgusted him. Proof positive he just needed to get laid.

Hard to Let Go Teaser 2

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I have been an artist from a very young age. From drawing cartoon characters and evolving into portraits, making jewelry, photography, and now writing. I have an amazing support system in my family and friends and couldn’t be more grateful.

I live in central New Jersey, love summers at the Jersey Shore, rock music, wine, sexy men, and laughing a lot with my amazing friends and family. Sunday dinners at my parents’ house are crazy, hysterical and you can count on a movie quote…or ten…being thrown out. Insults between siblings is how we show our love for each other!

When I’m not creating, you can find me reading books from my favorite authors. I’m a hopeless romantic, starving for passionate characters and always craving that happy ending, whether in reading or in writing my own books.

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Brilliant anthology focused on finding love in all the wrong places

1257101246Heart2Heart: A Charity Anthology by May Archer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s not often you get an anthology where you enjoy every story in it but this one might just take the title as the closest to perfection.

This is just a quick review via the Kindle, tomorrow I’m going to steal Dani and Reneè’s formula and comment on each story in turn but if you haven’t bought this one yet, rectify it immediately.

Not only is it for a great cause, but you get eleven opposites attract and fall madly in love stories to warm the heart.

I had an #ARC of this but I went out and bought my own copy because it’s totally worth the price.

Full review here now!

The Setup/The Fallout – 3.5* how it all starts and a very clever way of introducing the whole premise of the anthology. Bailey is surprised by his window washer asking him on a date. So surprised he forgets to run his final check on the algorithms for Heart2Heart.
Really sweet wrap up as well as all the couples come together a few years later to continue to celebrate how the mixed-up algorithm actually found their perfect matches.

The Magician and the Mortician by A.E. Wasp – 4* and a simply brilliant opener. I adored this second chance (after loss) love at first sight romance between the older Alberto & younger Mikey. I would love to read more of these two, the ending is ridiculously sweet!

The Professional Gamer and the Paranormal Photographer by Alison Hendricks – 2.5* This was a good set up, the pacing was working well, the uniqueness of their respective professions was a good contrast and then it just ended. Without any kind of a conclusion or even a vague impression their relationship would continue.

The Assassin and the Dog Walker by Charlie Cochet – 3* This would have been better as a novella of around 35k words, lots of plotting but a bit of an abrupt ending and also a side plot which was thrown in about the assassin’s ex-boyfriend and his brother!

The Criminal and the Sommelier by Chris Owen – 2.5* Different, a bit snobby (deliberately I suspect), amusing as the beginning of a full length story but not really complete enough. Also absolutely zilch steam.

The Superhero and the NSA Agent by Hailey Turner – 3.5* It’s no secret I’m a Hailey Turner fangirl so I was looking forward to this one and it was cute. I liked the twist on the “superhero” aspect and it’s quite a different tone than her Metahumans Series.

The Tattoo Artist and the Writer by Lily Morton – 5* Okay as a Yorkshire girl this friends to lovers set in York with a flyby visit to the hidden gem that is Staithes was my absolute favourite! Full of witty banter as expected from this author.

The Baker and the SEAL by May Archer – 4* Loved this one with the ex Navy SEAL and his insane family wedding drama, funny meet/cute and misunderstanding turned into a really sweet romance with a brilliant ending.

The Uber Driver and the Sex Phone Operator by Lucy Lennox – 4.5* Smoking hot and brilliantly done and very definitely the sexiest of all the short stories. Travis and Azrael might have burned up the sheets, but there was also lots of emotional chemistry and this was (for me) the most complete of all the couples’ stories.

The Event Planner and the Electrician by Poppy Dennison – 3* Another age gap romance, this was also a lovely opposites attract and it had me smiling a lot. Although Theo’s boss Danielle was a tad cliched, I loved Harvey’s unassuming way and how everyone in the small town was somehow connected to each other!

The Lawyer and the Lobsterman by Ruthie Luhnow – 3.5* Okay this was shaping up to be the absolute best with biting wit, a stuffy lawyer slowly unbending and an unashamedly out there sports mascot – and then it just ended! Without anything. No indication of a HFN or where they were going next, more like the start of a story than a complete short.

The Florist and the Lawyer by Sloane Kennedy – 4.5* lovely, no angst, a lawyer I just wanted to hug because of all his hurts/idiosyncrasies and a florist who was loud and proud but quietly searching for the lifetime commitment. Also hot, as to be expected from Sloane Kennedy!

All the proceeds from the sale of this M/M romance anthology will benefit the following LGBTQ+ charities: The Trevor Project, Bisexual Resource Centre, and one-n-ten.

View all my reviews

Blog & Review Tour: In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray

Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/WildLemonGroves
Length: 55,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Tiferet Design

 Blurb

 

A telltale knock on a quiet winter night is a sound no husband wants to hear.

Sébastien Osaki has spent the past three years surviving the loss of his beloved Henry. When Seb lands in Amalfi, Italy, for their would-have-been tenth-anniversary trip, he’s haunted by the memory of the man he loved. Following Henry’s notebook leads him to some breathtaking coastal views but also right back to his despair. Seb’s there to get his groove back, not let the past wrong-foot him at every turn.

Enter Andrea Sorrentino, chauffeur, part-time pet whisperer, a Bernini statue in a soccer tee and tight shorts. From the moment Andrea picks Seb up from the airport, he knows just how to soothe Seb’s case of the sulks. But Seb isn’t sure he’s ready for Mr. Right Now, let alone a potential Mr. Right, in a part of the world where all roads lead back to Henry.

Can sun, sea, and eating your weight in pasta mend a tragedy-stricken heart? Will wine-soaked Amalfi nights and long walks through lemon groves work their magic on Seb’s wounded soul? Or will he slink back into the shell of his grief once his grand Italian adventure is over?

 Excerpt
 

Scent of sea and palm,

Craggy and ancient, a world

Bathed in saffron

– #17, In Blue Solitudes, S. Wilson-Osaki

“A. S’okay.” Bleary eyed and bone weary, Sébastien stared at the sign for two minutes before it registered. He kept his distance, glanced around the bushel of sun-ripened cab drivers and chauffeurs waiting to squeeze every last euro out of their charges, but no.

This was him. Smile so bright it blinded, like glare off a windshield. Footballer’s frame decked in team colors and too-tight shorts. Face Bernini could have sculpted. Hair black as an oil slick, greased into a neat, perfect slope. His tortoiseshell eyes twinkled in Seb’s direction when he took a cautious step forward.


Signor S’okay?”

“Osaki. Yes.”

“Ah, Osokay.”

“Osaki. O-sak-i. Japanese.”

“You fly from Japan?”

“No. Canada. Montreal.”

“Si, si, Signor Osaki. Sebastiano.”

Seb opened his mouth to correct him but nodded instead. “That’s me.”

“Andrea Sorrentino.” He thumped a hand on his chest. “You want I take your bag?”

“Uh…”

Before he could decide, the driver clacked down the handle on his extra-fee-heavy suitcase and hefted it under his arm like an unruly toddler. “Vieni, vieni.” He dove into the crowd before Seb could get his bearings.

Spotting the clean line to the exit, Seb set his own pace, his tipsy head still mired in a post-flight fugue. Thirty-two sleepless hours, plus a morning spent tracing and retracing his path through the labyrinthine halls of the Rome airport to make his connection, left him listless. With exhaustion but also nerves. What had he been thinking, shipping off to a country he’d never been to and where he didn’t speak the language?

The answer, of course, was Henry. Who should have been there, propping him up with his rock climber’s arms, but also with his wonderment, the kid-in-a-candy store way he’d seen the world. Henry had puffed all his energy and excitement and fire into Seb’s lead balloon and—in his latest impossible feat—made him fly.

Clutching his backpack like a life preserver, Seb practiced his deep breathing as he waded through the stream of travellers. More of a trickle, really, now that he was in the flow. One foot in front of the other, he reminded himself, looking for a focal point. A taut jean-clad ass, with a carefree swagger all its own, lured him the rest of the way. Seb staggered out of the airport terminal…

… into a whole new world. The hazy afternoon sun swaddled him like a warm blanket. Ripe with the scent of palm trees and petrol, the parking lot was more social gathering than frantic hub, with drivers chatting, smoking, and laughing as they waited for clueless travellers to wander by. Stoic mountains—silent sentries at the gate to paradise—shadowed the horizon, rings of mist crowning their crater heads.

Woozy with relief, Seb lowered his lids to half-mast and basked in the moment. This was Henry’s world. He was safe.

A hulking black SUV screeched to a halt in front of him, blocking the view. Before Seb could decide whether to be terrified or outraged, his driver slid open the side door, beckoning him into his luxury air-conditioned chariot. Too polite to give in to the urge to collapse across the seats and zonk out, Seb stumbled into the nearest chair. His hands shook as he fought with the seat belt.

Something about that fateful click brought the reality back home—he was trapped in a jet-fuelled coffin with a man who could barely pronounce his name, soon to be zipping down a highway where speed limits weren’t even guidelines, thousands of miles from home, by a world-famous volcano that once scorched everything for miles—

Hand on his knee. There was a hand on his knee.

Signor Osakay? You want I get you espresso? Water? Food? Is no trouble.”

“No.” Seb shut his eyes, sucked in all the air he could. “I… I’m just tired. Didn’t sleep on the plane.” When he opened them again, he met soft eyes shimmering with kindness. His exhalation came easy. So did his smile. What was his name again? Andrea Sorrentino. A gentle name, full of music.

Granita al limone. Un momento.” A squeeze to Seb’s knee, and he hopped out the door.

February 8 – The Novel Approach

February 9 – Booklove

February 10 – Gay Book Reviews

February 12 – MM Good Book Reviews

February 13 – Hearts On Fire Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

February 14 – My Fiction Nook

February 16 – Love Bytes Reviews

February 17 – Open Mind For A Different View

February 19 – Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Sarandipity Book Reviews

 

Author Bio

Selina Kray is the nom de plume of an author and English editor. Professionally she has covered all the artsy-fartsy bases, having worked in a bookstore, at a cinema, in children’s television, and in television distribution, up to her latest incarnation as a subtitle editor and grammar nerd (though she may have always been a grammar nerd). A self-proclaimed geek and pop culture junkie who sometimes manages to pry herself away from the review sites and gossip blogs to write fiction of her own, she is a voracious consumer of art with both a capital and lowercase A.

Selina’s aim is to write genre-spanning romances with intricate plots, complex characters, and lots of heart. Whether she has achieved this goal is for you, gentle readers, to decide. At present she is hard at work on future novels at home in Montreal, Quebec, with her wee corgi serving as both foot warmer and in-house critic.

If you’re interested in receiving Selina’s newsletter and being the first to know when new books are released, plus getting sneak peeks at upcoming novels, please sign up at her website: www.selinakray.net

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Book Blitz: A Life of Shadows by Kristen Banet

A Life Of Shadows
Kristen Banet
(The Redemption Saga, #1)
Publication date: February 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Supernatural, Thriller, Urban Fantasy

Sawyer Matthews knows how to put one foot in front of the other, to keep moving while the nightmares haunt her, and her own failures taunt her. She’s become a master at doing awful things with good intentions, terrible things for the sake of those who need her. She’s long given up on being the hero, trying to find peace in no longer being the villain.

When her past comes back and she finds herself caught by the International Magi Police Organization, she’ll have to revisit her own personal hells and finally confront the very monster that made her what she is. The very monster that has already killed her once before.

Will the “dead” Magi assassin Shadow finally come out of the dark to begin a fight for a redemption she doesn’t believe she deserves? Or will her nightmares drag her back into the shadows that have defined her life?

*This is an Urban Fantasy reverse harem series of full length novels where the leading lady doesn’t have to choose from her romantic interests. This series will have M/M content.

These books are rated for mature audiences, 18+ due to violence, language, and sexual themes.

This series deals with several triggering topics including, but not limited to, suicide, child abuse, rape, and PTSD.*

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Kristen Banet has a Diet Coke problem and smokes too much. She curses like a sailor (though, she used to be one, so she uses that as an excuse) and finds that many people don’t know how to handle that. She loves to read, and before finally sitting to try her hand at writing, she had your normal kind of work history. From tattoo parlors, to the U.S. Navy, and freelance illustration, she’s stumbled through her adult years and somehow, is still kicking.

She loves to read books that make people cry. She likes to write books that make people cry (and she wants to hear about it). She’s a firm believer that nothing and no one in this world is perfect, and she enjoys exploring those imperfections—trying to make the characters seem real on the page and not just in her head.

She might just be crazy, though. Her characters think so, but this can’t be confirmed.

Check out her social media to catch what’s going on in the worlds inside her head. She drops teasers, new covers, and opens ARC reader slots through her Facebook group, The Banet Pride.

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Book Blitz: Just Say (Hell) No by Rosalind James

Marko Sendoa isn’t a beach man. He’s not an Auckland man. He’s a hard man.

Born Basque, raised in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, and bred on hard work, discipline, and getting the job done.

It’s not easy for a rugby flanker to make it to age 32 at the top of his game, but he’s done it.

Next year is the Rugby Union World Cup, and he’ll do whatever it takes to be on the field in the black jersey when the anthems are sung.

He doesn’t need a kitten.

He doesn’t need a pregnant cousin.

He definitely doesn’t need a too-short, distractingly curvy, totally unimpressed Maori barista and part-time pet portraitist who fills his house and his life with too much color, too much chaos, and too many secrets.

He’s getting them anyway.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Ahead of him, the girl looked tense. The running was new, probably. Felt too hard. That had to be it, considering the speed she was going. He caught up and said, “Excuse me.”

She whirled on him so fast, he started running backward out of habit.

“I have Mace!” she announced, all but baring her teeth.

Oh. She’d heard him coming up behind her. He blinked, realized he was still jogging backward, stopped, and said, “Uh . . . no, you don’t. But no worries. You don’t need it.” There wasn’t room to conceal more than a car key in that kit she was wearing. A flippy little zebra-print skirt,and a black sports bra that dipped low enough in front to show some cleavage. She was a curvy little thing and no mistake. Not that he was looking. She was advancing on him like the stroppiest terrier in the litter, and despite her aggression, he could see the fear underneath.

First the pub, and now this. He didn’t scare women. He was careful. He put up both palms and said again, “No worries.”

She seemed taken aback for an instant, but recovered fast. “I’m not worried,” she said. “But maybe you should be, eh.”

A hint of a Maori accent there. He considered explaining that he liked blondes, but she opened her hand, and bloody hell, but she did have a tiny metal canister laced between her fingers, together with her keys. An older couple was coming toward them with a Golden Retriever on a leash, and Marko had a sudden flash of his photo in another newspaper. Staggering around, tears streaming from his eyes, Maced on a bush track after attacking a jogger. That would be a good look.

Brilliant.

Author Bio:

Rosalind James writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense published both by Montlake Romance and independently. Her stories are set in New Zealand, Idaho, California, New York . . . really, anyplace that seems cool.

(Research trips, especially those involving lots of rugby, are a bonus.) Her books are available in ebook, paperback, and audio formats. Rosalind is a former marketing executive who spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries. She attributes her rapid success to the fact that “Lots of people would like to escape to New Zealand! I know I did!”

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