Flesh and Blood Cover & Chapter Reveal @RayneCynthia @EJBookPromos

Title: Flesh and Blood
Series: A Dixie Mafia Novel #1
Author: Cynthia Rayne
Genre: Mafia Romance
Release: Spring 2016
Sometimes it takes a bad guy to catch a killer…

Annabelle Nunn is a desperate woman. Someone’s following her, watching her. To make matters worse, she was fired six months ago and hasn’t been able to get a job since. Annabelle’s down to her last ten dollars and thirty-three cents and has no idea how she’ll make the rent when she’s abducted by Dixon Wolf’s henchman. Annabelle’s estranged father borrowed money from the Dixie Mafia for his latest get rich quick scheme and…big surprise…he skipped town, leaving her holding the proverbial bag.

Dixon Wolfe is a loan shark and launders dirty Dixie Mafia money. Since his wife died ten years ago, he’s devoted all his time and energy to the organization. And being bad pays pretty damn good. Until he meets Annabelle. Suddenly, his priorities shift and his icy heart is starting to thaw. 

Dix makes Annabelle a job offer her empty wallet won’t allow her to refuse – Mob Mistress. But working for a mobster is dangerous. Doubly so, when a hitman is hot on her tail and she doesn’t know why. Can Dix catch the killer? And will Dix and Anabelle have a real relationship, one that isn’t based on sex and commerce?
Chapter One

 

Crimson Creek, TX

 

 


 

“Come on, twenty more yards, you can do it, baby. Don’t quit on me now.”

 

 


 

Annabelle Nunn coaxed her aging blue Ford pickup further down Crimson Creek Drive. Crimson Creek was a small town in northern Texas. It was named for the meandering creek in town filled with jagged red volcanic rocks. Belle thought when the creek was high and water flowed over all those scarlet stones, it looked like blood.

 

 


 

“Come on, sweetie. Just a few more feet,” she purred at the steering wheel.

 

 


 

Most days she spoke to the vehicle like a lover, as though her sweet talk could somehow keep it on the road. Maybe it did. So far, it’d kept her up and running…well, chugging along, anyway.

 

 


 

She glanced at the gas gauge which hovered over the red “danger zone” area. She needed Big Blue to make it a bit further into the Lickety Split parking lot, a local gas station and convenience mart.

 

 


 

Belle had moved to the Creek after accepting a job offer from Catherine’s House, a domestic violence shelter in town. They’d come to her college campus recruiting for two new counselors and she’d snagged the third shift position a couple of years ago. She’d minored in women’s studies while she pursued a psych major. Then got her master’s degree in community counseling. Working with domestic violence survivors had been very rewarding.

 

 


 

Until she’d been fired.

 

 


 

Sure enough, Big Blue lumbered into the parking lot and she parked next to gas pump. Next came a humiliating pat down of her pockets as she scrounged for spare change like she’d done as a kid and she’d wanted to buy a candy bar at the store. Anabelle even upended her red purse and picked up the stray change that’d sunk to the bottom. Altogether, she had four dollars and thirty-six cents.

 

 


 

Belle vaulted out of the truck and slunk inside with a palm full of coins. The stores colors were red and white, with a dash of blue. Texas state flag colors. Inside, they had a row of antique gas pumps for decoration and kept an old steel cooler in the front, stocked full of Dr. Pepper and Coke. It had a quaint fifties feel to it.

 

 


 

Lickety Split had a couple shelves full of snack food and other useful items like cold medicine and motor oil. Things a traveler might need. Along with a wall of refrigerators full of drinks and dips. There was also some convenience foods wrinkled red wieners impaled on spikes and Cheetos-orange cheese flecked with red, ready to squirt on tortilla chips.

 

 


 

Normally she’d have turned up her nose at that kind of junk, but it made her stomach rumble. Belle only had a half empty container of peanut butter in the cupboard at home, along with a half-eaten sleeve of saltines. At this minute, she only had ten dollars and thirty-three cents to her name. Not counting the change in her palm.

 

 


 

She handed the coins to the pimply teenager at the cash register with a sheepish smile. “Pump number two,” she said. A man in a flannel shirt stood behind her and from the corner of her eye, she saw him check his wristwatch and let out a breezy sigh.

 

 


 

The cashier rolled his eyes and counted off the change as he plunked it down on the counter. The kid wore a red uniform speckled with Texas stars in white and blue. According to the badge clipped to the lanyard around his neck, his name was Mike.

 

 


 

Tamping down on any vestiges of pride she had left, she asked Mike for the unthinkable. “Do you have any job applications?” After four years of college, three years of graduate school, and a hefty sixty-five thousand dollars in student loan debt, she would take a job working for minimum wage.

 

 


 

But it would keep the wolf from her door.

 

 


 

She’d reached the end of the line. If she didn’t get a job in the next few days, she’d be up shit creek without a paddle, as her father used to say. And now wasn’t the time get picky either. She’d wasted six months pursuing a job in her field and hadn’t gotten past a first interview.

 

 


 

“Uh, yeah.” He finished counting the change and tossed it in the cash register as it opened with a ding! He grabbed one from a clipboard and tossed it to her. And then he looked at Flannel Shirt behind her. “Can I help you, sir?”

 

 


 

Belle scurried out the door and pumped her gas. As she carefully watched the numbers change, she caught sight of a man two lanes over pumping gas into a brand spanking new black F-150. He wasn’t looking at her. But something about him bothered her all the same. Had he been watching her, just before she glanced over? He wore a weathered Carharts jacket, a trucker hat with the brim pulled low over his eyes, a pair of blue jeans, and muddy work boots.

 

 


 

He seemed to be any other blue collar worker, stopping at the Lickety Split on his way home from a construction site or an oil field. Yet, something was different about him. Belle could feel it. Sense it. She couldn’t see his eye or hair color. The only distinguishable feature was a scruffy blond beard which obscured the lower half of his face.

 

 


 

The gas pump stopped and she shook her head to clear it. Or maybe she’d finally lost it. All the months of job hunting and worry had taken its toll on her. Apparently, she was now paranoid in addition to being desperate. Goody.

 

 


 

When Belle pulled out of the gas station, she couldn’t help but glance in the rearview mirror. The creepy man had vanished. Seemingly into thin hair.

 

 


 

***

 

 


 

As soon as she got in the door, her long-haired tuxedo cat, Quaxo, ran toward her at a gallop. She scooped him up and petted him. He closed his blue eyes in hopeless pleasure and started to purr. If only it were so easy to make her that happy.

 

 


 

She’d named Quaxo after a lyric in the musical, CATS. Belle had been a choir kid in high school and loved Broadway shows and show tunes. She’d listen to the music again and again until she memorized the entire catalog of songs.

 

 


 

Belle slumped down on her secondhand couch and snuggled the cat for comfort. She petted him, relishing his affection. There was something calming about stroking a cat – the soft fur, the low rumbling purr. Right now, he was the only good thing in her life.

 

 


 

How sad was that?

 

 


 

Belle had a one bedroom apartment on the first floor at Blackwood Apartment Homes. It wasn’t much to look at. The space had a seventies feel to it with the popcorn ceilings and burnt orange closet doors. She’d gotten all of her furniture from the Goodwill, so it was a little shabby.

 

 


 

There was another complex in town, Magnolia Arms, but the rent was a couple hundred a month higher and she couldn’t afford it on her tiny social services salary. There was also a rumor going around town that the Arms was owned by the Dixie Mafia.

 

 


 

They had a foothold in Crimson Creek. Why criminals would choose tiny little Crimson Creek for the base of their operation was a topic of much debate among townies. Belle thought the mob probably liked the lack of scrutiny a small town afforded them. The town only had a sheriff and a part-time deputy. From what she saw, the two men spent most of their time ticketing people for speeding.

 

 


 

After a few minutes, Quaxo wiggled out of her grasp and trotted over to his food bowl in the kitchen. He meowed loudly until she filled his stainless steel bowl. She only had a half bag full of kitty kibble left. Last week, she’d run out of the wet food she gave him every morning and he never let her forget it either–yowling his complaints as she stumbled out of bed each day.

 

 


 

Belle washed her hands and pulled six saltines from the package of crackers. She placed them carefully on a paper plate. Then, slathered three of them with peanut butter before topping them with the other crackers, creating peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.

 

 


 

She’d had a couple this morning, too, before her interview with Aransas County Behavioral Health. The interview had only lasted twenty minutes…which wasn’t a terrible sign. Actually, none of the interviews she’d had over the past few months had gone well. Belle wondered if her former employers had blackballed her. What if she’d never be able to get another job in mental health in the state of Texas?

 

 


 

That was a sobering thought.

 

 


 

She didn’t have any money left in her savings account to search for a job out of state. So, she put on big girl panties, munched on a peanut butter cracker, and filled out a Lickety Split job application.

 

 


 

And she’d worry about how to live on minimum wage later.

 

 


 

***

 

 


 

A couple hours later, Belle laid in bed and stared at the ceiling. Quaxo curled up beside her, soundly asleep now that he had a full belly. It was only seven o’clock, but she’d gotten rid of her satellite television a couple months ago as a way to save money. She had books to read, but that’d require using lights. Belle tried not to turn them on once it got dark. Yep, things had gotten that frugal.

 

 


 

Somehow, she’d ended up starring in her very own version of the musical, Rent. Without the hunky co-stars and the peppy dance numbers. With a sigh, she curled up with Quaxo and eventually drifted off to sleep.

 

 


 

Suddenly, there was a loud banging at the door.

 

 


 

Belle sat straight up in bed, blinking as she glanced around her. Quaxo leapt off the bed and scurried beneath it. She wished she could crawl under there with him. Grabbing a ratty robe from the bedpost, she slogged into the living room. She wondered if it could be creepy bearded guy from the convenience store. God, she hoped not.

 

 


 

Peering through the peephole, she saw two men standing outside her door. Neither of them had a beard, so they couldn’t be Trucker Hat from the Lickety Split.

 

 


 

That was good news, at least.

 

 


 

But Belle didn’t recognize them and they looked…intense. The younger man had a leather jacket and she spied a bulge beneath his arm? A gun-shaped bulge. He kept shooting glances at the parking lot behind him. Was he looking for witnesses?

 

 


 

The older man in a suit seemed relaxed, confident. And implacable. While she had no idea why they’d come rapping at her door, it was a safe bet they weren’t here for something innocuous like selling Girl Scout cookies.

 

 


 

Her rent was up to date, for this month anyway. And last time she checked, MasterCard didn’t send men in expensive suits when customers stopped making payments.

 

 


 

So what gives?

 

 


 

Holding her breath, she slowly tiptoed away from the door. The older man leaned against the door, at least she thought it was him. Suity seemed to be the boss. “We can hear you in there, Ms. Nunn. I suggest you open this door. Now. While you still have a choice in the matter.”

 

 


 

Oh God. He knew her name?! How? Belle had never done anything bad in her entire life. Surely nothing that’d been bring what she suspected were two bad guys to her door in the middle of the night.

 

 


 

Her heartbeat picked up, pounding in her chest and her palms began to itch. She wanted to get out of here, but the two of them stood in front of her truck outside. And she wouldn’t get far on foot.

 

 


 

Belle mentally counted down from ten, centering herself. All of her years of counselor training had taught her to remain calm and collected in a crisis situation. This was no different. Only this time, she was the one having a crisis.

 

 


 

“What do you want?” At least her voice didn’t shake when she said it.

 

 


 

“We want to talk to you. Open this door.”

 

 


 

“Who sent you?”

 

 


 

“Dixon Wolf. He has a couple of questions for you.”

 

 


 

Dixon Wolf. She’d heard the name. He was a local business man rumored to be connected with the mafia. In fact, he owned Magnolia Arms and had a huge mansion/compound on the edge of town. What could he possibly want with her?

 

 


 

And here she’d thought her life couldn’t possibly get any worse than it was already. She should know better by the now. The world was a dangerous place and had a way of keeping the hits on coming.

 

 


 

She slipped the chain on the door in place and opened it a scant inch or two to study the older man in the suit. He was tall and broad-shouldered with blond hair and big blue eyes, along with a cocky grin. Belle put his age around mid-thirties judging by the slight lines around his eyes and mouth.

 

 


 

“Well, hello there, Ms. Nunn. Good to finally put a face with a name. What little of you I can see, that is. ” He smirked after he said the name as if he found it amusing. Not that he was first guy to do that. She’d had quite a reputation in school as being a goody two shoes.

 

 


 

“Who are you?”

 

 


 

“I’m Byron Beauregard and my silent partner over there is Rebel Jackson.”

 

 


 

“What does Mr. Wolf want with me?”

 

 


 

“You’ll have to ask him that.” And then his Southern gentlemen manners disappeared. “I don’t have all night. Open up.”

 

 


 

Belle shook her head.

 

 


 

Just like that, his friendly blue eyed gaze turned crisp and clear. Like ice. “If you don’t open this door, I’ll plant my foot in the middle of it and snap that chain like it’s a piece of spaghetti and you’ll come with me anyway.”

 

 


 

She gasped. “I’ll call the police.”

 

 


 

“Go right ahead and while you’re at it, tell the sheriff I said hello. Frank and I had lunch just the other day.”

 

 


 

Good God. She was right, the Dixie Mafia had the police in their pocket.

 

 


 

In other words, she was alone in this. Screaming for help was the only other option. Belle lived between an elderly man and a woman raising two little girls by herself. They wouldn’t be much help against two possibly armed men.

 

 


 

Why, oh why hadn’t she bought herself a gun for protection? Everyone else in Texas had one. Hopefully, she’d still be alive to recriminate later.

 

 


 

Belle opened the door.

Cynthia Rayne is the author of the Amazon best-selling Four Horsemen MC series. Her first erotic book was written when she was thirteen. Of course, the most risqué scene involved kissing, but it was the talk of her middle school! She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education and writes whenever she can. In her spare time, she enjoys dating, shopping, reading way too many romance novels, and drinking a truly obscene amount of coffee.

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Four Horsemen MC Novel Double Cover Reveal @RayneCynthia @sara_rayne @EJBookPromos

 
DOUBLE COVER REVEAL
Title: Hell or High Water
Series: A Four Horsemen MC Novel Book 8
Author: Sara Rayne

Voodoo is comfortable being the solitary King of Hades Hotel and Diner and the newly minted VP of the Four Horsemen Motorcycle Club. An old lady just isn’t part of his equation. While he wants Lex—badly—a biker with a criminal past is last thing she needs. He’d reached above his station before and been punished. Hurricane Katrina had washed away everything and everyone he cherished when the levees broke. He couldn’t forget the lesson he’d been taught any more than he could allow Lex to be part of the Underworld he serves. But when she needs him most, can he turn her away?  
Lex’s parents were able to agree on exactly one thing after their divorce—that Lex should have no part of the Four Horsemen Motorcycle Club. But Captain’s blood runs through her veins and a part of her longs for the freedom the Outlaw MC life offers. When a campus tragedy sends her reeling, she escapes to Hell, Texas and the comfort of her friendship with Voo. But the darker side of her roots isn’t the only thing she’s determined to explore. It’ll take hell and high water to stop her from unleashing the storm that’s been brewing between her and Voodoo.
Title: A Living Hell
Series: A Four Horsemen MC Novel Book 9
Author: Cynthia Rayne

Justice is a dead man. In more ways than one. While he might not have given the last full measure of devotion to his country, he came damn close to it. He might walk and talk a good game, but he’s been dead a long time. Nothing and no one can help him. And every evening, the nightmares take him right back to Afghanistan. The only thing that brings him any satisfaction is a little weed and meting out his specialty…justice on behalf of the Four Horsemen MC.
Etta May is a social worker and she’s seen more than her fair share of pain and heartbreak in this life. She can’t resist helping someone…even if he’s more stubborn than a mule and refuses to admit he needs her. Etta May finds her professional boundaries crumbling when it comes to the wounded biker. Can she bring him back to life?

CYNTHIA RAYNE
Cynthia Rayne is the author of the Amazon best-selling Four Horsemen MC series. Her first erotic book was written when she was thirteen. Of course, the most risqué scene involved kissing, but it was the talk of her middle school! She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education and writes whenever she can. In her spare time, she enjoys dating, shopping, reading way too many romance novels, and drinking a truly obscene amount of coffee.

SARA RAYNE

I am the co-author of the Four Horsemen MC series and the author of the upcoming Riverwalker series. I was born and grew up in Ohio, not far from the real Rogue’s Hollow. The last in a long line of Appalachian story-tellers, I fell in love with tall tales and spooky yarns at a young age. We didn’t have a lot growing up, but my mother encouraged my imagination and taught me to travel through books to places we never could have afforded to visit. I started out writing ghost stories in high school and was the editor of the school’s literary journal. At night, our family would sit on the porch swapping stories and I spent a lot of time memorizing the oral histories of my family tree. My husband and I live in West Texas now.

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For The First Time Anthology Release Blitz

For the First Time

A brand new anthology of original, never-before-read

stories from today’s hottest authors

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Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2015

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Available Now

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About the Book

You never forget your first time…

From young heartbreak to a virginity auction, from the chance meeting to the happily ever after, twenty-one exclusive stories explore first love in all its forms. This set includes almost 200,000 words of steamy encounters and sweet romance.

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Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of For the First Time in exchange for an honest review.

It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to read and review For the First Time. The authors involved in this anthology and the varied stories are absolutely amazing! For this review I didn’t read the entire anthology, but skipped through several stories to get a feel for the totality of the anthology.

Sole by Alessandro Torre

I’ve had a lot of first in the last three years. Today is a new one. First time throwing a three-year-old birthday party, Hollywood Style. Too bad my sexier-than-sin husband is absolutely no help. And Cocky is in the pool. And Ben is having a panic attack. And Justin is feeding my child sugar at every opportunity.

This is past the dirt, and more than just Hollywood. This is our life as Sole.

Sole is a combination of sweet and sweaty in just the right combination. Ms. Torre has a way of mixing the two together and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full length novel, Meet Cole Masterson.

A Lake George Christmas by Debra Presley

Abby is looking forward to spending time with Danny’s family as they settle in to celebrate their first Christmas together. Little does she know, Danny has something up his sleeve for this holiday.

Ms. Presley continues the exceptional writing that she brought us in her debut novel, Finding Us (A Nucci Securities Novel). I’m so happy to see Danny and Abby living their happily-ever-after and look forward to more of the Nucci Securities Series.

Advent by Nina Lane

Liv and Dean face the possibility that their first Christmas together could also be their last.

This is a pretty little piece of a much darker story about Dean and Liv. In Advent they find their happily-ever-for-now. Check in to the full story in AROUSE: Book One by Nina Lane.

The stories in For the First Time such a wonderful mixture and I’ve enjoyed reading every bit of it. I definitely recommend that you pick up your copy today! I give For the First Time four steaming cups of Room With Books coffee.

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©January 12, 2016

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