Throwback Thursday–Hold Me

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Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we highlight one Carina Press backlist title we think you should check out! Each week we’ll choose one book (published at least one year ago) to feature and give away!

This post was written by Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, Carina Press

I knew when I first read the submission that this was a book I had to work with. The heroine, Katie, is so funny and witty that she drew me in immediately, from the opening pages where she catches her fiancé cheating on her and kinda…snaps. She has quite the mouth on her and gets herself into trouble because of it. I laughed my way through the story.

I also swooned. Oh man, there’s such delicious sexual tension between Katie and Lucas. And he is so. Dang. Hot. Finding out about Luc and Katie’s history added a layer of depth that made me girl-sigh. He’s so protective of her, and I was rooting for them to work through everything for that happily ever after ending we love in romance. This story delivers the goods and left me with a satisfied smile when I finished it.


Katie McCabe’s life is going nowhere fast when FBI Special Agent Lucas Vasco jumps into her car at an intersection. Luc, his undercover guise blown, is on the run from the Mafia and expects to be killed at any moment. What he doesn’t plan on is finding himself attracted to the firecracker beside him. He feels compelled to protect her when her life is threatened, and insists she stay with him for her own safety.

After learning she has become the target of a psychotic hit man, Katie is whisked off to Luc’s house to hide. Once there, she’s shocked to discover that she and Luc have an unexpected connection–a connection Luc already knew existed, but withheld. Will their intense attraction reach flashpoint despite their misunderstandings and the pain of the past?


Comment below to win an epub copy of Hold Me!*

*small print: Contest closes 11:59 EST Thursday, September 26. North America only. Winner will be chosen at random.

Throwback Thursday–Dark Vow

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Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we highlight one Carina Press backlist title we think you should check out! Each week we’ll choose one book (published at least one year ago) to feature and give away!

Today’s post was written by Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, Carina Press

“A western with a magical bent, Dark Vow‘s aim is true.” —RT Book Reviews, Top Pick

Within the first few pages of picking up this western fantasy submission, I knew I was going to acquire it. I love the tone, the richly rendered setting, the heroine, Jaines, who’s on a quest for vengeance against the sinister man who murdered her husband. This story knocked me off my feet. To be only 65,000 words, it has the feel of a longer novel because of how intricate and well-developed the author’s world is. And yet, when I reached the end, I wanted more.

Obsidian, the hero, is flawed, sexy and so interesting. I love the way these two damaged characters begin to open up to each other, to fall in love—the romantic arc’s pace is perfect. Their quest evolves and becomes bigger than their own personal grievances. Simply put, this story has everything I love in romance—a strong narrative, fascinating characters and a romance that hooks me.


Jaines Cord plans to kill the man who murdered her husband, even though killing a Bounty Hunter is said to be impossible. One bullet took away her livelihood, her home and her love. One bullet made by her. Fired from the gun she completed for the Arcane Bounty Hunter.

Obsidian wears the scars of disobeying the powerful Arcane Union. He barely escaped with his life and now lives quietly, in a town the lawmen forgot. When Jaines arrives asking too many questions, he’s faced with a decision. Help her or run…again. Obsidian knows that if he flees he’ll always be looking over his shoulder. His name is one of the first on the Bounty Hunter’s death list.

Yet when Obsidian is offered an opportunity to stop the stone taking over his body in exchange for retrieving the gun, he asks Jaines for her help. Now Jaines must choose: a dead man’s vengeance or a living man’s hope?


Comment below to win an epub copy of Dark Vow!*

*small print: Contest closes 11:59 EST Thursday, September 19. North America only. Winner will be chosen at random. Full rules here.

Why I Have a Crush On All Pararescuemen

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It’s finally here! The third book of the Bagram Special Ops series is out, and Maya and Jackson’s story is absolutely the most intense of the trilogy. And what’s not to love about the hero of the book? He’s a Pararescueman (PJ), so considering that, enough said.

Staff Sergeant Jackson Thatcher serves with an elite Special Tactics Squadron under Air Force Special Operations Command at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. He’s a Texas boy at heart and has all the Southern manners to show for it. I could love him for that alone, but what really makes him and all PJs special is their selflessness when it comes to saving others.

The Pararescue motto is That Others May Live, and it’s not just something they’re taught; it’s what separates them from everyone else in the military. Right now there are fewer than 400 active duty PJs in the world, so earning that coveted maroon beret is a feat each PJ is rightly proud of.
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They routinely go into harm’s way to perform covert recovery or search and rescue missions behind enemy lines. They also help out civilians during natural disasters and come to the aid of those who are unfortunate to be caught in the crossfire during combat. They’ll go into harm’s way and do whatever is necessary in order to protect their patient and keep them alive during transport back to base–including giving their own lives if need be. That kind of selfless sacrifice to save someone else is unbelievably heroic to me, and it’s why I have a crush on all PJs.I hope you admire them as much as I do!

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(photo courtesy USAF)

I’m giving away three digital copies of the books in my Bagram Special Ops series here today (Deadly Descent, Tactical Strike and Lethal Pursuit). To enter, tell me what you love best about military heroes.

 photo Lethal_Pursuit_final_zpscfdccf05.jpgBlurb: Security Forces Lieutenant Maya Lopez is right at home in a war zone: she’s been fighting all her life. A hard-won commission in the air force has brought her to Afghanistan, and if she plays her cards right, she could end up with an FBI job. It won’t be easy, but that just makes her more determined.

Jackson Thatcher is a protector in all senses of the word. A pararescue jumper with Southern-boy charm, he easily captures Maya’s interest, but her trust is another story. He’s sexy, strong and caring, but she makes it clear she’s no damsel in distress. She’s never relied on any man, and she’s not about to start now.

When Maya and Jackson become pawns in a radical warlord’s deadly game, they find themselves on the run and must depend on each other if they want to make it out alive.

Available now for only $2.99 at:
Kindle store
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Carina Press
Audio book

Happy reading,

Kaylea Cross
Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her family. You can find Kaylea through her website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her blog.

Throwback Thursday–Dangerous Race

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Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we highlight one Carina Press backlist title we think you should check out! Each week we’ll choose one book (published at least one year ago) to feature and give away!

This post was written by Melissa Johnson, Freelance Editor, Carina Press

“Taking high octane romance and suspense to a whole other level, Adams goes green flag with a prologue that left me shaken and a story that both thrilled and chilled. Adams hit so many high notes that I was completely and thoroughly entertained by the read. I can’t wait for the next in her Adrenaline Highs series and can only wish it would be out sooner than 2012. Like now. Now would be good.” —One Good Book Deserves Another


I loved Dangerous Race, the action-packed and heart wrenching romantic suspense book that starts the Adrenaline Highs series–four awesome books featuring race-car drivers, stuntwomen, rock stars and Hollywood actors.

In this first book, the heroine is Tracey Bradshaw, a young race-car driving prodigy making a comeback after a severe injury. When a saboteur strikes at the leader of her team, former-driver-now-wealthy-businessman, Mac Reynolds, takes over.  Mac and Tracey have electric chemistry, but Mac’s protectiveness is colored by his own fiery accident, and Tracey’s crash left her with scars inside and out.

Dangerous Race has wild and continuous action.  Yet, it also made me cry.  When Tracey gives a speech at an awards ceremony for athletes who’ve made a comeback. She also pays tribute to athletes who know when to walk away from their passion and start new lives.  This had me bawling. I recommend Dangerous Race and the Adrenaline Highs series to anyone looking for edge-of-your-seat excitement and passionate romance.


Four years ago, race car driver Tracey Bradshaw almost died in a horrific crash. Now scarred inside and out, she’s making a comeback, but her team is plagued by a series of “accidents”.

When the team leader dies under mysterious circumstances, former driver Mac Reynolds takes charge. The pair clash as Trace resents his high-handed attempts to control her, while Mac fears Trace’s recklessness will get her killed. Neither can throttle back the desire that spins out of control whenever they touch. Trace lets herself be seduced when Mac convinces her he finds her beautiful despite her scars, and she begins to hope for more. But Mac knows he’s not nearly good enough for Trace…


Comment below to win an epub copy of Dangerous Race!*

*small print: Contest closes 11:59 EST Thursday, September 12. North America only. Winner will be chosen at random. Full rules here.

Throwback Thursday–Double Shot

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Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we highlight one Carina Press backlist title we think you should check out! Each week we’ll choose one book (published at least one year ago) to feature and give away!

This post was written by Stephanie Doig, Editorial Assistant for Carina Press and Harlequin Digital Series First


Christine d’Abo’s Long Shots series was published shortly after I started working on the Carina Press acquisitions team (that’s code for “when I was an erotic romance newbie”), and I remember the team discussing one of the novellas in a meeting and being very enthusiastic. So that Friday, I downloaded Double Shot, the first novella, thinking I should get to know some of our books better since I wanted to learn everything I could about the imprint.

For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m about to make you very jealous. Since Carina Press is a Harlequin imprint, staff members have access to an ebook database where we can download Harlequin and Carina books for personal use. This is a huge bonus for employees and we love it. So I got to read Double Shot for free. The reason I’m telling you this is because when I got home and finished Double Shot, desperate to read the next book in the series, the database was down. And it was a Saturday–there was no chance it was going to be fixed before Monday.

Well, there was no way I was waiting until Monday. I paid for all of the other books in this series even though I could have waited two days and gotten them for free, and I have no regrets. In fact, I would do it again. :) I hope you all feel the same!


Coffee shop owner Sadie Long has been lusting after her good friend Paul Williams for years. So she’s more than a little intrigued when he invites her to a business meeting at Mavericks, the sex club where he works. While catering an event at the club is not quite the proposition she was hoping for, her business could use the boost. And she can’t resist the chance to work closely with Paul in such a sexually charged atmosphere. Enter the club’s hot owner, Josh, and suddenly Sadie’s fantasizing about being part of a threesome.

Paul has always wanted Sadie, but never thought she’d see him as anything more than a friend. On the night of the party, he and Josh tempt Sadie to reveal her deepest desire–a desire both men are eager to help fulfill.

Giving in to her sensual side, Sadie enjoys a night of mind-blowing sex. But in the light of day, will she lose Paul as a friend, or gain him as a lover?


Comment below to win an epub copy of Double Shot!*

*small print: Contest closes 11:59 EST Thursday, August 29. North America only. Winner will be chosen at random. Full rules here.


Throwback Thursday

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Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we highlight one Carina Press backlist title we think you should check out! Each week we’ll choose one book (published at least one year ago) to feature and give away!

Today’s post was written by Jenny Bullough, Manager, Digital Content

I was standing there naked when a dead man sauntered into my bathroom.

That was the first frightening thing. I knew he was dead. I’d seen him buried beneath the cold clay of the old cemetery. His gravestone was due to be delivered within the week.

He sauntered. He didn’t shamble.

That was the second frightening thing, because I always thought such creatures did. Stumble and stagger, that is.

“Nathan!” I gasped. I shouldn’t have. His name stopped the slow, blind swing of the sleek blond head and gave the viscous brown eyes focus. On me.

He curled back his sulky lips and leered.

That was the third frightening thing. I knew what he was and I knew that look.

So I heaved my entire container of lily-scented sea salt at him. The spew of crystals caught him full in the face and halted him in midstep.

He smoked and dissolved, all lacy and pockmarked, with a sizzling, eating sound of dissolution, like ice dumped in a sink and hot water poured over it. Even his clothes, the funereal black suit, writhed and curled like burning paper until the figure collapsed in a drift of dark dust on the bathroom tiles. A pall of charcoal smoke hung in his shape for another long moment and then abruptly vanished, leaving behind a stink—sharp as teeth—that overpowered the floral essence rising from the running water.

I threw up in the tub.

It seemed I’d managed to kill my husband a second time.

Have you ever read a book that hooked you from page one to the point where you couldn’t put it down? That is Dark and Disorderly. I dare you to read the opening section above and not get hooked into this fantastic paranormal mystery. Who reanimated her husband? And why? These questions will keep you reading as Harris draws you into a compelling world where the dead can be reanimated to walk the earth, and only a select few –like the heroine – have the ability to both solve murders and lay their spirits to rest again.


Comment below to win an epub copy of Dark & Disorderly!*

*small print: Contest closes 11:59 EST Thursday, August 22. North America only. Winner will be chosen at random.


Standing at the Crossroads

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Our lives take strange turns. Who knew I’d be juggling a home life far busier than the corporate one I left behind? Or that I’d be worried about book research and review blogs instead of balance sheets and sales figures? The tiniest leap of faith can put us on paths we never imagined, which is what I’ve always felt true romance is all about. Putting trust in that special someone. Being willing to risk everything for them.

That’s why I like to read and write romance. To remind myself, and others, I suppose, that the uncertainty of a new relationship can lead to great things, even if we don’t welcome such a change at first.

I remember that night twenty years ago when I first saw the man who is now my husband and life partner. He was gorgeous and funny and a little broken (I’m a sucker for that), but he didn’t really fit in my “plan.” He offered to buy me a cup of coffee at this up-and-coming joint in town called Starbucks. I have no idea where I’d be today if I’d walked away instead of accepting.

One tiny decision. One small concession. A leap of faith that changed everything. That cup of coffee—one cream, no sugar—was the first step to a happy, fulfilling future. It’s scary to think I almost left it behind.

In Bending the Iron, my character Michael has a similar decision to make. It’s the decision every hero or heroine must make: the new and unknown or the safe and familiar? Is now truly the right time to change direction and take a different path? Lucky for Michael, the man of his dreams is a good negotiator, both in and out of the bedroom. (I’m also a sucker for happy endings, in case you were wondering.)

In a life full of crossroads, how do we know whether to follow that special someone? We don’t. Twenty years ago, I took a chance. That’s what romance is all about.


Share a thought about this post or Bending the Iron. I will choose one commenter from today to receive a free copy and will announce the winner here on Thursday morning. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the book!


Bending the Iron

Michael feels trapped. In his conservative, poor hometown where he has to keep his sexuality hidden. In his dead-end job. In caring for his alcoholic grandfather. Everything changes when he meets Eric, the new curator for the railroad museum. His curiosity about the passionate man quickly gives way to an intense attraction—one that Eric happily returns.

Carefree and refreshingly confident, Eric guides Michael to places he’s forgotten, reminding him that it may not be too late to follow his dreams for something more in life. But the truth is, Eric knows exactly how it feels to be stuck in a bad situation. A failed relationship has left him with personal demons that may hurt his connection with Michael.

To give their future a chance, they both must fight being trapped in the past.

Available from Carina Press HERE.


Libby glimpsed her true calling when her first story, an A.A. Milne /Shakespeare crossover, won the grand prize in her elementary school’s fiction contest. Her parents explained that writers were quirky, poor, and often talked to themselves in supermarket checkout lines. They implored her to be practical, a request she took to heart for twenty years, earning two degrees, a white-collar job, and an ulcer, before realizing that practical was absolutely no fun.

Today she lives with her husband and four children in an old, impractical house and writes stories about redemption, the supernatural, and love at first sight, all of which do exist. She happens to know from experience.

Libby’s first novel, State of Mind, was nominated for 2011 M/M Book of the Year by Authors After Dark.

Visit Libby’s:







Welcome to my inner world! C’mon in and stay a spell

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Yay, the first book set in the fictional town of Bitterthorn, Texas is finally here! Welcome to my inner world, showcased in UGLY DUCKLINGS FINISH FIRST!

So, how long have I been living with this world inside my head? Oh, only about a decade. It’s this tiny Americana-like town that’s a little bit like Mayberry, with a dash of those homey Hidden Valley Ranch commercials thrown in, and a huge helping of Norman Rockwell to finish it out.  Idyllic, right?

Oh, how I love turning that idyllic crap inside out.

There’s no such thing as perfect, and Bitterthorn’s no exception.  There are secrets behind every smile and casual glance.  Wiley “the Coyote” Sharpe seemed to be nothing more than a skirt-chasing pretty-boy, whose high school peers voted him  “most likely to be slapped with a paternity suit”.  But in reality he’s as sharp as his name implies, and now that he’s all grown up and established as a lawyer, he sees things aren’t quite right in his town.

Too bad he can’t think straight now that his high school tutor, Payton Pruitt, has returned.

The character of Payton was inspired by a mish-mash of people.  For instance, when my brother was a kid, he skipped a grade and landed in a class where he was physically smaller than his peers, but just as smart, if not smarter. That meant he got bullied before he hit a growth spurt (and then… well, you know what they say about payback, heh).  My bestie Eva, a doctor of internal medicine (and to whom UGLY DUCKLINGS FINISH FIRST is dedicated), is a genius who always had her nose buried in a book and was made to feel like the odd-girl out, no matter what she tried.  And then there’s me, the awkward goofball who’d rather be reading or writing than anything else.  Smoosh all that together, and you have the heroine of this story.

Payton is living proof that Bitterthorn isn’t perfect.  Bullied unmercifully during her school years, she got out just as soon as she could. She had one friend to her name—Wiley—and only the thought of showing him how she’d grown into a beautiful swan could bring her back to the town she hates.  As she returns for her ten-year high school reunion, however, she can’t help but notice that Bitterthorn is almost… tolerable.  What’s even more amazing is that Wiley is passionately determined to show her that as far as he’s concerned, she’d always been a beautiful swan.

Too bad someone is targeting him in a way that could put an end to their reunion… forever.

Want to know more about UGLY DUCKLINGS FINISH FIRST? Here’s the blurb:

Metal Mouth. Queen Geek. Dr. Payton Pruitt heard it all growing up. But she’s over it, and attending her ten-year high school reunion is the perfect way to prove it to herself. Even if there’s only one person she’s interested in seeing in Bitterthorn, Texas: Wiley Sharpe.

Now a respected lawyer, Wiley didn’t live down to the label Most Likely to Be Slapped with a Paternity Suit. But recent acts of vandalism suggest someone still sees him as a heartbreaker, and the reunion seems a likely place to find the culprit. Instead, Wiley comes face-to-face with his old pal Payton—and is wowed not only by her transformation into a ravishing swan, but by the connection they still share.

Payton is pleased the playboy she used to tutor has grown into an honorable man, but she’s too smart to fall for a guy with roots in a place she couldn’t wait to leave. But while Payton is an academic genius, Wiley is the one with the PhD in pleasure, and he intends to use it to convince her to stay…

63,000 words

FYI: Be on the lookout for the second Bitterthorn book, STARTING FROM SCRATCH, a Carina Press holiday novella coming this November and edited by the amazing Angela James!



Carina Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Google Play, ebooks. com, Kobo, BAM (Books-A-Million), ARe, iTunes


Want a chance to win a $25 Amazon GC?  Here’s your chance!  a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Question: If you were to go to your high school reunion, would it be out of curiosity?  To meet up with old friends?  To share with everyone that amazing life you’ve worked so hard to get?  To settle old scores? Or to put the ghosts of your past to rest?  I’d love to know. :)




The Lure of Damaged Characters

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I can’t resist damaged characters. The deeper the wound, the more intriguing the character.

Not everyone feels this way. I get that.

Many readers avoid tragic heroes and difficult heroines because reading is supposed to be an escape from the craziness of our day-to-day lives. It is for me, too. Yet, I’m fascinated by human behavior and the dissimilar ways we respond to life’s circumstances.

One woman dons her superhero cape, stares down the pain, and rises above it. Another resorts to destructive behavior, unsure of how to overcome the obstacles on her journey. I admire the former, yet learn so much more from the latter. When the woman who struggles finally achieves her happy ending I’m right there at the finish line, cheering her on.

Making the First Move by Reese RyanThey’re characters. Not real people. But neither are the characters in fairy tales. Yet they’ve entertained, inspired, and taught object lessons for centuries.

When you think of damaged characters, which ones come to mind? For me, any discussion of damaged characters brings three specific television characters to mind:

Sherlock Holmes, Elementary – In the first episode or two I was turned off by Jonny Lee Miller’s character. He was brilliant, to be sure. But he was also self-centered, arrogant, and six different kinds of rude. Yet, there was something about him I found compelling. So I kept watching. Slowly he demonstrated hints of change. The more I learned about him, the more I understood his pain and felt compassion for him.

Mary Shannon, In Plain Sight – Mary Shannon (played by Mary McCormack) is a U.S. marshal working in the witness protection program. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father was a chronic gambler who eventually robbed a bank and abandoned their family. Not surprisingly, she has trust issues, and is more than a little resentful. She’s prickly. Sometimes, downright mean. But she’s also fiercely loyal, and refreshingly honest. The poignant narration by her character at the beginning and end of each show allows us to step into her head and her heart. We get the chance to understand her from the inside out.

Raylan Givens, JustifiedI’m a latecomer to this show. I’ve only seen the first season, but How Beauty Loved the BeastDeputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is my current TV character crush. Apparently, I’ve got a thing for lawmen driven to the profession by an outlaw parent. He speaks softly, wears a big hat, and an even bigger gun—and he isn’t afraid to use it. Harlan County, Kentucky—the setting of the show—is filled with quirky, damaged characters. Which brings us to another complicated character—Boyd Crowder. He’s an old friend of Raylan’s. He’s also a career criminal, Raylan’s nemesis, and occasional ally. The bromance between these two broken characters is a thing of beauty.

Literature is filled with damaged characters like Lisbeth Salander of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, and Celie from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. They stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.

Looking for more stories of damaged characters? Try Jax Garren’s Tales of the Underlight series. Her hero Hauk is both physically scarred and bears deep emotional wounds. Though physically gorgeous, her heroine—JolieBenoit—is carrying some serious baggage of her own. Together they battle the oppressive Order of Ananke.

Rebecca Rogers Maher’s Fault Lines deals with heavy issues, but tells the emotional tale of Sarah Murphy—a woman who is gorgeous and successful on the outside, but who deals with an ugly secret that is destroying her from the inside. Prompted by her relationship with photographer—Joe Sullivan—she begins to confront her dark past. He also begins dealing with his own difficult relationship with his father.

Fault LinesMy debut novel, Making the First Move, features two characters who are also struggling to deal with their past. Melanie Gordon bears deep emotional scars from the loss of her father and from a failed relationship. She believes that she’s incapable of having a lasting relationship and loses herself in her obsession with her career.

Raine Mason has deep, internal wounds that have completely changed his life and his sense of identity. He also bears physical wounds which serve as a constant reminder of past mistakes, including a devastating secret that threatens to shatter his relationship with Melanie.

Jamie Charles, the best friend character in Making the First Move, gets her own story in my next novel, Love Me Not, scheduled for release on December 30th. She’s been deeply affected by her mother’s addiction and her father’s abandonment. She wears her tough-girl exterior like an exoskeleton, designed to protect her heart. Only she never counted on Miles Copeland. He isn’t scared off by her prickly façade, and he’s determined to win her heart.

What about you? Are you drawn to damaged characters? Why or why not? Who are some of your favorite damaged characters?

Making the First Move is available at: | Barnes & Noble | Carina Press | Books-A-Million | iTunes | Amazon United Kingdom | Audible

Contest: Leave a comment then follow the link to enter to win the Making the First Move Blog Tour Grand Prize. A $25 Amazon or B&N gift card plus my book and four other sizzling contemporary romances being released this summer by fellow Carina Press authors.

Note: You’ll find a lengthy compilation of fiction featuring damaged characters on Goodreads here.


Reese Ryan writes sexy, contemporary fiction filled with colorful characters and sinfully-sweet romance. She secretly enjoys torturing her heroines with family and career drama, reformed bad boys, revealed secrets, and the occasional identity crisis, but always rewards them with a happily ever after. Visit Reese online at Follow her on Twitter @ReeseRyanWrites. Connect with her on Facebook or Goodreads.

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It’s easier to forgive a man who cooks

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I have a confession to make. I’m a tiny bit more in love with my hero in Betrayed by Trust than I am with my other heroes, and I fall in love with all of them. (What can I say? I’m easy.) But there’s just something about journalist Joe Rossi. Yes, he’s smart, charming, ambitious and outrageously handsome, but he can be ruthless when he’s after a story and he’s been known to manipulate his sources to get information they didn’t know they were parting with. Still.

It’s the ruthless, manipulative part of Joe that drives Catherine Morrissey out of his life. Before they ever meet in the flesh, Joe betrays a painful confidence to add credibility to a story, which hurts Catherine deeply.

 photo aad4cb5c-e8e7-40a3-b8f8-67dfe4aff702_zps4f43b330.jpgBetrayed by Trust is in a many ways Catherine’s journey of forgiveness. When the police give her the runaround on her sister’s murder, she reluctantly turns to Joe for help. As they work together to find a killer, she is forced to see the loving, generous man who has taken in his eight-year-old half-brother and the teenage daughter of a dying friend. She also discovers that he’s a dynamite cook!

In this scene, Joe has invited Catherine to his house for dinner with the kids so he can show her his files on her sister’s case.

As soon as Joe opened the door, Catherine’s nose was assaulted by an aroma so delicious she automatically closed her eyes and sniffed the air. He chuckled. She opened her eyes and was confronted by something even more mouthwatering—a big, handsome man grinning down at her, chocolate-brown eyes alight with amusement, wearing a black chef’s apron that said HAUT STUFF. Wasn’t that the truth.

Mike and Tiffany were by the stove, Tiffany stirring a big pot with a long wooden spoon while Mike chowed down on a thick slab of Italian bread coated in tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese. His eyes lit up when he saw her.

“Here, have a bite,” he said, holding his bread out to her. His little hand was greasy from the sauce, and he had an orange mustache around his mouth.

“Oh, Mike, that’s so gross,” Tiffany said. “She won’t want your piece.”

“How do you know?” he said.

“I’ll have a bite.” Catherine bent down so Mike could push the bread into her mouth. It tasted every bit as good as it smelled. “My taste buds just went to heaven,” she said when she’d swallowed it down.

Joe laughed. “It’s pretty good over linguine, too.”

Mmm, that brings back memories of sticking hunks of Italian bread into an enormous pot of bubbling sauce, shoving it into my mouth and savoring the flavor. Yum! When I was growing up we ate pasta two or three nights a week and every Sunday.  And my 100% Italian mother made the best spaghetti sauce on the entire planet. As a matter of fact, Joe Rossi uses the same recipe… ;)

How can she stay mad at him when he makes a great sauce (and looks so delicious in that apron)? And here’s what happens when she offers to clean up:

Joe grabbed the apron he’d discarded earlier and popped it over her head. It was huge on her, so he reached under her arms, crossed the ties behind her back, pulled them around in front of her and tied them at her waist. Then he slid his hands under her hair, grazing her neck, and lifted it out from under the top loop. In the process he tugged her head back, ever so gently, so that her face tilted up to his. She literally stopped breathing.

I think she’s well on the road to forgiveness, don’t you?

What kind of food could get you to forgive the man in your life? I’d love to know!

Just drop a comment in the box and tell me (don’t forget your email address) and I’ll send you a copy of Betrayed by Trust! A winner will be selected at random from all comments posted before 11:59pm EST on Sunday, July 14.

Happy reading! -Ana

Stay in touch with me by visiting my webpage:, on Facebook:, or on Twitter:

Betrayed by Trust is available at Carina Press: and anywhere ebooks are sold.