Love, Lattes and Angel; The Siren’s Dance; and Sweet Last Drop @pumpupyourbook

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Love, Lattes and Angel

by Sandra Cox

Release Date: April 12, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Ebook

About the Book

Some teens go to the Caribbean on spring break. Piper goes to save the world. 

 Piper Dunn isn’t who you would call a normal teenager. For one thing, she doesn’t want anyone to know she was born with a blowhole. Even stranger, she has two love interests. Joel, a fellow dolphin-human hybrid, and Tyler, a human.

It’s hard to choose when a mad scientist is hot on Piper’s trail.

Worse, she’s trapped in the Bermuda Triangle. And . . . wait for it . . . Angel, her test-tube daughter, is apparently a real-deal reincarnation. It all adds up to an impossible situation, with happy endings all but lost at sea. Unless, of course, a voodoo high priestess casts a spell or two . . .

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Meet the Author

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters, and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened-in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast. Readers can find Sandra at, on Facebook, or at Twitter @Sandra_Cox.

For More Information

Visit Sandra’s website.

Connect with Sandra on Twitter.


The Siren’s Dance

by Amber Belldene

Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Ebook
 About the Book

The performance of their lives is about to begin…

Death has transformed former ballerina Anya Truss into a vila–an alluring wind nymph–but her need for revenge has kept her trapped on the riverbank where she was drowned. Now, after fifty years of waiting, she finally has a chance to break free by getting even with her cruel dance instructor, the man who betrayed her and broke her heart. But for her plan to work, she must place her trust in a handsome but unlikely ally.

Straight-laced police investigator Sergey Yuchenko has spent years searching for the father he never knew, and he finally has a solid lead. Problem is, that lead comes in the form of a ghost–a gorgeous but stubborn vila with destructive powers she can’t control. Anya’s graceful beauty awakens a desire in Sergey like he’s never felt before. But when past secrets are brought to light, the lovers will have to face an evil that could tear them apart forever.

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Meet the Author

I grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when I could pull myself away from a book. As a child, I hid my Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on me when I preach these days.

I’m an Episcopal Priest and student of the worlds’ religions. I believe stories are the best way to explore human truths, and I’m passionate about the deep ties between spirituality and sexuality. Some people think it’s strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to me, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire.

I write paranormal, historical and contemporary romance and live with my husband and two children in San Francisco.

My literary agent is the fabulous Becca Stumpf of the Prospect Agency.

For More Information

Visit Amber’s website.

Connect with Amber on Twitter and Facebook




 Sweet Last Drop

by Melody Johnson

Release Date: April 26, 2016

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Format: Ebook


About the Book

Trust No One

Cassidy DiRocco knows the dark side intimately—as a crime reporter in New York City, she sees it every day. But since she discovered that she’s a night blood, her power and potential has led the dark right to her doorway. With her brother missing and no one remembering he exists, she makes a deal with Dominic Lysander, the fascinating master vampire of New York, to find him.

Dominic needs the help of Bex, another master vampire, to keep peace in the city, so he sends Cassidy to a remote, woodsy town upstate to convince her—assuming she survives long enough. A series of vicious “animal attacks” after dark tells Cassidy there’s more to Bex and her coven than anyone’s saying. That goes double for fellow night blood Ian Walker, the tall, blond animal tracker who’s supposed to be her ally. Walker may be hot-blooded and hard-bodied, but he’s hiding something too. If Cassidy wants the truth, she’ll have to squeeze it out herself… every last drop.

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Meet the Author

Melody Johnson is the author of the gritty, urban fantasy Night Blood series set in New York City. The first installment, The City Beneath, was a finalist in several Romance Writers of America contests, including the “Cleveland Rocks” and “Fool For Love” contests.

Melody graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology. While still earning her degree, she worked as an editing intern for Wahida Clark Presents Publishing. She was a copyeditor for several novels, including Cheetah by Missy Jackson; Trust No Man II by Cash; and Karma with a Vengeance by Tash Hawthorne.

When she isn’t working or writing, Melody can be found hiking the many woodsy trails in her Pennsylvania hometown or sunning and swimming at the beach.

For More Information

Visit Melody’s website.

Connect with Melody on Facebook and Twitter


Tour Schedule

Monday, April 25 – Books featured at Harmonious Publicity
Tuesday, April 26 – Books featured at Kristy Centeno
Wednesday, April 27 – Books featured at Room With Books
Thursday, April 28 – Books featured at Quest For More
Friday, April 29 – Books featured at 3 Partners in Shopping
Monday, May 2 – Books featured at Rhi Reading
Tuesday, May 3 – Books featured at E-Romance News
Wednesday, May 4 – Love, Lattes and Angel and The Siren’s Dance reviewed at Recipe Fairy
Thursday, May 5 – Love, Lattes and Angel featured at I Smell Sheep
Friday, May 6 – Books featured at Voodoo Princess
Monday, May 9 – Books featured at A Title Wave
Tuesday, May 10 – Books featured at The Review From Here
Wednesday, May 11 – Books featured at The Noise Beneath the Apple
Thursday, May 12 – Love, Lattes and Angel and The Siren’s Dance reviewed at Us Girls and a Book
Friday, May 13 – Books featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Love, Lattes and Angel and The Siren’s Dance reviewed at Live Love Books Blog
Siren’s Dance reviewed at Pink Fluffy Hearts

An Eye For An Eye Book Tour @ldbeyer @pumpupyourbook

An Eye for an Eye

by L.D. Beyer

Release Date: January 15, 2016
Publisher: Old Stone Mill Publishing
Genre: Military
Format: Ebook/Paperback



A powerful drug lord threatens to bring America to its knees.
Only one man can stop him.

Two years ago, Secret Service Agent Matthew Richter faced the most difficult decision of his life, knowing that by saving the former, the latter would die. In the aftermath, he fled Washington and the agency that failed him. With wounds he’s certain will never heal, he seeks refuge behind a gun as the commander of an FBI SWAT team in New York. After a raid turns sour and Richter is sidelined, possibly for good, he is reluctantly drawn back to Washington by the man he once saved.

When drug cartels threaten to topple the Mexican government and the violence begins to spill across the border, Richter tells President David Kendall it’s time to take off the gloves. One by one, cartel warehouses and tunnels are raided and their drug caches destroyed. One by one, their sprawling compounds and bank accounts are seized. One by one, drug lords are targeted and killed. One by one—all except, that is, for Pablo Guerrero, the ruthless head of the Sangre Negras cartel, who has only grown stronger as others have fallen.

When the hunt for Guerrero finally draws first blood, he unleashes a war no one is prepared for. Now Richter must stop him before it’s too late.

An Eye For An Eye is the action-packed sequel to In Sheep’s Clothing, L.D. Beyer’s gripping debut novel.

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Meet the Author:

L.D. Beyer spent over twenty-five years in the corporate world, climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. This meant a lot of time away from his family, extensive travel, a half dozen relocations, and the opportunity to live and work in Mexico for several years. In 2011 he decided it was time for a change—he was tired of moving every few years, he wanted to spend more time with his family and he wanted to chase his dream of being a writer. LD Beyer is an avid reader and although he primarily reads Thrillers, his reading list is somewhat eclectic. He believes a few hours with a good book beats a few hours in front of the TV any day. LD Beyer lives in Michigan with his wife, three children and a dog named Tope (pronounced Toe-Pay), which he adopted in Mexico. He enjoys cooking, hiking, biking, working out and fixing just about anything that breaks in the house. With 3 kids, a dog and an aging house, he always seems to be fixing something!

For More Information

Visit L.D.s website.

Connect with L.D. on Twitter and Facebook 


Tour Schedule

 Monday, April 18 – Book featured at Literal Exposure
Tuesday, April 19 – Guest blogging at Mythical Books
Wednesday, April 20 – Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, April 21 – Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords
Friday, April 22 – Interviewed at Room with Books
Monday, April 25 – Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Tuesday, April 26 – Interviewed at The Literary Nook
Wednesday, April 27 – Guest blogging at A Title Wave
Thursday, April 28 – Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Friday, April 29 – Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Monday, May 2 – Interviewed at Harmonious Publicity
Tuesday, May 3 – Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight
Wednesday, May 4 – Book featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic
Thursday, May 5 – Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Friday, May 6 – Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Monday, May 9 – Guest blogging at Voodoo Princess
Tuesday, May 10 – Book featured at CBY Book Club
Wednesday, May 11 – Book featured at Celticlady’s Reviews
Thursday, May 12 – Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Interviewed at Whispering Stories
Friday, May 13 – Book reviewed at Us Girls and a Book

To Win Her Heart, Dreaming August And Pass Interference Book Tour @MacCrowne @desireeholt @pumpupyourbook

To Win Her Heart, Dreaming August And Pass Interference Virtual Book Tour


Dreaming August et al Book Banner


Inside the Book

To Win Her Heart

Title: To Win Her Heart

Author: Mackenzie Crowne

Release Date: April 12, 2016

Publisher: Lyrical Shine

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Ebook


In order to protect her, they’ll both have to let their guards down…

Country music’s It Girl Jessi Tucker is fed up with her family’s stifling security measures. The threat of a dangerous stalker has gotten the men in her life—including her football star cousin, Tuck Tucker—monitoring her every move. To get the freedom she yearns for, Jessi hatches a plan to recruit Max Grayson, Tuck’s sexy brawler best friend, to play the role of her new boyfriend. But if her scheme works, will she be forced to hide her true romantic feelings for the sake of her independence? Or will she finally steal the heart of her dream man?…

Max has been pining for Jessi for years and would do anything to protect her, but a professional cage fighter with too many skeletons in his closet has no business being with one of America’s sweethearts. Yet while Max does his best to keep Jessi at arm’s length, the Tucker family persuades him to accept her offer.

Max believes he can keep Jessi safe from danger, but can he shelter her from his own dark secrets, the media’s unforgiving spotlight—and a mutual desire that’s harder to resist each day…


Meet the Author

Wife, mother and really young grandmother, Mackenzie Crowne shares her home with her high school sweetheart husband, a neurotic Pomeranian, and a blind cat. She calls Arizona home because the southwest feeds her soul. Her love of the romance genre has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened her resolve to see her stories shared with others. Today, she’s a seven-year survivor, living the dream. Her friends call her Mac. She hopes you will too.


Inside the Book

Dreaming August

Title: Dreaming August

Author: Terri-Lynne Defino

Release Date: April 12, 2016

Publisher: Lyrical Shine

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Ebook


Welcome to Bitterly, Connecticut, hometown of one wistful widow with a very big secret….

She should have been off-limits. After all, Benedetta “Benny” Grady is his best friend’s widow. But in the space of a whirlwind week, Daniel Greene went from strong shoulder to lean on to Benny’s ardent lover. Now Dan is determined to make Benny his bride. He hasn’t waited this long for love to let it get away so easily. But first, Benny has a few ghosts to contend with…

When Benny finds herself pregnant with Dan’s child, telling him should be easy. After all, she’s fallen hard for the wise-cracking bachelor. But how can she love another while remaining true to her late husband’s memory? Could the past hold the key to their future happiness?


Meet the Author

Author Defino

Writer, cat-wrangler, sparklequeen. My first fantasy novel, Finder, was published by Hadley Rille Books in October, 2010, followed by: A Time Never Lived in 2012, Jingle in 2013, and Beyond the Gate in 2013. October 2015 will see the release of Seeking Carolina (first in The Bitterly Suite) from Lyrical, an imprint of Kensington Publishing, my first step into contemporary romantic fiction.


Inside the Book

Pass Interference

Title: Pass Interference

Author: Desiree Holt

Release Date: April 12, 2016

Publisher: Lyrical Shine

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Ebook


No Rules. No Limits.

Party girl Tyler Gillette has just one rule: no football players. As the daughter of the owner of the San Antonio Hawks, she grew up in the shadow of the sport and her father’s enormous wealth. She was even named Tyler because he wanted a boy. Life couldn’t have drawn up a better play for turning her into a wild child—until that same life is threatened by someone from the past . . .

Former Hawks running back Rafe Ortiz has a few rules of his own. First, no weaknesses. Second, no babysitting spoiled football princesses. But his new career as a bodyguard means he’s responsible for protecting the beautiful Tyler Gillette from her mysterious stalker. But keeping his hands off her might be harder than keeping her safe . . .


Meet the Author

Author Holt

Known to the world as the oldest author of erotic romance, Desiree Holt proves every day that she is more than the sum of her years. She is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, an Authors After Dark Author of the Year and winner of the Holt Medallion. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The London Daily Mail and numerous other national and international publications. She enjoys football and reading and her three cats, who are her constant writing companions.

“Get out the ice water and fan…Desiree Holt delivers smoking hot alpha heroes and red hot romances.” — Lea Franczak, USA Today Happy Ever After blog!/desireeholt



Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 12 – Books featured at Literal Exposure

Wednesday, April 13 – Books featured at Voodoo Princess

Thursday, April 14 – Books featured at Bent Over Bookwords

Friday, April 15 – Books featured at Room With Books


Monday, April 18 – Books featured at The Review From Here

Tuesday, April 19 – Books featured at I’m Shelf-ish

Wednesday, April 20 – Books featured at A Title Wave

Thursday, April 21 – Books featured at Harmonious Publicity

Friday, April 22 – Books featured at Write and Take Flight


Monday, April 25 – Pass Interference reviewed at Becky on Books

Tuesday, April 26 – Books featured at The Literary Nook

Wednesday, April 27 – Books featured at Quest for More

Thursday, April 28 – Books featured at The Dark Phantom

Friday, April 29 – Books featured at My Bookish Pleasures


Monday, May 2 – Books featured at All Inclusive Retort

Tuesday, May 3 – Books featured at A Taste of My Mind

Wednesday, May 4 – Books featured at E-Romance News

Thursday, May 5 – Books featured at Inkslinger’s Opus

Friday, May 6 – Books featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound


Monday, May 9 – Pass Interference reviewed at Reads andReviews

Tuesday, May 10 – Books featured at Deal Sharing Aunt

Wednesday, May 11 – Books featured at The Bookworm Lodge

Thursday, May 12 – Pass Interference featured at Dawn’s Reading Nook

Friday, May 13 – Pass Interference reviewed at Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm



Wingdog Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir Cover Reveal @JustJJWriting @pumpupyourbook

Author: Janelle Jalbert

WINGDOG cover reveal banner

We’re thrilled to be hosting Janelle Jalbert’s WINGDOG: SOUL PUP A MAGICAL MEMOIR Cover Reveal Today!

About the Book

Wingdog 2

Publisher: Synchron8 Publishing
Pages: 359
Genre: Memoir

It’s love at first sight…for both of them. An abandoned yet tenacious pup with one blue eye and one brown eye beats the odds and is enlisted as one woman’s WINGDOG. It’s a role he takes seriously, but he knows that his human needs more than just another set of eyes and ears. He must show her how to laugh and how to love again. His loyalty knows no bounds, and he takes his duties seriously riding shotgun as the pair travel life’s highway.

A dog may be man’s best friend, but the truth is…A WINGDOG is truly a woman’s gift.

For readers who enjoy contemporary canine classics such as MARLEY & ME, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, and A DOG’S PURPOSE, Janelle Jalbert’s ‘Magical Mutt Memoir’ combines the best of these storytelling traditions. Told as a memoir – adhering to how events unfolded – one woman seeks establish a new life after moving across the country from California to North Carolina.

Her chance at a new normal arrives in the form of Goose, a pup that melts not only her heart but also the hearts of everyone that he meets. As they travel coast-to-coast and places in between, the bond that the two share proves that love and loyalty can transcend even the greatest of obstacles.

WINGDOG: SOUL PUP is a heart-warming, emotional – and oftentimes comical – tale of how one pup becomes the consummate WINGDOG only to transform into the ultimate Soul Pup.

For More Information

  • WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir is available at Amazon.


First Date

Yes, I slept with him on our first date. It felt so good to have his warm body against mine. He was gorgeous and sweet as slumber set in, and I couldn’t help but curl up closer. We were already doing our own version of spooning, just hours after meeting. Everything was once again right with the world thanks to his warmth by my side. It was a case of love at first sight that grew deeper in the darkness of the bedroom around us.

I couldn’t help but run my fingers through his fur as his brindled coat rose and fell with deep, sleep-filled breathing. His fur was the perfect texture, not too course but without fluff. The hairs behind his bouncy ears were already my favorite, so silky fine. He sighed as I continued rubbing up and down his side before once more scratching behind his ear. With the ear rubs, he pushed closer into me. His sixteen pound body firmly tucked at my hip.

Ah, I’m home.

I wasn’t sure if it was my thought because it could have easily come from the pup at my side. For the first time in weeks, I began to doze off, peaceful and content. The neighbor problems that plagued my previous weeks faded away with his comforting presence.

Sometimes it does all work out. Bad things can lead to great opportunities.

The stress of moving from California to North Carolina evaporated. The distress that plagued me eased. It was what I’d been craving: a chance to forget and to enjoy life again. It was what my soul needed. I sighed and let go. All was good, at last.

* * *

The day started like most of late when I got sidetracked by my inbox after clicking on the message. A small, brown puppy snuggled face-to-face with a tabby kitten appeared. The expression in the picture wasn’t curiosity. It was more like a big brother protecting a younger sibling. The other picture was of the same puppy looking up at the camera. His brown ears were as big as his head. The look in his eyes was that of questioning intelligence, and only the slightest hint of his blue left eye opposite the brown one showed. He seemed to know it was not simply a picture being taken.

It took less than thirty seconds. I was in love.

Immediately, I hit reply. He’s adorable. I’d love to meet him!

With that, a flurry of emails was exchanged. I rushed out into the silvery, fall day, filled with clouds. I stopped at the ATM before getting on the highway for the trip down to Rock Hill from Charlotte. It felt odd to pull money out to buy a dog. Granted, I rescued pups before, but this felt different. Then, it hit me. There’s something not all together right about exchanging money for a living creature’s spirit, and that thought caught me off guard.

“What’s that all about?” I muttered as I turned down the onramp to Highway 85, heading south. I shook off the feeling with the thought that it helped pay for his care rather than buying him per say.

As I made the transition to the 77 near uptown Charlotte, I started thinking of names for the pup. Angie named him ‘Ace of Spades’ or Ace for ease, but that wasn’t right. I knew that instantly. My dogs have always named themselves. He’ll let me know. I thought, but still names flitted through my mind.

What do I want from all this? That made me laugh. It’s a dog adoption, not a marriage. The truth was already apparent. This was going to be bigger than a simple custody transfer. The anxiety over recent events with neighbors at my apartment complex threatened to rear up again. I needed someone…something…to help watch my back. I wanted a right-hand man…a wingman…or, in this case, a ‘wingdog’.

That’s it! Goose. Like the wingman in Top Gun, he’d be my extra pair of eyes and ears. I loved it immediately and settled on it before remembering that the dog does the choosing.

“Okay, just keep it in mind,” I mumbled as I got off the highway and made a convoluted trip to the apartment. I texted Angie from the parking lot because I couldn’t make sense of the numbers in the complex, so she agreed to bring him down to meet me. I waited in the car for a few minutes, laughing at myself for having a bit of ‘first date’ jitters about meeting a puppy.

They seemed to appear out of nowhere and stopped at the end of the walkway.

I got out, and as soon as I cleared the bumper, he spotted me. It was magic – a connection in an instant – as he leapt towards me despite his leash. His eyes lit up like I’m sure mine did. With a big smile and open arms, I walked up to him at Angie’s side and said hello. He barely reached my kneecap, but his eyes were wide and bright. I dropped to my knee. Given my earlier thoughts about marriage, I chuckled and shook my head to clear the whole proposal analogy from my head. He nuzzled into me immediately and toppled me onto my rear.

Who are YOU? I haven’t seen you before. He did a once over with his nose. Yep, you smell nice. You’re a good one. How ya doin’?

I smiled ear to ear as I situated myself, sitting cross-legged so the little guy could sniff away at will. If that isn’t an enthusiastic yes, I don’t know what is. My heart swelled as his furry little body shivered with excitement. His wild tail matched the leaping in my chest. I looked into his wide, trusting eyes: one brown, the other blue. It was a match. You choose me too! I thought as I wrapped my arms around the brindled bundle showering me in warm wet pup kisses.

“We found him on the highway. He was in bad shape, but we nursed him back to health. He’s been dewormed too.”

He sat listening to the conversation like he would chime in at any time, sneaking glances at me as Angie debriefed me about his circumstances.

How could someone be so evil to such an adorable boy?

“Several people have come to look at him, but the brindle coloring gives the impression of a pit bull.” Angie sighed. “He’s incredibly friendly, but the people who’ve come to see him have scared him as well as my husband and me. It’s like he knows they’re not right. My husband and I figured they were looking for fighting dogs, or even bait dogs, when they start asking about his bloodlines.”

A chill traveled down my spine at the thought of people looking to sacrifice a loving creature for a blood sport.

Angie continued, “That’s why we’ve been saying that he’s a Jack Russell mix. We’re not sure though, and we can’t keep him anyway.” Angie went on to explain about their impending move as Goose scanned the yard of the apartment complex.

Hold on. His name isn’t Goose yet. I thought as my mind and heart made the leap. He gets a vote. Remember?

“He’s big into sticks,” Angie stated as she reached up into the branches of a small, almost bare tree near us and broke off a branch for Goose. He immediately plopped down to tackle his new toy. “I was going to name him Lucky, but that’s too common. So, I thought that the Ace of Spades is a lucky card. That’s how he got his name.”

I noticed that he wasn’t too fond of the name either, since he didn’t even twitch when he heard her say it. Good boy! You’re definitely a smart one. I thought. I could tell Angie was stalling a bit with her continued chatting.

“He’s still damp. I was cleaning the bird cage in the bathtub, and he jumped right in too. He loves water.”

“Perfect! I’m a surfer girl who needs to be around water all the time.” I said with a laugh and smile. “Yeah, I know Charlotte’s not near the ocean, but we’ll be at the lake a lot.” I felt like I was selling myself to win favor.

“He loves going for rides too. My husband has to take him every time he goes to the store or wherever.”

“That works out perfectly too. Though I am teaching online classes fulltime, I’m a bit of a road warrior right now with a side gig as a motorsports reporter. That’s what brought me to NC. We’ll be going to California in a couple of weeks for the Phoenix race, Thanksgiving, and Champ Week. He’ll get the ride of his puppy life.”

Angie’s shoulders slumped as we transferred his things to the car, and I handed Angie a hundred dollars for both the pup and all of her supplies. There wasn’t much: a used cat collar, a small leash, some food and a bowl, but it was a start. The supermarket dog food was going to be replaced immediately.

You’ll be eating way better than that. I vowed silently. I could tell that Angie was both happy and sad. I passed the test. He was going to a good home, but it meant that he was leaving her.

Whether it was Angie’s demeanor or plain puppy energy, he grew restless, starting to explore the yard as much as he could while still on a leash. After Angie ran out of things to chit-chat about, I opened the passenger’s side door and cradled him in my arms. His warmth traveled to my core as the soft bundle of brown, black and white fur rested close to my heart. A sigh escaped as I held him to my chest before placing him on the seat.

Shotgun! He perked up and sniffed the interior, which was already filling with the smell of kibble.

His investigation stopped abruptly and he stared at Angie and me. He knew something was different. This wasn’t a casual, meet-someone-on-a-walk encounter anymore. It was a strange new car. He looked at Angie. Thank you. I’m happy. She’s a good one.

Angie sighed.“Bye, Ace. You’re a good boy.”

He seemed to smile as he stretched, puffing out his puppy chest. Then he got distracted by the straw to my iced coffee. He was at ease, and inside of two hours, I became a pup mom. Life wasn’t going to be the same again.

About the Author

Janelle Jalbert

Janelle Jalbert had two light bulb moments at the age of 10. One involved teaching. She began teaching her stuffed animals daily lessons after school. The other was the result of an obsession with reading. Just like her dad, Janelle loved to plow through books like any child racing to the presents under a tree on Christmas morning. Her favorite YA series featured a main character that aspired to be a writer, and Janelle exclaimed “I wanna do that!”

Flash forward to a decade or so later, Janelle pursued her love of teaching, but her passion for writing remained a glowing ember. It took a car accident to get Janelle writing once again. She wrote and published Success Skills for Middle and High School Students (2001) to help her students with their major educational transitions. Not one to do the same old thing as everyone else, Janelle had a hint of things to come when she was looking for a “different” topic to focus on for her master’s thesis. She was drawn to Magical Realism. Years later, she blended her love for helping others and creative entrepreneurialism with her writing and contributed a chapter to Conscious Entrepreneurs (2008). It was another hint of what was to come for Janelle with the theme for her segment in the anthology being a call to take charge of your life by becoming the star of your life by step into your own spotlight.

It sounds simple enough, but Janelle’s journey towards fulfilling her early dream was not that straight-forward…for either better or worse. After transitioning from the traditional classroom to online teaching and moving from K12 to university teaching, Janelle decided to pursue a doctoral program. While juggling teaching, studies, and growing a college admissions counseling business, Janelle had another light bulb moment during a trip to a NASCAR race weekend in Fontana.

Janelle and her sister were always around cars and loved racing. One of their rituals was making the trek to racing events in Southern California. That morning in the spring of 2009, Janelle watched people walking in and out of the garage as practice sessions were going. Again, she heard the voice “I wanna do that!” Given that she was teaching English and doing studies in education, it was a fleeting moment that she quickly forgot.

Three months later, after covering graduate schools in the Los Angeles area for, Janelle got a wild idea. She asked her editor in education for the sports editor’s contact information and pitched him the role of Southern California Motorsports Examiner. Not only did she land the position, she was also named NASCAR Truck Series Examiner. By the time that NASCAR returned to Fontana that fall, Janelle was working the garage as a reporter and photographer. In fact, it wasn’t until she was halfway through her first morning there that she remembered what happened during the spring race. It was a little bit of magic, a touch of nerve, and some talent that had Janelle smiling that October day. Janelle went on to travel the country covering motorsports, including moving to North Carolina for an extended period, while still teaching and pursuing graduate work.

The unlikely fairytale story did not an easy happily-ever-after ending though. As her fortieth birthday approached, the rumblings of a major life change began. Even though Janelle loved teaching, she realized that education was not where she needed to be. Then the universe reaffirmed her belief when her teaching position was phased out. Though Janelle was already growing a small business startup, she struggled to find her footing.

Months later, Janelle walked out of a local restaurant and was hit with a story idea that grabbed her. She hadn’t worked on fiction since she was a teen, but the story kept screaming to her. Another voice gave her pause though. “You need to do it in 30 days.” It seemed illogical and even melodramatic. (No, it wasn’t a NANOWRIMO challenge either.) Still, she began drafting. It flowed, even if it wasn’t in linear fashion, and Janelle felt the fire back in her life.

Then, Janelle learned why there was a 30-day warning. She was about 90% done with the draft when her father went to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had surgery days later. Though he pulled through the procedure, doctors explained that he had multiple advanced cancers. In the weeks that followed, Janelle finished the draft while her dad battled cancer. He was too ill to read it and passed on New Year’s night. The person who gave Janelle the love of the written word was gone, but life was to take a few more turns.

By spring, Janelle pursued writing in all types of formats, from copywriting and ghostwriting to other genres, to pay the bills. In March, she submitted to Flash Fiction Magazine and was published on the first attempt. A month later, she took another leap and pitched a book to another publisher. The topic was rejected, but they asked if she had any expertise in the other areas that they were seeking. By the end of the week, Janelle had a book contract to write Wine for Beginners. While drafting that book, Janelle also asked to contribute on a regular basis to Flash Fiction Magazine which led her to develop a collection of stories.

Within months, Janelle finished the draft of Wine for Beginners. After finalizing the submission, she poured a glass of bubbly and went to celebrate with her mother and sister. The elation did an immediate 180. Instead of toasting for a much needed celebration, she was helping her sister prepare to go to the emergency room. Less than 12 hours after pouring the glass of bubbly, Janelle’s sister lost her fight with complication from a life-long disability.

So, Janelle’s still working on that happily-ever-after ending. In November 2014, Janelle publishing a collection of flash fiction title Flash 40: Life’s Moments. Wine for Beginners was released in 2015, and the novel, Triangulating Bliss, which rekindled Janelle’s writing passion is due for release in the Fall of 2015.

Janelle currently resides in Southern California, with her pack of pups. When the dogs allow, Janelle regularly returns to her second home of sorts in North Carolina. Her interests are diverse and keep life interesting by giving her experiences that make great stories. More than likely, you can find Janelle enjoying a good wine with friends, feeding her wanderlust beast, or giving into her guilty pleasure of a HEA story in film or written form.

Her latest book is the memoir, WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir.

For More Information

Shadow Touched and Grave Attraction Book Tour @ekellison @Lori_Sjoberg @pumpupyourbook

Shadow Touched


Grave Attraction

Shadow Touched

by Erin Kellison

Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Ebook

*Shadow Touched is Ellie and Cam’s complete story, previously released as Shadow Touch, Shadow Play and Shadow Hunt, ending in the thrilling conclusion, the previously unreleased Shadow Burn.

A darkness looms over humankind, lurks in mirrors, blurs boundaries—a twilight world ruled by powerful mage Houses…

It is bleeding into our world, bringing with it banshees, wraiths, fae from the twisting forests of Twilight. But Eleanor Russo’s problem is a very different kind of phenomenon. Her dark mirror image is a wild thing, willfully seducing the very man Ellie hoped could help her.

Dr. Cam Kalamos has devoted his career to exploring the boundaries between this world and Twilight. But nothing could prepare him for the mischief and mayhem of a soul split in two.

As Ellie and Cam explore their deepest desires and barely escape with their lives, there is only one certainty: Trusting in shadows is a dangerous game.

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Erin Kellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Reveler serial, where dreaming turns dangerous. She also writes the dark fantasy romance Shadow series and Shadow Kissed series. RT calls Soul Kissed, “a dark fairy tale with a twist, perfect for readers who love passion with their fantasy.” And this year she expands her science fiction romance Sol series.


Grave Attraction

by Lori Sjoberg

Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Ebook

He’s a reaper who works by the book. But a sexy shifter will have him changing the course of fate just to be with her—if a killer doesn’t get to her first…

After four years as a reaper, helping souls cross into the afterlife is a job Adam Javorski has finally gotten used to. But when he arrives at the site of a serial killer’s latest victim, finding a living—not to mention gorgeous—hostage is the last thing he expects. The young woman captivates him in a way no one ever has—so much so, he breaks rule number one by helping her escape…

Marlena Walther doesn’t remember the man who rescued her. But when she sees Adam again, she recognizes him instantly as her soul mate. While the two work together to track down a killer determined to finish what he started, their undeniable attraction draws them even closer. Now Adam is the only one who can protect Marlena from a vengeful murderer—if he’s willing to sacrifice everything for her.

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 Lori was a born a coal miner’s daughter. No wait, that’s not right. Actually, she was born a carpenter’s daughter. Her mother was a housewife/homemaker/stay-at-home mom – whatever the politically correct term is these days. Basically, she made sure Lori didn’t get into too much trouble, a task easier said than done.

Growing up the youngest of three girls, Lori never had control of the remote. (Not that she’s bitter about that. Really. Okay, maybe a little, but it’s not like she’s scarred for life or anything.) That meant a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy. Star Trek, Star Wars, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits – you name it, she watched it. It fed her imagination, and that came in handy when the hormones kicked in and she needed a creative excuse for being out past curfew.

After completing her first manuscript, she joined the Romance Writers of America and Central Florida Romance Writers. Now she exercises the analytical half of her brain at work, and the creative half writing paranormal romance. When she’s not doing either one of those, she’s usually spending time with her husband and children of the four-legged variety.

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Scot of My Dreams Cover Reveal @JaniceMaynard @PumpUpYourBook


by Janice Maynard!


Scot of My Dreams by Janice Maynard


Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook


About the Book

In USA Today bestselling author Janice Maynard’s sweet and sexy new series, three childhood friends with a shared passion for the Outlander novels and TV show decide to travel to Scotland looking for adventure—and their very own Highland heroes…

Willow Ryman is as crazy about Scotland as her friends, but she’s on a tighter budget. So during their visit, she opts to stay at a shabby local hostel instead of a cozy B&B. When the owners abruptly decide to shut down for renovations, Willow is left out in the cold—until while exploring the countryside, Willow meets a handsome, friendly, kilt-clad fisherman. The Scotsman is everything she’s dreamed about. But he’s a blueblood, and she’s blue collar…

Bryce McBrae’s lineage as Laird McBrae has always been more of a burden than a blessing. Rarely does it spark such stimulating conversation as he enjoys with the pretty, refreshing American. Wanting more and unwilling to let Willow slip away, he invites her to stay at his castle. But as the two fall hard and fast for each other, they’ll have to decide whether this is just a vacation fling—or a sexy Cinderella story come true…

Scot Of My Dreams



Available for Pre-Order

Scot of My Dreams is available for pre-order at




Google Play


About the Author

janice maynardUSA Today bestselling author Janice Maynard knew she loved books and writing by the time she was eight years old. But it took multiple rejections and many years of trying before she sold her first three novels. After teaching kindergarten and second grade for a number of years, Janice turned in her lesson plan book and began writing full-time. Since then she has sold over thirty-five books and novellas. Her publishers include Kensington, Penguin/NAL, Berkley, and Harlequin.

Her Men of Wolff Mountain books are fan favorites, and Janice is now deeply involved with her new cast of heroes in the long running Kavanaghs of Silver Glen series..

Connect with the Author

TwitterFacebookWattpad, and Instagram

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From Paperback to Leatherbound

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Room With Books

Mary’s Cup Of Tea


Black Forest Reckoning Book Tour @HardyDurkin @pumpupyourbook

Black Forest Reckoning

By Bluette Matthey


Black Forest Reckoning Book Banner
Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing
Pages: 299
Genre: Travel Mystery


About the Book

Outfitter Hardy Durkin and company are visiting the Black Forest area of Germany, staying in the guest wing of a local castle, Schloss Haeflin. In the midst of hiking the Black Forest, enjoying all things Swabian, and spending a day in Baden-Baden, the hikers find themselves at ground zero for coeds disappearing from the nearby University of Freiburg and foul play is suspected. Unresolved personal issues of several members of the group threaten the tour’s cohesion, and Hardy discovers the Baron, who owns the schloss, has stolen someone’s identity as well as his fortune. Ever the sleuth, Hardy untangles the web of deceit, madness, and murder in ‘The Black Forest Reckoning’.



Book Review

It is my pleasure to read and review Black Forest Reckoning by Bluette Matthey. This is the third book of the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery Series but is easily read as a standalone novel.

This is an engaging mystery novel, but also serves as a wonderful travel guide to the Black Forest area of Germany and it’s many wonders. Ms. Matthey has done a painstaking amount of research of the area. Her knowledge of the area adds a great deal to the pleasure of reading Black Forest Reckoning.

The mystery unravels in the midst of Hardy Durkin’s tour through the area and provide the perfect amount of suspense throughout the novel. Ms. Matthey’s mastery of the whodunit is incomparable and reminds me of another of my favorites, Agatha Christie! I am definitely heading to my favorite etailer to pick up the previous two books in this series and look forward to future series offerings!

I highly recommend Black Forest Reckoning by Bluette Matthey and give it five cozy cups of Room With Books coffee (to go, of course).



©November 11, 2015

Patricia, Room With Books

About the Author

Bluette Matthey

Bluette Matthey is a third generation Swiss American and an avid lover of European cultures. She has decades of travel and writing experience. She is a keen reader of mysteries, especially those that immerse the reader in the history, inhabitants, culture, and cuisine of new places. Her passion for travel, except airports (where she keeps a mystery with her to pass the time), is shared by her husband, who owned a tour outfitter business in Europe. Bluette particularly loves to explore regions that are not on the “15 days in Europe” itineraries. She also enjoys little-known discoveries, such as the London Walks, in well-known areas. She firmly believes that walking and hiking bring her closer to the real life of any locale. Bluette maintains a list of hikes and pilgrimages throughout Europe for future exploration. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, faithful dog, and band of loving cats. You can visit Bluette’s website at

For More Information


Lawful Deception Book Tour @pamsamuelsyoung @LiteralExposure

Lawful Deception

By Pamela Samuels Young


Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young


Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Genre: Legal Thriller
Format: Ebook


What Others are Saying

“Pamela Samuels Young has crafted a page-turner that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. If you’re a fan of smart legal thrillers with brisk pacing, crackling dialogue and edgy, intriguing characters, Lawful Deception is for you.”
Dwayne Alexander Smith, Award-winning Author of Forty Acres.


About the Book

Lawful DeceptionOnce again, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young delivers another captivating legal thriller full of unexpected twists and jaw-dropping moments you never see coming. The beautiful Bliss Fenton won’t be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn’t nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she’s created: extorting wealthy men for the hefty child support she can collect.

But Bliss’ greed goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome music industry mogul refuses to accept her conniving conduct lying down. He retains high-profile attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud.

Enter Bliss’ unscrupulous attorney, Girlie Cortez, who has a personal score to settle with Vernetta. As the two lawyers once again go head-to-head, their legal battle quickly escalates from merely contentious to downright deadly.

Purchase Links

Lawful Deception is available for order at




Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Lawful Deception from Pamela Samuels Young in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first of Pamela Samuels Young’s novels I have had the pleasure to read. Ms. Young’s characters are very interesting and the plot was quite twisted! I must admit that my guesses as to the killer’s identity were wrong right up to the moments before the killer was finally exposed.

Who would think a woman would use her body and her children to blackmail men into providing the lifestyle to which she would like to be accustomed? Which baby’s father has been pushed to the point of killing? You’ll have to read Lawful Deception to find out as I don’t write spoilers in my reviews. 😉

Lawful Deception was easy to read, but a bit difficult for me personally to totally enjoy. I always have a hard time reading a book that is written in a particular vernacular and prefer to put the language inflections into the writing in my own mind. This is my only complaint about the book and, in spite of this, I recommend it for lovers of legal thrillers!

I hope you enjoy reading Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young. I give it four steaming hot cups of Room With Books coffee.



© November 2, 2015

Patricia, Room With Books


About the Author

Pamela Samuels YoungWhen attorney and author Pamela Samuels Young isn’t practicing law, you can usually find her penning her next legal thriller. Described by one reviewer as “John Grisham with a sister’s twist,” Pamela is an award-winning author of six legal thrillers.

The prolific writer has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. Fed up with never seeing women or people of color depicted as savvy, hotshot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, Pamela decided to create her own characters. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, the Compton, California native accomplished her ambitious goal by ising at 4 a.m. to write before work, dedicating her weekends to writing and even spending her vacation time glued to her laptop for ten or more hours a day. In the process, she discovered her passion.

Pamela’s sixth novel, Anybody’s Daughter (2013), which tackles the horrific world ofchild sex trafficking, was the recipient of the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction. Her debut novel, Every Reasonable Doubt (2006), won the Black Expressions magazine’s Fiction Writing Contest, received an honorable mention in the SEAK Legal Fiction Writing Competition and was a finalist for USA Book News’ Best Books of 2006 award in the mystery, suspense and thriller category. Her second novel, In Firm Pursuit (2007), was honored by Romantic Times magazine as a finalist for Best African-American Novel of 2007. Murder on the Down Low (2008), Pamela’s third release, was an “Editor’s Pick” by Black Expressions magazine and a finalist for the 2009 African-American Literary Awards in the fiction category. The Black Caucus of the American Library Association honored Pamela’s next novel, Buying Time (2009), with its 2010 Fiction Award, calling the book “a captivating, suspenseful thriller.” Attorney-Client Privilege (2012) was a finalist for USA Book News’ Best Books of 2014 award in the multi-cultural fiction category. Her seventh legal thriller, Lawful Deception, goes on sale in October 2015.

Her writing repertoire also includes the short stories Unlawful Greed, featured in the anthology The Funeral (2013), Easy Money, featured in the anthology Scoundrels: Tales of Greed, Murder and Financial Crimes (2012) and The Setup, featured in the Sisters in Crime anthology, LAndmarked for Murder (2006). She also has an essay in the anthology, A Letter for My Mother (2013).

Pamela has achieved a successful writing career while working as Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law for Toyota in Southern California, specializing in employment law and social media law. Prior to that, she served as Employment Law Counsel for Raytheon Company and spent several years as an associate with the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, in Los Angeles. A former journalist, Pamela began her broadcasting career at WXYZ-TV in Detroit and later worked as a news writer and associate producer at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A., an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers.

A frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, fiction writing and pursuing your passion, Pamela lives in the Los Angeles area and attends Hope in Christ Community Church in Compton.

Connect with the Author Visit Pamela’s website or
Connect with Pamela on Facebook  and Twitter



Rendered Invisible Book Tour @pumpupyourbook

Rendered Invisible

by Frank E. Dobson, Jr.

Publisher: Plain View Press
Genre: Short Stories
Format: Kindle/Paperback

“Thirteen dead black men, and nobody knows it happened,” so says Johnny Smith, who sets out on a quest to make things right in the powerful novella that begins this collection – a masterpiece of collaged voices. Voice is urgent and significant–Dobson focuses throughout on the invisible and the unvoiced-he brings them to center stage, where they speak their pain and frustration. “Maybe we can revise history,” one of his characters says; Dobson’s book does just that. – Mary Grimm, novelist, professor, Case Western University

In entrancing prose that claims a place with writers as powerful as Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and John Edgar Wideman, Frank Dobson offers his own bold, subtle explorations of race and life in America. I sat down to skim a bit of his new book of stories, and ended up reading its central novella straight through. This narrative of the .22-Caliber killings in Buffalo – little known to most Americans-and the lives of blacks and whites caught up in those tense days makes for suspenseful, compelling reading. – Jeff Gundy, poet, professor, Bluffton University



Diamond Legacy is available for order at  Amazon,  B&N,  Kobo and Google Play


Rendered Invisible, my latest book, is a work of historical fiction, which is forthcoming (summer, 2010), by Plain View Press.    This work, set in my hometown of Buffalo, NY and other locales, examines racial and social relationships, including a little-known but racially-motivated killing spree.

As a writer, my work centers on issues of spirituality, race, gender and class.  I have published a novel, The Race Is Not Given(SterlingHouse, 1999) and several pieces of short fiction, all of which confront masculinity from the perspective of black workin g-class males, families and communities.  “Black Messiahs Die” (The Vanderbilt Review, 2005) is a work of historical fiction which uses th e shooting of a black male by the police in Cincinnati (and other cities) as the backdrop for an examination of the wrongful death of a young black male athlete. “Homeless M.F.” (W arpland, 1995) examines class and gender through the mindset of a young, black, ex-con.

My one-act play, “Fridays Without Pay” was presented at the 2005 National Black Theatre Festival.  It examines black male-female relationships from a historical context. And my full-length play, “Black Messiahs Fly” was presented at the 2007 National Black Theatre Festival.    A revision of that play, “Young Messiahs Fly,” was presented at the Frank Silvera’s Writers Workshop in Harlem, NYC, in April of 2008 and also in Nashville, TN and Toledo, Ohio, in 2010.

My scholarly examinations of race, gender and class include a biographical essay, “Reflections of a Black Working Class Academic” which was published in Public Voices (Vol. V, No. 3) and other works.  I have had numerous other scholarly works in print and/or presented at professional conferences.  These include the following: the introduction to the Barnes & Noble edition of  Folks from Dixie, by the famed poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and a recent article, “Beyond Black Men as Breeders:  White Men and the Commodity of Blackness,” which appears in the Vanderbilt University journal, Ameriquests (Vol 6, no 1).   Additionally, I have studied and written on various write rs including James Baldwin, A l Young, John McCluskey, John Edgar Wideman, a nd Carlene Hatcher Polite.

Educationally, I received my B.A. at the University of Buffalo (SUNY), the M.A. in English from UNLV and the Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University (Ohio).  I received a Ford Foundation fellowship to study at Penn in 1992.  And in 1996, I received the Hurston-Head Fiction Writer’s Award from Chicago State University, and in 1999, I received a CultureWorks Creative Writing Award.  I am a native of Buffalo, NY and have lived across the USA.   I am married to Dioncia, and we have three grown children.

For More Information

Visit Frank’s website.


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Deadly Strain Book Tour @JulieRoweAuthor

Deadly Strain, Book 1

Biological Response Team Series

Author: Julie Rowe

Deadly Strain Banner


Publisher: Carina Press

Publication Date: June 15, 2015

Pages: 260


Genre: Romantic Suspense

Format: eBook, PDF


About the Book

Book one of Biological Response Team Series

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob “Sharp” Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace’s most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can’t watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

Deadly Strain

Purchase Links

Amazon ~~ Barnes & Noble ~~ Goodreads


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads


The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man. —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Chapter One

“I’m so dead.” Dr. Grace Samuels stared at the chessboard. There was no hope. None. Not a single move left open to her.

Except for one.

She sighed, shook her head at the patience on her opponent’s face. “I concede.”

“Want to know where you went wrong?” he asked as he cleared the board. He set the pieces up again. Those big hands of his could bandage a wounded soldier, field strip a 9 mm and box her into checkmate with equal skill.

“I sat down in this chair,” she answered with a straight face. The mess hall was busy with soldiers, American and Afghan alike, either beginning their day or ending their night.

“No,” he said. “You played the board.”

Grace thought about it for a second, but it still didn’t make any sense. Then again, it was 0600 and she’d only been up for twenty minutes. “Huh?”

Special Forces Weapons Sergeant Jacob “Sharp” Foster looked at her earnestly. “You played the board,” he repeated. “You should have been playing the man.”

He winked and she had to fight not to roll her eyes. When she first met him she’d thought his flirting was for real, and had been worried she’d have to shut him down. She didn’t want to, because he was hilarious, but the impropriety couldn’t be ignored. Then, she discovered when he wasn’t on the job, he had a wicked sense of humor, and everyone was a target.

“Then I suppose I’ll have to study you.” She leaned forward and made a show of giving him a thorough once-over.

He grinned and spread his hands wide. “By all means, study me.”

Sharp was a big man, about six-two, and she’d guess he weighed about two hundred pounds. He flexed his biceps and waggled his eyebrows in response to her joke. Though he had brown hair, with a mustache and beard to match, he had the lightest blue eyes she’d ever seen—like looking into glacial ice.

Right now, those eyes were challenging her. She just wasn’t sure if it was regarding the game or something she didn’t want to talk about. At all.

Unfortunately, Sharp wasn’t going to leave it alone. The chess game should have warned her. They usually played poker.

She watched him reset the chessboard while, for the first time in a week, letting her mind go back to the moment she realized she was in trouble. On her way to her quarters late at night. They’d arrived at Forward Operating Base Bostick the week before, and she’d been introduced to the base commander, Colonel Marshall. He’d barely spoken to her. So why was he waiting for her outside her quarters with clenched fists and a face so blank she knew he was in the grip of a powerful emotion?

The colonel wasn’t known for any kind of emotion.

She stopped several feet away. “What are you doing here at this hour, sir?”

One corner of his upper lip lifted in a sneer and he snarled, “I wanted a private conversation.”

His words triggered every internal red flag she had. “I don’t understand.”

Marshall’s response was two words. One name. “Joseph Cranston.”

A name she wished she could forget. “You…knew him?”

Scorn turned his words into weapons. “He was my son.”

Oh God.

Grace took an involuntary step backward. Now that she knew, she could see the son in his father’s face, the same eyes and jawline as the young man whose features she couldn’t forget. As if conjured, his shade floated in front of her mind’s eye, thrusting her into a memory she wanted desperately to erase. His face, covered with blood, whipped her heart into a gallop. Her breathing bellowed, lungs attempting to push air through her terror-closed throat. She fought the invisible hands pulling at her and her vision spiraled into a narrow tunnel.

Sharp had surfaced out of the dark, his presence breaking the memory’s chokehold.

He’d crouched in front of her, calling her name, ordering her to respond before he did something stupid like give her mouth-to-mouth. She coughed out a response, couldn’t remember what, and fought her way to her feet.

Sharp didn’t try to hold her. He didn’t touch her at all, but he shielded her body from prying eyes with his own. He refused to leave her, facing down Colonel Marshall, who showed no sympathy and less tolerance for her fainting spell. Two of Sharp’s team members appeared and, after glaring at them all, Marshall left without saying anything else.

She managed to get inside her quarters before anyone could demand an explanation, shut the door and locked it. She’d only felt relief when no one knocked to ask for an explanation. It wasn’t until the next day that she realized their lack of questions was as suspect as her behavior.

She hadn’t expected to meet anyone connected to Joseph Cranston outside of the United States. Hadn’t expected something that happened that long ago to thrust her into a memory like it was happening all over again.


In the days since, Sharp had been mother-henning her like she was some fragile little chick, and she’d had about as much of that as she could take. She was a Samuels. Her father, also a military doctor, had just retired from the army, and her grandfather had run a MASH unit during the Korean War. He’d met her grandmother during WWII; she’d been one of the first Air Force service pilots. If there was one thing she wouldn’t accept from anyone, it was pity.

“I’ve been studying you for a while.” Sharp finished setting up the board and met her gaze. “You’re a damn good doctor, a hellacious good shot on the range and you put up with our male stupidity with more patience than we deserve.”

“I hear the but coming.”

“What happened between you and Marshall?”

“None of your damn business.”

When he continued to stare at her, she added, “Look, I’m not going to saddle anyone else with my personal grievances or the fact that I don’t get along with someone.”

“Personal grievances?” Sharp asked. “Twice last week I thought you were going to damage a guy for jostling you in the chow line. What’s going on with you?”

Shit, of course he would notice. She’d damn near freaked out each time, a scream hovering on her lips, her hands and feet moving to defend against an enemy who wasn’t there.

The enemy wasn’t there. No gunfire. No weapons pointed at her, yet she still found herself reacting as if it were happening all over again.

She hadn’t been reacting that way until Marshall had confronted her. Meeting the father of a soldier who’d died an unnecessary death in front of her must have detonated an emotional trip wire in her head. One she needed to deal with.

Not an easy thing when on active duty and nowhere near a base with more than a glorified first-aid station.

It seemed like anywhere she went on the base, Sharp or one of the guys from the A-Team was there. Not doing anything, just there. They weren’t fooling her.

Damn alpha males and their overprotective tendencies.

“Nothing I can’t handle. I take care of myself.” She narrowed her eyes. Her sidearm, a Beretta M9, might have to make an appearance. Then Sharp’s words sunk all the way in. “Wait. Are you telling me I should play chess with the same mind-set as poker?” She buried his ass every time they played poker. He was terrible at keeping his attention on his cards and lousy at pretending he wasn’t checking her out—not that he was serious about it. He knew the rules same as she, and she was glad, ridiculously glad, she had a friend she could count on, someone she could trust.

“Sort of. Chess demands more of you than poker, but the principles are the same.”

Them’s fightin’ words. “The hell you say.” She’d been playing poker with her dad since she was ten years old. He’d taught her how to bluff anyone.

“Doc,” Sharp said, chuckling. “If I were lying, you’d be beating me, but you aren’t.”

“Ha.” She leaned forward and tapped the board. “Make your move.”

Sharp opened his mouth to respond, but he never got a chance to say anything before another Beret, the team’s other weapons sergeant, Harvey Runnel, strode over to them. It wasn’t the speed he was moving that drew her and Sharp’s attention, it was the look on the soldier’s face. Flattened lips, clenched jaw and a slightly flared nose. She couldn’t see his eyes due to the tinted safety glasses he wore, but she could guess that the skin around them would be tight—a man who was on full alert.

Special Forces soldiers did not get amped up for no reason.

“Playtime’s over,” Runnel said. “Doc, grab your go-bag.”

A mental blanket sank over her, numbing her to the horror to come. It was the first self-preservation tactic doctors learned. Compartmentalize all that terrible stuff or go crazy in a week. Sometimes she wondered when all those boxes in her mind would break open and rip her apart from the inside out.

There was an entire crate named Joseph Cranston.

“Warm or cold?” She asked even though she already knew the answer. Runnel never looked this rattled. Please say warm.

Her warm go-bag was a trauma kit, a backpack with everything she’d need if she was dealing with bullet holes, shrapnel lacerations or broken bones. The typical things most people expected her to treat since she was a trauma surgeon. But that wasn’t all she was.

She was also an infectious disease specialist.

Her cold go-bag contained the very latest in biological detection technology. One- or two-step tests that identified anything from anthrax to Ebola to a weaponized flu. She was a member of a select group of virologists, microbiologists and infectious disease specialists the US Army relied on to train not only their own troops, but the soldiers of other nations, in the detection of and protection against biological weapons. They were known officially as the Biological Rapid Response team, but most soldiers called them Icemen or Icequeens.

Lately the army had been assigning BRR team members to work with Army Special Forces teams—Green Berets. She’d been working with Sharp’s team for almost a year. Her job was to assist in training Afghan forces in everything from combat and demolitions to the most survivable responses to biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.

“Cold,” Runnel said. “No drill.”


Adrenaline spiked through her system as Grace got up and followed Runnel. He led the way back to whoever was calling the shots, Sharp right behind her as they ran at a trot. She might be the base’s resident expert on biological weapons, but it was knowledge she wished fervently she didn’t have to use.

They entered the staging area where she’d been doing some of the training. Several members of Sharp’s team were using it to gear up. Runnel glanced at her and angled his head toward the base commander, a tall man in his forties who wore a permanent frown. He was looking at a map with several ranking officers, including the A-Team’s commander, Geoffry Cutter.

Cutter glanced at her. “The major is here, sir.”

Base Commander Colonel Marshall gave her a glare before returning his attention to the map in front of him.

He’d called her a fucking quack yesterday as he walked past her. If he kept demeaning her in front of the Afghan forces and their own soldiers, she’d lose the credibility she needed to successfully train them.

“Major,” Marshall said without looking at her. “One of our patrols reported in about ten minutes ago with what appears to be a biological incident.”

She waited, but he didn’t add any more details. “What led them to believe that, sir?”

He met her gaze with an even colder expression. “An entire village dead. Some of the bodies show lesions and bleeding from the nose, mouth and eyes.”

Holy Mother of God.

Bad. This was very bad.

“I concur with their assessment of the situation, sir. Your orders?”

“Get the fuck out there,” he snarled at her. “Figure out what happened and fix it.”

That part she knew already. Asshat. She’d hoped he’d give her some detailed orders, with a timeline and what kind of manpower she could expect. Not more sarcasm and snark. She came to attention and saluted. “Yes, sir.”

He took two steps, then stopped and turned around. He addressed Cutter and only Cutter, who had somehow inched his way over until he was right next to her, with Sharp on the other side. What a couple of papa bears. “Send half of your A-Team with the Icequeen. The other half will stay here in case I need a second team to go in.”

Grace bit her tongue hard to keep from telling what she thought of him and his orders, and mentally promoted him to asshole.

“Yes, sir.” Cutter saluted. “The location of the village is here.” He glanced at Grace and pointed to a spot on the map. From a distance Cutter looked like the least threatening person in the room. He was the shortest, skinniest guy on the A-Team, but he more than made up for that in stubbornness and stamina.

Grace moved closer so she could get a better look. “How far is it from the Pakistan border?”

“About two klicks.”

“Not very damn far.” She ran her index finger over the spot on the map. “Mountain valley?”

“Yeah. It’s a small village. Less than one hundred people.”

“The patrol found no one alive?”

“No one.”

Grace breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth. “Did they get their breathing gear on right away?”

“According to their report they did, but they’re nervous. Whatever killed those people, killed them fast.”

“Okay. I don’t have to tell you guys how to prep. You’re as well trained as I am. Consider this a live weapon.”

“Will do,” Cutter responded. He looked at Sharp standing next to her. “I’m assigning Sharp to ride herd on you, Doc. Where you go, he goes.”

“I’m not arguing, Commander. I’ve worked with Sharp plenty of times.”

“Good. We leave in fifteen.” Cutter nodded at her, gave Sharp a nod, then moved off to brief the rest of his team.

“I have to get my go-bag and the rest of my gear,” she said to Sharp, her mind on the eight million things she needed to do before those fifteen minutes were up.

“I’ll give you a hand.”

“Thanks, but I don’t need any help.” She was going to have to deal with his protective crap sooner rather than later, but carefully. “I do need every friend I can get, though. Are you in for that?”

At his grin, she relaxed a little and refocused on the job at hand.

* * *

Sharp watched Grace rush away for about two seconds too long.

“Do I need to replace you with Runnel?” Cutter asked.

He jerked his head around to stare at his commander. He’d thought Cutter had been briefing the rest of the team. “No.”

Cutter stood with his arms crossed over his chest and his feet apart. “Then pull your tongue back into your head. You’re damn near panting after her.”

“Not fucking likely. She’s just the only person on this base who can beat me in poker. If something happens to her, I’ll have nothing to do for the next month,” he said. “Besides, something’s not right. She’s been off her game since Marshall decided to be an ass. She’s our number-one asset. I’m worried.” The way he’d found her the other day, damn near passed out, shaking and hyperventilating like she was about to fly apart… It had hit him—a sucker punch to the gut. She was reliving something awful.

Post-traumatic stress disorder.

How many guys did he know who lived with PTSD? Ten, twenty, fifty?

What was Marshall’s connection? Something he’d done or said had set off a bomb in Grace’s head.

Even weirder, Marshall hadn’t liked it when Sharp wouldn’t leave Grace alone with him.

What the hell had Grace been involved with that earned her the dislike of a career military man who normally didn’t give a rat’s ass about what a doctor like her might be doing or not doing?

“Still, watch yourself. Word around the base is, he’s got a hate on for the doc and you got in the way.”

“What do you know, Cutter?”

“Nothing specific. Marshall hasn’t talked, but his attitude toward the doc is clear. He hates her guts.”

Cutter was right, Marshall’s face had been twisted by disgust and hostility as he stared at her the night he got between her and the colonel. What had happened to cause it? Whatever it was, Sharp wasn’t going to let anyone hurt her. She worked just as hard and long at training their allied troops as the A-Team did. And she was good.

“Sharp.” Cutter’s voice had a wary edge and he took a step closer. “Be careful, man. I like the doc, too. Hell, the whole team likes her, but you and I both know falling for someone while on deployment is a mistake.”

“Preaching to the choir here, boss. I might enjoy the view on occasion, but there’s a line I have no interest in crossing.”

They’d both watched as a former team member fell hard for a woman he’d met while overseas. The relationship disintegrated within weeks after he’d been reassigned. It had damn near broke him, and he’d left the military altogether.

“I respect her,” Sharp told his commander. “She’s smart and she’s worked her ass off this last year. I also think Marshall has some kind of vendetta against her. The look on his face the other night…” Sharp shook his head. “He’d have killed her if he could have. She belongs to us.”

Cutter was silent for a couple of moments, his gaze steady on Sharp’s face. Finally, he angled his head toward the knot of soldiers and gear. “Come on, no one is going to bother her now. Marshall needs her. Get your shit together.”

Cutter had one thing right. He needed to keep his focus on the mission. Sharp followed the other man, but there wasn’t much for any of them to do, since they were always ready to move out on a moment’s notice. Every man on the team had developed the habit during training and had only refined it since. One of their instructors used to say that an unprepared soldier was a dead soldier.

Sharp joined the rest of his team, double-checked his weapons, pulled on his battered gear and bio-suit and got out of the way. Focus.

Cutter was talking with Bart, one of their communications guys, when Colonel Marshall walked in a few minutes later with another half-dozen soldiers behind him and headed straight for the Special Forces group.

“Cutter, storm coming at twelve o’clock,” Sharp informed him quietly.

By the time Marshall came to a stop, the entire A-Team was standing at attention.

“Sir,” Cutter said with a salute. “The go-team is ready, sir.”

“Where’s that damn doctor?”

“She’ll be here in six minutes, sir.”

Marshall grunted. “You’re taking these men with you on this mission. Two additional medics, Yanik and Anderson, and four of my infantry for security. Your mission objective is to assist Major Samuels.”

For the first time since their arrival two weeks ago, Marshall was actually helping a situation rather than shitting all over it.

“And make sure that bitch doesn’t screw up,” Marshall added. “I want the men on that patrol back in one piece. Understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

The team saluted and Marshall stalked off like he was Patton or something.

“So much for that guy not being a tremendous bag of dicks,” the team’s second in command, John Leonard, said in an undertone.

About the Author

Julie RoweJulie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”.

In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has short stories in Fool’s Gold, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance, Timeless Keepsakes and Timeless Escapes anthologies. Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. AIDING THE ENEMY (book #3 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Living.

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