March Book Of The Month!

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Contest open one week! Closes on May 3rd, Winners announced May 4, 2017!  Just Comment below here on blog to have your name entered for a $10 Gift Card to Amazon or Nook or iTunes!

 

*Not affiliated in any way with Amazon or Barnes and Noble or iTunes

Arranged by Lexi Blake

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arrangedKash Kamdar is the king of a peaceful but powerful island nation. As Loa Mali’s sovereign, he is always in control, the final authority. Until his mother uses an ancient law to force her son into marriage. His prospective queen is a buttoned-up intellectual, nothing like Kash’s usual party girl. Still, from the moment of their forced engagement, he can’t stop thinking about her.

Dayita Samar comes from one of Loa Mali’s most respected families. The Oxford-educated scientist has dedicated her life to her country’s future. But under her staid and calm exterior, Day hides a few sexy secrets of her own. She is willing to marry her king, but also agrees that they can circumvent the law. Just because they’re married doesn’t mean they have to change their lives. It certainly doesn’t mean they have to fall in love.

After one wild weekend in Dallas, Kash discovers his bride-to-be is more than she seems. Engulfed in a changing world, Kash finds exciting new possibilities for himself. Could Day help him find respite from the crushing responsibility he’s carried all his life? This fairy tale could have a happy ending, if only they can escape Kash’s past…

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First, I would just like to say I’m a huge fan of Lexi’s and a huge fan of the Masters and Mercenaries series. I sincerely hope Lexi doesn’t get upset, but not so much a fan of this book.

The writing, as always, is brilliant, but after the beginning, when we see Kash and Dayita as two college kids at Oxford, the two characters take a decidedly different course. Kash becomes a spoiled brat who parties and sleeps with prostitutes, and Day becomes…Mistress Day. And right there is about where you lost me in the plot.

I am not a fan of books with dommes, especially if I haven’t known them throughout a series. I pretty much will skip books in a series where the female is the dominant. I just found Day to be too bossy, too arrogant, and trying too hard to prove she wore the pants in the kingdom. It was cool seeing the other members of Ian’s team inserted here and there trying to keep the royals from Moa Laui safe, but not enough to make me truly happy. I shall just have to wait for the next book.

3starreview

 

 

Amazon | Amazon Print

 

 

“Are we a happy couple?”

“I don’t think we’ve had time enough to be sure of that yet, but I know we were once.” She’d thought it through in a way she never had before. She had a much different view of those months with Kash in England. “You were courting me back then, weren’t you? You wanted me to be your girlfriend.”

He sat down in the plush chair that dominated the sitting area portion of his bedroom. Normally they stayed in the living room, but he’d wanted more privacy. This was the only place in his suite that wasn’t covered by CCTV, the only place where they could truly be alone. Everything about the space was masculine and decadent, including the man himself. With his hair disheveled and his chest on display, it wasn’t hard at all to see him as a primal male.

One she’d dearly enjoy taming.

“I don’t think you realized it at the time.”

She was willing to admit her faults. “I didn’t. I had my nose in a book most of the time back then and I had little experience with men. No, I had no idea you were interested in me beyond copying my notes from class when you slept in.”

“It would surprise you to know that I often thought about sleeping in with you.” His voice had gone low and gentle. “I was crazy about you back then, Day. I find myself in the same position today, but I don’t want to scare you. I know you think we should take this slow and I will honor your wishes, but I want this marriage to work. You see me as a playboy, but I don’t want to be some forty-plus player who trades on his money to keep young girls around him. I think it might be time for me to find out if I can be the king my father would have wanted me to be.”

It was all she needed to hear. If he wanted to try, she was ready. Despite his reputation, she’d fallen right back into a peaceful friendship with him. He’d been the old Kash, supporting her when she needed it. He’d asked her questions about her work with the education department and then gave her ideas on how to handle the parliament. He hadn’t told her what she should do. He’d suggested, debated.

“I think you’ll find me less averse to giving this marriage a real try than you think. I was planning on talking to you about using the Palm Ceremony to begin to explore what we could be as a couple.”

He frowned. “I’m not sure what that means. You want to talk? Or have counseling? Because that sounds terrible.”

“I was talking about sex, Kashmir. I thought we could use this time to see if we’re sexually compatible.”

He popped up out of his chair like an eager puppy. “Yes. I think that is a brilliant idea. We should start now. Don’t worry. I intend to be gentle with you.”

She didn’t move at all. “Like you are with your lovely flowers?”

“Women deserve a man’s care,” he said quietly. “Day, I can’t erase my past.”

“I don’t want you to.” He misunderstood her problems with his statement. “But I do need you to understand that I’m not one of those flowers. I’m not here to sit at your side and bat my eyelashes in the hopes that you’ll buy something for me. I don’t work like that. I don’t care about your money.”

“That is easy for you to say. You’re about to have access to all of it, aren’t you?”

He had a point. “Even if I wasn’t, that wouldn’t be why I would want you, Kash. Sit down. We have some things to talk about before we get started. Come here close to me.”

He moved to the chaise she was sitting on, lowering himself down with a sullen frown. “I knew there would be talking.”

She was fairly certain his lovely flowers did very little talking, but he would get used to it. “Why did you want me back then?”

“I liked you. I liked talking to you. I liked being around you. I rather liked who I was when I was around you.” His expression softened. “I don’t think you knew how alluring you were to someone like me. You didn’t understand how beautiful you were, so you didn’t use it against me. Most women do.”

“Well, that happens when you surround yourself with women who are mostly valued for their looks. I don’t blame them. They’ve been told their beauty is the only thing worthy about them. If you want to meet women who don’t feel that way, you should probably expand out of models and actresses.”

“Well, you would be surprised how many gorgeous, sexy physicists turn me down because I’m not smart enough for them.”

 

 

 

 

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Owned By The Alpha Anthologies

Alpha

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The Alpha lives for the hunt…

Driven by instinct, an Alpha shifter recognizes his fated mate from one scent, one touch. He’ll pursue his woman, regardless of the cost, and anyone else would be smart to get out of his way. He won’t stop until he takes possession of his prize.

Although the hunter doesn’t need convincing, his mate certainly does. The Alpha will have to prove himself as a lover and convince his woman that he plays for keeps.

Scent of Destiny by Rose Wulf

Taken Mate by Sam Crescent

Finders Keepers by Stacey Espino

The Hunt by Doris O’Connor

Alpha at Altitude by Lily Harlem

Fated to the Razorback Demon by Maia Dylan

Running Home by Michelle Graham

Alpha’s Sunshine by Elyzabeth M. VaLey

Checkmate by Wren Michaels

Frozen Heart by Beth D. Carter

Wolf Hunter by Elena Kincaid

Returning to the Coyote by Roberta Winchester

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Evernight Publishing has put out two anthologies with the same theme and that is being taken by an Alpha male. A shifter in most cases, (I did not read the M/M version so I can only speak for the F/M version) But in both books they managed to snag some truly incredible authors.

To say that Evernight has a plethora of talent in their stables is an understatement at best, just the talent in the 12 author anthology I read alone proves it. Some of my favorite authors were in this anthology, Doris O’Connor, Sam Crescent, Lily Harlem, Maia Dylan and Elena Kincaid. Incidentally, their stories also stood out in this amazing anthology.

I also enjoyed the rest, especially Stacey Espino andElyzabeth M. VaLey’s contributions. My absolute favorite though, would be The Hunt by Doris O’Connor. Raphael is a wolf shifter who finds his mate in a doe shifter named Aubrey. He saves her but finds out mating is not always easy, especially when a rival is involved. My runner-up story is Taken Mate by Sam Crescent about a wolf shifter who after abducting his mate, just can’t quite get the courting part right.

All in all, every story in this book is a hit and deserves 5 Stars!

5starreview

Amazon/Evernight/Nook/iTunes

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 A Tiger’s Luck by Maia Dylan

Last Alpha Standing by James Cox

Mooncrest by Jules Dixon

His Guardian Panther by Elena Kincaid

The Scarf by L.J. Longo

A Matter of Trust by Pelaam

Conflict of Interest by L.D. Blakeley

Amazon/Evernight/Nook/iTunes

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Dangerous Interference by BJ Wane

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DANGEROUS INTERFERENCE

 

BJ Wane

 

Genre: Erotic Romance, Suspense, Spanking, Menage
Publisher: Stormy Night Publications
Publication Date: January 6, 2017

 

Blurb:

After her sister goes missing, Alena Malloy travels to Blue Springs, Maine—her sister’s last known location—to track her down. As she begins her search, however, Alena’s efforts quickly bring her into conflict with Randy Janzen, the local sheriff, and Nash Osbourne, a Scotland Yard detective involved in the case due to its similarity with a recent disappearance in the UK.

 

Randy and Nash make it quite clear to Alena they expect her to avoid interfering with their work, and when she defies them one time too many she earns herself a painful, embarrassing spanking. The humiliating punishment ignites a powerful desire in Alena, and despite her sore backside she finds herself yearning to be mastered more thoroughly.

 

The two stern, handsome lawmen agree to share Alena, and soon enough she is begging for more. But when Alena’s continued meddling in the investigation puts her life in grave danger, will Randy and Nash be able to protect her?

 

Publisher’s Note: Dangerous Interference includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.
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 Dangerous Interference is a more suspenseful book coming from BJ, but with the same juicy, kinky, spankalicious sex we’ve come to know and love from her. And as great as I think her writing is, I swear it only gets better every time!

Alaina is a forensic police photographer with the NYPD looking for her missing sister. Her search brings her to Blue Springs, Maine. And Alaina Malloy just wants to find her troubled sister and leave the sleepy, backwoods town and get back to the hustle and bustle of busy New York.

But, she hadn’t counted on their sheriff, Randy Jenzen, or his friend, a Scotland Yard detective, Noah Osbourne, to show up every time she tries to investigate. Neither of them want her to compromise the case, especially when Noah’s involvement is supposed to be a secret, and one of Randy’s best friends may know what happened. So they show Alaina what happens when she doesn’t listen. Soon, incidents start to happen, and Alaina just may be in the line of fire. Can her two, strong, dominants keep her safe?

You’ll most definitely want to check this book out! The sex scenes were hot! The suspense was explosive! BJ Wane has arrived!

 
5 Sexy, Spankadelic Stars!

 

Excerpt:

“Am I going to have to put a tail on you for the rest of your stay, Alena?” And by that he meant either he or Nash keeping close tabs on her.

Wanting a little payback, she presented him with a soft smile and drawled with feigned innocence, “Why, whatever do you mean, Sheriff?” Laying a small bite of roll on her tongue, she took her time licking her two fingers before releasing a low, “Mmmmm,” from deep in her throat.

“Bugger it.” This time it was Nash’s turn to swear and Randy sent him a quick look of commiseration before scowling at her again, not that he thought his fiercest glare would do any good. He knew Nash, just like him, was picturing that same satisfaction reflected on her face as he, or they, brought her to climax.

“You keep it up, you’ll force me to up the consequences for your interference. Which would you prefer, my belt or a night or two in my jail?”

Okay, that just wasn’t right. Her body’s instant reaction of a gush of moisture between her legs to that threat was as unnerving as standing too close to the edge of a cliff, a cliff she’d been maintaining a precarious balance on since first setting eyes on those two. Both men made her look twice, which said something; the fact they each made her fantasize and want, made her ache, screamed it. She was in trouble.

DANGEROUS INTERFERENCE is an awesome erotic suspense that kept me engaged from beginning to end. Well-written with excellent characterization, some of the hottest menage scenes I’ve ever read interlaced with emotional drama, Ms. Wane has penned yet another keeper. A definite must-read!
– Bethany, Goodreads Reviewer

 

You’ll most definitely want to check this book out! The sex scenes were hot! The suspense was explosive! BJ Wane has arrived!
– KnottyGirlReviews, Goodreads Reviewer
(See I told You! *grins*)

 

 

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Giveaway

 

WIN

 

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Be the lucky winner of a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

 

Contest runs from April 24 – May 6, 2017.

 

 

What do you get when you combine excellent writing with great characters, a suspenseful plot and hot menage erotica? Dangerous Interference!
– Dani, Goodreads Reviewer

 

About BJ Wane

 

I live in the Midwest with my husband and our two dogs. I love dogs, enjoy spending time with my daughter, babysitting dogs and kids, reading and working puzzles. We have traveled extensively throughout the states, Canada and just once overseas, but I much prefer being homebody. I worked for a while writing articles for a local magazine but soon found my interest in writing for myself peaking. My first book was strictly spanking erotica, but I slowly evolved to writing erotic romance with an emphasis on spanking. My favorite genre to read is Romantic Suspense.

 

Email: bjwane@cox.net

 

Official website: http://bjwane.blogspot.com/

 

Social media link: Facebook

 

 

Tour Schedule

 

Follow the book tour from April 24 – May 6, 2017.

 

Get sneak peaks, excerpts, fun facts and other never-before-published info and tidbits on Dangerous Interference.

 

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Unfinished Night (The Complete Duet) by Violet Duke

 

Title: Unfinished Night: The Complete Duet
Series: Unfinished Love #1-2
Author: Violet Duke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 24, 2017

 

Blurb
THE COMPLETE USA TODAY BESTSELLING DUET 

 

Love, sacrifice, and the lengths one will run–and
chase–when their past threatens their future. This bundled box set contains
both books in Caine & Addison’s bestselling duet (Bk 1: Before That Night
and Bk 2: Every Night Without You).
Purchase Links
99c sale for a limited time!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Before That Night
Before that night,
Addison Milan had been just a college dropout secretly raising her two young
siblings in a beat-up minivan she’d bought with her first semester’s tuition
refund–the only money her addict mother hadn’t taken off with when she’d
abandoned them nearly two years ago.
Before that night, Caine Spencer had been just a rough, gruff cop sent to check
out the phoned-in claims of suspected child neglect involving the same woman
he’d met just months prior when she’d first served him the city’s worst diner
coffee…which he’d been drinking daily ever since.

Before that night, Addison would never have thought the man she’d been fighting
hard not to fall for–her only friend in her new shadow of a life–would be in
a position to rip her family apart.

Before that night, Caine would never have believed any woman could make him
fall head over heels, let alone make him feel so damn compelled to look the
other way when it came to his job.

Then that one perfect night changed everything.

 


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS

DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME

 

Every Night Without You

Seven years. 


Seven damn years of wondering whether the woman was still alive…whether she’d spent the last two thousand five hundred fifty-five days wondering if he was still alive.

Wondering whether that night was as burned into her memory as it was his.

Seven years having his heart tethered to Addison―and now she’s back. With even more reasons to run than she’d had then.

Only this time, Caine isn’t letting the gorgeous little flight risk out of his sight.

Regardless of how noble her reasons may be. 

“Violet Duke is my go-to read when I just want to immerse myself in a captivating romance.” – NYT bestselling author J.S. Cooper 

EVERY NIGHT WITHOUT YOU (Bk 2 of 2) takes place seven years after BEFORE THAT NIGHT (Bk 1 of 2), and is the conclusion of Caine & Addison’s story of love, sacrifice, and the lengths one will run―and chase―when their past threatens their future.


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

 

Author Bio
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Violet Duke is a former English Ed professor ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing emotion-rich stories with fun, everyday characters and sweet, sexy match-ups. Since her acclaimed debut series in 2013, over a million readers have put Violet’s “laugh & cry” contemporary romances on the USA Today bestseller list sixteen times, the NYT bestseller list three times, and the Top 10 charts across the major eretailers both in the U.S. and internationally.When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, Violet enjoys the live-out-loud-in-your-PJs sorta lifestyle she loves writing about, which involves lots of: 1) excuses to use her power tools, 2) doing stuff without checking the directions, and 3) impossible-to-be-duplicated ‘special edition’ dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. Born and raised in Hawai’i, Violet continues to live the no-shoes island way with her kids (daughter Violet & son Duke) and husband (aka their ringleader…and her most devoted fan).

Author Links

Love My Pain by Sam Crescent

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Blurb:

Edward Banner is so out of his depth, and he knows it. Falling for a waitress that is younger than he is was one thing. Falling for a woman who self-harms? That is another thing altogether. He doesn’t understand it. But he can’t bear to see it happen, and there’s no turning back. 

Isabel Benson has not lived a great life. Abandoned by her parents from a young age, she was the one who raised her little sister. When the pressures of life got too much, she found one solution to get herself through, the only thing she could ever control, cutting. It’s hers alone. Her little secret—until Edward catches her. 

He wants her to stop, but she doesn’t know if she can. There is no easy way to help. But he’s not walking away like so many people have in her life. He’s not going to stop loving her, and he’s not going to stop being there. 

Can Isabel find the strength to see that she doesn’t need to hurt herself anymore? Will Edward stay true to his word, and stay by her side? 

Be Warned: spanking

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Sam Crescent is one of my faves, but this time she’s decided to tackle a subject a bit more on the serious side, cutting. After reading Love My Pain, I think Sam did a great job with it. I was a little miffed with Edward in the beginning for leaving Isabel alone when she was chained up in the dungeon, since that’s just a huge no-no, otherwise, Edward was a terrific character who handled everything well.

Isabel Benson cuts herself on occasion to feel. She’s had a rough childhood where her parents made her feel awful, that is, when they bothered to be around. They left her to raise her sister Sophie.

Edward is a bit older than Isabel, but he’s determined to help her with her problem. He’s also just a friend. But he’s also attracted to Isabel. When Isabel finally admits what she wants and needs, Edward may just have a change of heart that will heal them both.

I enjoyed this book immensely, and even though it’s part of a series, it is a stand alone.

5 Dark and Domalicious Stars

5starreview

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Excerpt:

Was it possible for Edward to fall in love with her? She already knew her feelings for him. She loved him, knew without a doubt that she did. Her feelings when it came to him had been building from that very first time he walked into the diner.

She had been captivated by him, and now, she wanted to be everything he needed.

It had been nearly two weeks since he had taken her kit from her, and she hadn’t felt the need for it. There was no weekly ritual in her life for the kit. It wasn’t like she set a day every week, and then stuck to it.

The only time she had used it was when she couldn’t stand not to. The longest she had been without hurting herself was three months. Three months she could handle. Two weeks were a piece of cake.

Cleaning the dishes, she felt Edward close beside her. He stood, drying up the dishes that she washed.

The cut on her thigh was all healed up, and she didn’t know how to tell him.

Her body was on fire for him. She wanted him so badly. Her dreams at night were getting hotter.

With no release, she was finding it hard to concentrate on anything else. His hands looked so big, and she wondered what they would be like on her body, touching her. Her imagination was running riot right now.

“My legs are fine,” she said, blurting the words out, and cringing as she finished.

“I’m sorry?”

“My leg. It’s fine. No more damage.” She had still covered it with tape just in case. She didn’t want to risk the scab opening up and bleeding.

Handing him the final plate, she cleaned the sink up and washed her hands.

“Show me,” he said.

Staring at him, and around the kitchen, she licked her dry lips. She wasn’t nervous about showing him her healed leg. No, she was more nervous about him discovering the truth of her arousal. She was wet. Even her panties were wet.

Grow up. You’re twenty-five for God’s sake. Get your shit together.

Unbuttoning her jeans, she lowered the zipper and wriggled the jeans down to her knees. The shirt she wore covered her thighs, so she lifted it up. All she wanted to do was cover up. Most of her old scars were faded, some of them just silvery strips similar to wounds made in surgery. Only hers were not perfect.

She had never gone too deep, or hurt herself to the point that she needed to go to the hospital for stitches. As with all things in her life, she had been careful.

Holding her shirt at the apex of her thighs, she was praying that he didn’t notice her wet panties, or the scent of her arousal.

Isabel truly believed that she could smell herself. Edward knelt down, and she watched him as he removed the Band-Aid from her thigh. The scab was nice and clean. For as long as she could, she kept it exposed so the scab would form quickly. She had even opted for some skirts to help with the process, only long skirts though, down to her ankles, hiding everything.

“Remove your jeans,” he said.

Hidden Prey by Cheyenne McCrey

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Blurb:

Danger

Tori Cox, a talented and sought-after musician, heads back to her roots to a small southwest town in Arizona as she flees an abusive relationship. When she arrives she witnesses the execution of a federal agent by the head of the Jimenez Cartel. The drug cartel kingpin orders his men to kill Tori before she can testify.

Desire

Landon Walker, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, rescues Tori from members of one of the most ruthless cartels in the world. He sets out to protect her, but soon protecting her isn’t enough. The fire between them makes him want her in a way that he’s never wanted another woman, despite his wounded heart.

Death

Diego Montego Jimenez will do everything in his power to kill Tori, the young American woman, who threatens his business and family. No one lives to testify against the Jimenez Cartel.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and sexual assault.

Publisher’s Note: This book has been previously released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Totally Bound Publishing.

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Hidden Prey is the first in a new series by Cheyenne McCrey about a circle of friends and the spine-tingling suspense they all go through while finding love. I have to say that this kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time and there was no way I put this book down. I’m guessing you won’t either.

Landon Walker lost his fiancée 14 years ago and still blames himself. He works as a federal agent and likes his job. He’s visiting family when a woman comes running out of nowhere, terrified, with someone chasing her. He decides to help.

Tori Cox is a musician on the run from an abusive ex. But she sees something she shouldn’t and becomes a target. Landon saves her, but while on the run, secrets and lies could mean danger, especially for Tori.

An action packed, sexy love story that you’ll just suck up! A wonderful beginning to this series, and I can’t wait for the rest!

5 Sexy Suspenseful Stars!

5starreview

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Excerpt:

The nightmare had been so damned real. Landon Walker sat on the edge of his bed, his eyes bleary and his head aching like a mother. He had to stop trying to find peace at the bottom of a bottle of Jack D, because it only made him feel like hell the next morning. Didn’t matter what he did, because he didn’t think he’d ever have peace again.

His dream had replayed every last detail of that night when a hit-and-run drunk driver had sideswiped Landon’s motorcycle, sending Stacy flying and pinning him beneath the wreckage. A helmet and protective gear hadn’t been enough to save her. After he’d managed to get out from beneath the motorcycle, he’d crawled to her, dragging his shattered leg. He could still feel her broken body in his arms.

He ran his hand down his face, the stubble and scar along one cheekbone rough against his callused palm. Fourteen months to the day Stacy had died in the accident, an accident that had been his fault.

Would he ever stop marking time by the date of his fiancée’s death?

He turned his head to look at the alarm clock and winced from the pain the sudden movement caused. Damn. He’d be late if he didn’t get his ass out of bed. He didn’t work some punch-the-clock forty-hour workweek. But Mondays still sucked.

Early Monday mornings he used to play basketball with a bunch of guys who were in law enforcement. On Friday nights, those who weren’t working usually played poker. But after the accident, Landon had pulled away from everything but his job. He still worked out—sometimes excessively—in the fitness room in his home. Not only to stay fit but because the strenuous activity burned off excess anger at himself and sometimes at the world.

With his head still aching, he stepped under ice-cold water in the shower in an attempt to wake up. He braced his hand against the smooth white tiles, his head lowered, goosebumps prickling his skin when he let the water flow over him. He kept the water cold as he washed his hair and soaped his body. When he’d finished, he shut off the water and shook his head, droplets flying before he toweled himself off.

The cold shower had done its job and he felt marginally better by the time he pushed open the shower stall’s glass door. He might just make it through today after all. Last month had been the first month he hadn’t taken flowers to Stacy’s grave. For the first year, he’d visited once a month on the date of her death, but after a year, he’d made the decision to move on to save his sanity. Damned if he knew how.

After he’d dressed in jeans and a faded blue T-shirt, he jammed his Colt .45 into its holster on his belt. He slipped on a white overshirt to cover his weapon then stood in his kitchen and wolfed down a breakfast of toast and scrambled eggs. He stuck the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and headed out.

A light morning breeze slid over his skin when he climbed into his charcoal-gray Ford Explorer. He stuffed his key into the ignition and started the vehicle. He headed down the dirt road leaving his ranch and continued onto the paved road that would take him to Douglas.

He had just enough time to make it to the office and take care of a few things prior to heading to Bisbee to meet with his man who’d been working deep undercover. He’d make the twenty-five-mile drive from his ranch in Sulfur Springs Valley to Douglas and to DHS’s ICE office in twenty minutes.

Landon had served as a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency for eleven years now and had given himself completely to his career since Stacy’s death. He’d always been married to the job and he regretted not being there for Stacy more. Now he lived and breathed his work. What the hell else did he have? The job would take his soul one day and he didn’t plan to fight it.

At the office, he spent some time going over aspects of the case he’d been working for months. The Jimenez Cartel’s tentacles reached far from Mexico, into Arizona. When they chopped off one arm, another grew to replace it. The cartel had to be cut off at its head. No other way would stop or even slow the activities of the organization that dealt in drugs, death, destruction.

They had to get to Diego Montego Jimenez, known as El Demonio to everyone around him. The Demon. The nickname for the bastard fit him like a glove.

Landon headed out of the office in the early afternoon. On his way out, he saw Dylan Curtis, another DHS special agent and one of Landon’s good friends. At six-three, Dylan stood a good two inches taller than Landon. He wore a Stetson over his dark hair and his ice-blue eyes were appraising as always.

Dylan paused in front of the entrance. Landon stopped too. “When are you going to join the boys for basketball again?” Dylan mimed going up for a shot. “Had some good games this morning. You need to show up and get your ass back in it.”

Landon shrugged. He probably should—one more step toward returning to his life as it had been before.

“This leg isn’t what it used to be.” Landon rubbed his leg that had been shattered in the accident.

“Who gives a shit?” Dylan questioned. “Monday mornings, same time, same place as it’s always been. Bring the bum leg.”

Landon nodded. “I just might be there next Monday.”

“You’d better or I’m gonna kick your ass.” Dylan hooked his thumbs in his belt loops. “And don’t forget poker this Friday night. It’s time you rejoined the living and you might as well go all in.”

Landon shook his head. “Maybe.”

“Maybe, my ass.” Dylan switched subjects as he asked, “On your way to meet Miguel?”

“Yep.” Landon nodded. “Any news on the delivery?”

“I’m hoping Miguel can give you a concrete time.” Dylan frowned. “All I have is what you do—it’s tomorrow, but no time or location.”

“I’m sure Miguel has it for us.” Landon reached for the door handle. “I’ll call you as soon as I get intel from him.”

Dylan gave a nod. “Tell the bastard hello for me.”

“Will do.” Landon pushed open the door and walked into the sunny afternoon toward his SUV before heading to Bisbee, a once-booming town nestled in the Mule Mountains.

His thoughts drifted like the occasional puffs of cottony clouds scattered across the brilliant blue summer sky. The grass along Highway 80 waved in the stiff breeze as he drove by. An unusual amount of rain had made everything greener than usual.

Once he reached the east-side town limits, he guided his vehicle around what the locals had called the traffic circle for decades. The roundabout let him out onto the road that took him on to Old Bisbee after he passed the Lavender Pit and the Copper Queen Mine. He headed to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church to meet with Miguel.

A replica of a church in Ireland, St. Pat’s had perched two hundred feet above the floor of Tombstone Canyon for nearly a century. Stained glass windows and marble filled the towering terracotta building. Beneath the soaring ceilings, Jesus Christ on the cross peered down on the congregation, as did the statues of the Virgin Mary and St. Patrick behind the altar.

The icons seemed to look down on him, judging him for his absence from the Church and for his abandonment of God. Hell, God had abandoned both him and Stacy when He’d let her die.

The cool, dim interior of the church smelled of incense and candlewax. The heavy double doors closed behind him as he passed the shallow well of holy water. He did not dip his fingers in the water or make the sign of the cross. He slid into the second to last pew in the back on the far right, so he could see the doors by turning his head slightly.

A tiny woman in black, wearing a white lace mantilla, kneeled in one pew, and an older man leaned against the back of the bench seat in another. The old man’s head tilted up so he could stare at the effigy of Christ. The man had a broken look about him, as if this church served as the only solace he would find in this world.

Landon mentally shook his head. Raised Catholic, he had pushed away from the Church once he’d gotten to see what a cruel world it could be. How could a good and just God allow evil men to kill or abuse women and children? Or to force them to serve as sex slaves? How had He allowed someone as sweet and good as Stacy to die as she had? Landon would have given his own life for hers.

Clenching his teeth, he took in the padded wood kneeler at his feet. The kneeler, currently in its upright position, would be lowered by parishioners to kneel on during service or while praying when they came into the church to worship.

For one wild moment he thought about getting down on his own knees and praying to a God he didn’t think he believed in any longer. He blew out a breath and ran his finger along a hymnal in the wooden rack in front of him. No, his days of praying were long gone.

He pulled himself out of his thoughts and concentrated on the moment. He checked the time on his cell phone and saw he had arrived a few minutes early. He hoped Miguel wouldn’t be late. A devout Catholic, Miguel liked to meet at St. Pat’s where he felt closer to God.

Sometimes, as Landon left, Miguel would head to the confessionals at the front right. Landon had worked undercover many times and had been forced to commit sins he wished could be absolved by confessing to a priest.

Landon let his gaze drift over the almost empty pews, noting everything. From the moment he’d arrived, he’d been keenly aware of his surroundings and the double doors behind him. He didn’t like having his back to the doors, even though he could casually glance in that direction with his side vision. But if he wasn’t safe inside St. Pat’s, he didn’t know where he would be.

The old man got up from his seat and went to the front of the church, to the left of the altar, and lit one candle among rows of little red jarred candles. Some were lit but most were dark. Landon stared at the flickering candlelight for a moment, remembering himself as just a little boy. In the church he’d grown up in, he’d lit a candle and prayed to God with all he had to save his grandfather who’d been dying from cancer. The first disappointment of many to come, by a God who never seemed to answer his prayers.

The old man stood in front of the candles for a long moment before turning and walking beneath an archway between the walls and thick marble columns. Out of the corner of his eye, Landon watched the man leave, a large swathe of sunlight spilling into the church as he pushed one of the doors open. Then the heavy door eased back into place, leaving it dim again.

Landon checked his cell phone. Late. Miguel, normally punctual to the minute, had yet to arrive. Landon didn’t let his mind wander beyond his objective. If he did, he’d spend time dwelling on things that couldn’t be changed.

Time passed and Landon’s gut tightened. Even though Miguel hadn’t made it yet, Landon knew he shouldn’t be concerned. After all, he’d forged his way deep into the Jimenez Cartel. When El Demonio said, “Jump”, Miguel didn’t ask how high. He did what he had to do to remain embedded in the organization.

Landon’s phone vibrated a couple of times and he read the two short text messages then returned his phone to its holster on his belt. His mother, asking if he would be able to make it for Sunday dinner. One of his sisters, telling him not to let their mother down and to show up on Sundays more often.

He blew out his breath. His family had been pushing him for the past year to make it to get-togethers. He’d drawn away once Stacy had died. Maybe he’d grieved long enough. Knowing he should let go of the past and move on didn’t mean it would be easy.

Basketball and Sunday dinners would be a start.

Two more parishioners came in and out of the sanctum. The woman in the mantilla hadn’t moved since Landon had entered the church. She kept her head bowed in prayer and her white lace mantilla shadowed her face.

More time passed and the two parishioners who had come in thirty minutes prior lit candles before leaving. Landon checked his cell phone yet again and saw he’d been waiting for nearly an hour. The woman in the mantilla and Landon were now the only people left in the church.

Frowning, he got up from his pew and made his way outside, blinking when he walked into the late-afternoon sunlight. He stood at the top of the steps that went down on either side of him.

The fact that Miguel hadn’t shown up wasn’t anything to be too concerned about. Any number of things could have come up. Miguel wouldn’t call or text anyone at DHS, to ensure nothing could be found to tie him to law enforcement.

A hand with a vise-like grip clamped around Landon’s left wrist.

He went for his Colt instinctively as he pivoted before stopping abruptly.

It was the tiny veiled woman who had been in the church since he’d arrived.

He released his grip on the butt of his handgun and left it in its holster. How the hell had she snuck up on him?

The stooped, elderly Hispanic woman pushed the mantilla away from her cheeks and his gaze met small dark eyes nearly lost in a sea of wrinkles. She looked well over a hundred years old, older than his grandmother. Her face reminded him of a withered apple, but her eyes were bright and knowing.

“You will die if you tell her the truth. If you don’t tell her, she will die.” The woman spoke in a low, tremulous voice, in broken English, with a heavy Hispanic accent.

Despite the fact that he didn’t believe in crap like premonitions, chills rolled over Landon’s skin and he broke out in goosebumps for the second time that morning. He tried to jerk his arm away from the woman’s grip but she wouldn’t let him go and he didn’t want to inadvertently hurt her.

“Remember my words.” She released his arm and turned away.

While remaining completely aware of his surroundings, he watched her as she held on to the handrail and slowly walked down the steps. Her words echoed in his head no matter how he tried to force them out.

‘You will die if you tell her the truth. If you don’t tell her, she will die.’

He shook his head and a natural-born instinct to help the elderly had him realizing he should be helping the old woman down the stairs. But she’d already reached the last step when he came to his senses.

In a town where most houses were built on mountainsides, Landon wondered how someone so old and frail could navigate her way around the steep inclines that could give San Francisco a run for its money.

A black Mercedes pulled up in front of the church, answering his question. A newer model vehicle, it had dark-tinted windows and looked as if the owner had washed and waxed it this morning. A Hispanic man of about thirty, wearing a bright white button-up shirt and dark slacks, climbed out of the driver’s side and held the back passenger-side door open. He assisted the elderly woman as she slid into the vehicle and closed the door behind her.

The Mercedes was out of place in the small town of Bisbee, Arizona—Landon had never seen a vehicle matching it any of the times he’d been in town. He wondered who the woman was and if she owned the over-seventy-thousand-dollar car in a place where some houses could be bought for close to the same price.

He mentally noted the license plate number and jogged down the steps, heading to his Explorer. When he reached the vehicle, he climbed in and grabbed the electronic tablet he used for work, pulled up the app he needed, then put the plate number into the database.

The car was registered to a Juanita Salcido at an address farther up Tombstone Canyon. He saved the data. Maybe he didn’t need to, but the whole experience had been odd enough that he intended to hold on to the information.

He set down the tablet as he thought about Miguel. Likely he’d been held up, the situation being one where the agent didn’t have the ability or freedom to call without compromising himself and his cover.

A gut-deep sensation twisted Landon’s insides and he gritted his teeth. Like a blow to the solar plexus, a bad feeling struck him hard.

A real bad feeling.

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