Sunday, September 29, 2019

#Review ~ Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne ~ @raeannethayne @SarahBurningham

My Review of Coming Home for Christmas: 

RaeAnne Thayne has a new book out and it's a Christmas Story! Woo hoo! I just adore Ms. Thayne's writing and I LOVE Christmas stories!  

I was so excited to get my hot little hands on a copy of Coming Home for Christmas and when I did I actually read this book in one sitting. I could not put it down there just was no way I could put it down without finding out more. There was a lot going on and I just had to see what was around the next corner. The characters are very well written and I quickly bonded with them. The storyline, oh my goodness the storyline is fabulous!

Elizabeth Hamilton suffered a horrific loss when both of her parents were killed. She loved them so much and the family was so close she had a horrible time trying to cope and pick up with life without them. When she found out she was pregnant with her first child she was thrilled but still felt the loss that her parents would never meet her child and her child would never meet her parents. postpartum depression hit her hard. When her second child was born not much later she thought it would help make things better. She once again suffered severe postpartum depression. She disappeared one night and no one has heard a peep out of her in seven years.

Her husband Luke adored his wife. He loved her so much and so wanted to help her. When she dsappeared it broke his heart. He has done his best with the help of his family to raise two incredible children on his own. This guy is truly one of the good guys. When he found out his wife was alive he went to bring her home to help answer some questions. I won't tell you too much about that. You are going to want to read this incredible book for your self.

Luke, his family, and his kids were all not very excited to see his wife but thrilled that she was alive. Luke doesn't know how to feel. This guy has a heart of gold and may come off gruff at times but under that gruffness is the hurt, disappointment and the guilt he feels that he couldn't help her more before she left. He finds out things about the time she has been gone and starts to see things in a little different light. 

Elizabeth's life has not been easy. She has been through a lot. I suggest grabbing the Kleenex box before you settle in to read. You just might need to wipe a few tears, I certainly know I did. I truly enjoyed watching Luke and Elizabeth get to know each other again and remember the good times in their past. There is just so much to say about this incredible story but I hate to spoil it for you. I will say there were times I just wasn't sure what was going to happen or if there was any chance these two could possibly put their family back together or if they wanted to. 

Ms. Thayne has a way of writing a story that really touches my heart, takes my feelings on an emotional roller coaster ride but then somehow manages to wrap it all up in a perfect ending. 

If you love emotional Christmas stories, are a fan of RaeAnne Thayne's already, enjoy small-town romance books or are just looking for one incredible story to read then you have to grab this book. This is part of the Haven Point series but it stands just fine on its own. If you have had the pleasure of reading the other books in this series then you are going to love the chance to catch up with old friends and see how things are going in their lives. See what the ladies of the Haven Point Helping Hands are working on, who might be expecting, and just how everyone is. I know I love a series where I can go visiting to catch up. It truly does seem like visiting old friends with Ms. Thayne's books. 

I was given the opportunity to read this fabulous story and it has been my pleasure to share my thoughts with you.

You may find more of my thoughts on RaeAnne Thayne's work here

About Coming Home for Christmas:
Hearts are lighter and wishes burn a little brighter at Christmas…

Elizabeth Hamilton has been lost. Trapped in a tangle of postpartum depression and grief after the death of her beloved parents, she couldn’t quite see the way back to her husband and their two beautiful kids…until a car accident stole away her memories and changed her life. And when she finally remembered the sound of little Cassie’s laugh, the baby powder smell of Bridger and the feel of her husband’s hand in hers, Elizabeth worried that they’d moved on without her. That she’d missed too much. That perhaps she wasn’t the right mother for her kids or wife for Luke, no matter how much she loved them.

But now, seven years later, Luke finds her in a nearby town and brings Elizabeth back home to the family she loves, just in time for Christmas. And being reunited with Luke and her children is better than anything Elizabeth could have imagined. As they all trim the tree and bake cookies, making new holiday memories, Elizabeth and Luke are drawn ever closer. Can the hurt of the past seven years be healed over the course of one Christmas season and bring the Hamiltons the gift of a new beginning?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

#NewRelease ~ When the Marquess was Mine by Caroline Linden ~ #HistoricalRomance @Caro_Linden

When the Marquess was Mine 

The Wagers of Sin Series

by Caroline Linden

About When the Marquess was Mine:

In the game of love…

Georgiana Lucas despises the arrogant and cruel Marquess of Westmorland even before learning that he’s won the deed to her friend Kitty’s home in a card game. Still, Georgiana assures Kitty the marquess wouldn’t possibly come all the way to Derbyshire to throw them out—until he shows up, bloody and unconscious. Fearing that Kitty would rather see him die, Georgiana blurts out that he’s her fiancĂ©. She’ll nurse the hateful man back to health and make him vow to leave and never return. The man who wakes up, though, is nothing like the heartless rogue Georgiana thought she knew…

You have to risk it all

He wakes up with no memory of being assaulted—or of who he is. The bewitching beauty tending him so devotedly calls him Rob and claims she’s his fiancĂ©e even as she avoids his touch. Though he can’t remember how he won her hand, he’s now determined to win her heart. But as his memory returns and the truth is revealed, Rob must decide if the game is up—or if he’ll take a chance on a love that defies all odds.

On Sale: September 24, 2019

ISBN: 9780062913593
E-ISBN: 9780062913609
Digital Audio ISBN: 9780062963123

****Note From Crystal..... I am reading this right now and it's a great story! Stay Tuned for my review soon!****

Buy Links:

Excerpt from When the Marquess was Mine:
Chapter One
 It was to be a bacchanal for the ages.
As Heathercote remarked, a man only turned twenty-nine once. Marlow pointed out that a man also only turned twenty-eight, or thirty, once as well, but they were well used to ignoring Marlow’s odd points of reason, and this one was promptly forgotten.
Heathercote planned the entire affair, inviting the most dashing, daring rogues and scoundrels in London. He declared it to be the invitation of the month, and that he’d turned away several fellows for lacking wit, style, or both. “You mean they aren’t up to your standard of mayhem,” said Westmorland, whose birthday it was, to which Heathercote mimed tipping his hat in acknowledgment.
After a raucous dinner at White’s, they decamped for the theater. The production was well under way when they invaded the pit in search of amusement. By the time the show ended, they had drunk a great deal of brandy, thrown oranges at the stage, and lost Clifton to the company of a prostitute.
Everyone’s memories ran a bit ragged after that, with vague recollections of singing in the streets and Marlow casting up his accounts somewhere in Westminster, but eventually they settled at the Vega Club. It was so late, the manager tried to dissuade them from play. Mr. Forbes knew every one of them could wager for hours, and the Vega Club closed its doors at dawn.
But Heathercote persuaded him to let them in and to give them the whist salon all to themselves. “We’ll leave by noon,” he promised, patting Forbes on the chest as he slid a handful of notes into the man’s hand. His words were remarkably steady for a man who’d been drinking for eight hours. Grim-faced, Forbes let them in, where they commandeered the main table and called for yet more wine.
A few intrepid souls followed them from the club proper. Forbes tried to stop them at the door, but Forester recognized one and waved them in. “We don’t mind winning their money,” he said with a hiccup.
They played whist, then switched to loo. One loser was dared to drink off the contents of his full flask in one go, which he did. The room filled with cigar smoke and ribald language, and the wagers grew extravagant. Marlow won a prize colt off Forester. Heathercote wagered his new phaeton and ended up with someone’s barouche. Sackville won the largest pot of the night, and everyone pelted him with markers.
And then one of the hangers-on spoiled it. He had the look of a country fellow new to London, with an arrogant bluster that was initially amusing but eventually turned annoying. He’d played well enough, winning a bit and losing with colorful curses that made the rest of them roar with laughter. But it became abruptly clear that Sir Charles Winston was in over his head when he wagered his house.
Marlow laughed. Heathercote picked up the scribbled note Winston had put forth and read it with one brow arched. “Can’t wager property, Winslow.”
The man was already ruddy from drink, and now he turned scarlet. “Can so! Your fellow wagered a horse.”
“Horses are portable,” said Forester, his Liverpool accent bleeding through. “Houses are not.”
“Houses are worth more!”
“Aye, too much more.” Heathercote flicked the note back across the table. “Markers.”
“I haven’t got any more markers,” muttered the younger man. For a moment everyone focused in surprised silence on the empty space in front of him. None of them had run out.
“Then fold your hand,” Forester told him. “You’re out!”
Winston’s chin set stubbornly. His mate tried to slide some markers toward him, but he angrily shoved them back. “Give me a chance to win it back.”
“All the more reason to walk away, if you’ve lost ‘em all.” Marlow waved one hand, nearly toppling out of his seat. Mr. Forbes, watching grimly from the corner, came forward. “Forbes, Windermere is done.”
“Sir Charles,” murmured the manager. “Perhaps it’s time to go.”
“Not yet!” Winston scowled at them all, shaking off his friend’s quiet attempts to get him to fold. “Not now, Farley! They got a chance to turn their luck. Why shouldn’t I?”
“Luck is like the wind,” said a new voice. Nicholas Dashwood, the owner of the Vega Club, stepped out of the shadows. “It rarely turns propitiously.”
Winston stubbornly sank lower in his seat. “I deserve ‘nother chance.”
Heathercote slung his arms over the back of his chair. “Well, West? What say you? Shall we let him stay and wager away everything he’s got?”
Lounging in his seat, the Marquess of Westmorland looked up in irritation. “Really ought to go, Winsmore.”
“Wins-less, more like,” snickered Marlow.
Winston sat up straighter in his seat. “Please, my lord.”
“Oh, let him ruin himself,” muttered Forester, shuffling his cards restlessly.
The marquess lifted one shoulder. “Damned if I care.”
“Sir Charles,” said Dashwood evenly, “do not wager what you cannot afford to lose.”
Winston scooped up the scribbled paper and added a line, signing his name with a flourish. “I won’t, sir.”
But he did. Within four hands, he’d won a bit and then lost it all—including the deed. Suddenly he did not look so belligerent or so stubborn. He looked young and quite literally green, staring at the winning hand, lying on the table.
“Should have listened,” said the unsympathetic Heathercote. “Should have left.”
Winston puffed up furiously. “Should have known better than to play with the likes of you!”
“Di’n’t y’know that before you sa’ down?” Marlow’s words slurred together. “Stupid bloody fool!”
“That’s my home!”
“And you risked it at loo!” Heath made a derisive noise. “Idiot.”
Winston was the color of beets. “Don’t call me that.”
Sackville raised one brow. “No? ’S not your home anymore.” He reached out and plucked the scrawled paper from the pile of markers and examined it, although his eyes never quite managed to focus on it. “It ‘pears to be West’s.”
His friends howled with laughter. “He doesn’t need it,” cried Winston. He made a convulsive grab for the paper before his lone remaining friend caught his arm. “He’s got a dozen houses!”
“Set it up as a brothel, West,” suggested Forester. “And give all your mates discounted fees.”
“Free!” yelped Marlow with a wheezing laugh.
Winston drew a furious breath, but instead of continuing the fight he turned and rushed from the room, rather unsteadily; he wrestled with the door, and then almost tripped on his way out, causing more howls of laughter from the table. His friend helped him back onto his feet before the door closed on them both.
“Who invited him?” asked Heathercote in disdain.
“Ballocks,” mumbled Marlow, putting his head down on the table. “Never did. Was Forester.”
Forester made a rude gesture. “I vouched for the other man, Farley.”
“Your friends are all bad ton,” said Sackville.
Forester’s face tightened. He rose and swung his wineglass into the air in a toast, spilling some. “Thank you all for a most exciting evening, gentlemen.” Pointedly he bowed only to Viscount Heathercote and Lord Westmorland. Sackville repaid him with a rude gesture at Forester’s back.
Heathercote protested, but Forester waved him off and left. With Marlow asleep on the table and Sackville still giggling drunkenly to himself, Westmorland placed his hands on the table, hesitated as if gathering strength, then heaved himself to his feet. “The carriages, Dashwood.”
Stone-faced, the owner left. Westmorland surveyed the table. “Did I win the last?”
“Aye,” said Heathercote with a wide yawn.
“Credit it all, Forbes,” said the marquess. “God above, I’m tired.”
As expressionless as his employer, the manager stepped forward. With an air of distaste, he picked up the deed promise and held it out. “I cannot credit this, my lord.”
West stared at it. “Damn. Right.” He stuffed it into the pocket of his jacket and staggered out into the morning sunlight with Heathercote, never guessing the trouble that wagered deed was about to cause him.

About the Author: 

Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard College and wrote computer software before turning to fiction. Since then the Red Sox have won the World Series four times, which is probably not related but still worth mentioning. Her books have won the NJRW Golden Leaf Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA's RITA Award, and been translated into seventeen languages.

Join her VIP readers' newsletter at to get informed about new books, special bonus features, and a free short story exclusively for members. She can also be found on Facebook (@AuthorCarolineLinden), Instagram (@linden.caroline), and Twitter (@Caro_Linden).

Thursday, September 19, 2019

#Review ~ The Duchess in His Bed By Lorraine Heath ~ @Lorraine_Heath @AvonBooks

The Duchess in His Bed (Sins for All Seasons) by [Heath, Lorraine]
The Duchess in His Bed 
Sins for All Seasons Series Book 4
By Lorraine Heath

My Review: 
I have to say Lorraine Heath became a must-read for me from the very first time I had the pleasure of reading one of her books. I LOVE the Sins for All Seasons series. The Trewlove family captured my attention and they haven't lost it yet. Being a part of this family means that there is someone to have your back at all times and they are an all for one family. They may not all be related by blood but they are by love. 

Aiden Trewlove is busy running his new business that allows women to "sin" in a club made just for them to have fun doing the things that men do in their "clubs". He has one major rule NOT to get involved with the clients. He's happy doing what he does and isn't looking for a romance and certainly not a happily ever after, even though his siblings are finding their perfect mates lately.

Selena Sheffield, Duchess of Lushing has just lost her husband and there is NO heir to the title. She has the weight of her family on her shoulders. She has three younger sisters that are going to be in need of finding "good" matches to marry. Selena doesn't know what to do but follows up on her brother's suggestion to try to get with child quickly and say it belongs to her lost husband. 

Selena's choice is Aiden Trewlove. She had no plans to start to feel anything for Aiden. Their relationship might have started off with her plan to get pregnant and Aiden being intrigued by this beautiful woman who he wants to get to know better. The more time Selena and Aiden spend together the more their connections grows. A friendship grows and then blooms into a passion and some very heated moments.

I don't want to reveal too much. I know you are going to want to grab The Duchess in His Bed for yourself. I will say I truly enjoyed watching these two get to know each, solve a few major problems together, and how Aiden interacted with his sister and with Selena's sisters. You can tell this guy has a heart of gold. He is just used to keeping it hidden from everyone but those that truly know him.  These two just might be able to find a happily ever after together but they have a bunch of things that they will have to work through and deal with if they are going to get that happily ever after that neither of them was looking for. 

The storyline has interesting twists and turns that force Selena to have to make decisions not only for herself but her sisters are well. It is always interesting when the family plays a part in the storyline. It just adds more to the storyline and helps us understand the main characters better. I loved catching up with Trewloves that I had the pleasure of meeting in the previous books in this series. This is the fourth book in the Sins for All Seasons Series but it will stand on its own just fine. All three of the books in this series stand just fine by themselves but the previous two books are REALLY good so you may want to think about grabbing those now too.  

If you are a Lorraine Heath fan, like me, you are going to love this book. If you enjoy a steamy historical romance but have not tried Lorraine Heath yet, try this one! Try this whole series, honestly, I am positive you will not be disappointed. 

I was given the opportunity to read this incredible story and it has been my great pleasure to share my thoughts with you.

Amazon Buy Link:

You may find my reviews on Lorraine Heath other books here. 

About The Duchess in His Bed:

The Duchess in His Bed (Sins for All Seasons) by [Heath, Lorraine]For a duchess with practical desires, falling in love is an inconceivable part of her plan…
 As owner of the Elysium Club which caters to women’s fantasies, Aiden Trewlove is accustomed to introducing adventurous ladies to sin and vice. But he is uncharacteristically intrigued by the mysterious beauty who visits his club one night, yearning to indulge in the forbidden—with him. Drawn to her indomitable spirit, he breaks his rule of never becoming personally involved with his clientele and is determined to fully awaken her desires.
A recent widow, Selena Sheffield, Duchess of Lushing, has never known passion, not until Aiden’s slow, sensual seduction leads her on a journey of discovery and incredible pleasure. But her reasons for visiting the notorious club are not all that they seem.
As Selena’s motives become complicated by love, she finds herself with a most unexpected choice: forge ahead with a secret plan that could secure her future—or follow her heart which could prove ruinous.

Amazon Buy Link:

Monday, September 16, 2019

#Review ~ Handsome Rancher By Lori Wilde and Liz Alvin ~ @LoriWilde

Handsome Rancher (Handsome Devils Book 1) by [Wilde, Lori, Alvin, Liz]
Handsome Rancher 
Handsome Devils Book 1   
By Lori Wilde and Liz Alvin

My Review: 

If you love really good Cowboy Stories then I bet you already have Lori Wilde at the top of your list of must-read authors. If not you really need to check out a few of her books. I think she will quickly go to the top of your list, just like she did mine. Ms. Wilde can write an incredible cowboy story that is hot and steamy or sweet and melty. All of her books are beyond marvelous!

Lori Wilde and Liz Alvin have a new sweet romance cowboy series, Handsome Devils. The first book in the series is Handsome Rancher and is a phenomenal start to what I am sure is going to be a stupendous new series. I can not wait to read the next book in the series. 

Chase Barrett doesn't believe in true love or marriage. This guy is just fine staying single and just spending time with his friend Megan Kendall. He is just fine with being best friends. Megan has wanted more though for a while and she's ready to try to show Chase just how she feels. With Chase's sister pulling a few strings, pushing them together, and doing her best to get them both to see their love for each other is more than friendship things get interesting really quick.

Chase and Megan already have a friendship so it was a blast to watch these two finding their way into a new relationship. There is plenty of comedy that truly had me laughing out loud, there is the family involvement which is a bit sweet and a bit naughty, then there is the romance when Chase slowly discovers that he does have more than friendship feelings for Megan and Megan know she loves Chase. This is one of those books that I finished in one sitting because there was NO WAY I could put it down until I found out just what was going to happen with Chase and Megan. 

If you love Cowboy stories then you really need to check out Handsome Rancher, if you love sweet romance stories you need to check out Handsome Rancher, or if you just plain love a good story add this one to your list. I truly do not think you will be disappointed. Lori Wilde and Liz Alvin have a phenomenal new series and I know I sure can not wait to see what they have in store for us lucky readers next.

I was given the opportunity to read this fantabulous story and it has been my great pleasure to share my thoughts with you.

You may find more of my reviews on Lori Wilde's Work here

About Handsome Rancher:
Handsome Rancher (Handsome Devils Book 1) by [Wilde, Lori, Alvin, Liz]Chase Barrett, is on the bachelor block thanks to his matchmaking sister, Leigh. She’s determined to do away with her three overprotective brothers—but in the nicest possible way!

She’s got Megan Kendall finally doing something about her hidden, long-held feelings for Chase—the rancher’s always insisted there’s no such thing as true love. But will Megan and the Barrett family turn Chase into a true believer instead?

Handsome Rancher is the first book in the humorous romantic Handsome Devils series by Lori Wilde and Liz Alvin.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

#NewRelease ~ The Rancher’s Family by Barbara White Daille ~ @BarbaraWDaille

The Rancher’s Family 
The Hitching Post Hotel Book 7
by Barbara White Daille

About The Rancher’s Family:
“Are you my new mommy?”

She certainly hopes so…

After a devastating loss, Cara Leonetti’s dreams of a husband and children are on hold. But Cowboy Creek’s local matchmaker thinks otherwise! And Cara finds herself unexpectedly entangled in the day-to-day family chaos of widower Wes Daniels and his two small children. She’s falling hard, but the strong, silent rancher doesn’t trust in love. Can Cara put her own fears aside and show Wes that they’re stronger together?

Buy Links for The Rancher’s Family:
Barnes & Noble


An excerpt from The Rancher’s Family:
Wes scuffed one foot on the floor, wanting to kick himself for blurting out that remark about charity. Why give the woman ideas?

“The Garlands are good friends. And I imagine Andi’s plans are on the level,” he admitted, “but I wouldn’t put it past Jed to… Never mind.” He would see Jed himself. From the time he was a child Mark’s age, he’d looked up to the man. That wouldn’t keep him from calling him out on his interference. Jed had a reputation for knowing everything that went on in Cowboy Creek. Not one-hundred-percent true. There were things his old friend didn’t—and would never—know about him.

“I’ll show you Patty’s craft stuff before I head out,” he told Cara. “We’ve got a spare bedroom. Patty converted it into her office and stored everything there. It’s at the far end of this hall.”

He hesitated at the office doorway. It had been more than a year since he’d set foot in here. If he had his choice, he wouldn’t enter it again. Coward.

As though someone had shoved him between the shoulder blades, he shot through the door and didn’t stop till he reached the center of the room.

When Cara followed, he gestured toward the multiple storage chests and dressers, the stacks of boxes, the closed but—as he well remembered—overflowing closet. “Everything’s packed full. But I don’t know much about what Patty stockpiled in here.”

Her eyes widened. “This is all inventory she’d planned to sell?”

He nodded. “As I said, she spent a lot of time on her crafts.”

“I can see that. Mind if I browse?”

“That’s why we’re here.” He leaned against the doorframe, watching her check out the contents of half a dozen boxes and bins.

“Amazing. If all the rest is like this, Andi should be thrilled to have it for her start-up stock, if you’re interested.”

“That’ll work.”

“Great. Then once I finish up in your bedroom, I’ll start making an inventory in here. It’s going to take time, though less of it if I can work from an existing list. I’d guess your wife made one.” She glanced around the room. “Do you have a computer?”

“Not me. Patty did. A laptop. I’ll get it out when you’re ready for it.”

“Since you said you’ll be gone most of the day, if you don’t mind, I’d like to take a look at it before you go. The sooner the better, don’t you think?”

“You read my mind,” he said truthfully. Just as he’d read the look in her steady gaze. Her eyes held the same sympathy they had the night before. He’d seen too much of that from too many people this year.

Somehow, last night, he’d imagined he could accept her help. That with her being a stranger, her sympathy wouldn’t bother him. Now he wished he’d never opened the door this morning.


About Barbara:

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too! Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:

Find out more about Barbara and her books:

Saturday, September 7, 2019

#FreeBook ~ Bedeviled By Madison Michael ~ @madisonmichael_

The Beguiling Bachelors, Book 3
By Madison Michael

♥♥♥ ~ Free September 7th - September 10th Only ~ ♥♥♥

About Bedeviled:

If You Build Your Love on Lies, You Better Run Faster than the Truth

Newly appointed Finance Director, Charlotte Roche escaped dangers lurking in Boston by moving to Chicago. A new name, a new beginning - all built on lies. Believing she is safe, Charlotte drops her guard and sets her sights on her ruggedly handsome and wildly sexy running partner, Alexander Gaines. Can she advance their relationship from the track to the bedroom and still maintain her charade? or will Alex's probing questions pierce her carefully rehearsed story?

Alex, with unrevealed secrets of his own, struggles to hold the irresistible Charlotte at arm’s length. But when Charlotte sustains a suspicious injury, Alex seizes the opportunity to cuddle up to the sassy beauty. Does he dare risk his reputation, his fortune, his friends, and his heart by letting her get close?

How can they build a bond with deceit on both sides? With exposure imminent, their freshly forged relationship is in jeopardy and so are their lives. Can their love survive or are they bedeviled? 

Join Alex and Charlotte, in this steamy romance, the third in the five-star rated Beguiling Bachelor series. The suspense builds as the characters you’ve met and loved in “Bedazzled” and “Beholden” help tackle the maze of half-truths and cover-ups threatening the lovers.

Genre: Steamy Romantic Suspense

Amazon Buy Link:

Excerpt from Bedeviled:

Keeping his mind on the topic always took all of Alex’s effort anyway. When Charlotte sat hip-to-hip with him as she had today, he felt the heat of her skin, saw the long length of thigh exposed in front of him, heard her heavy post-run breathing until he was in sensory overload. She smelled so good, not stinky and sweaty like he must. She smelled classy and expensive with all those clean, floral scents. She smelled like a woman he could trust.
More like a woman I want to trust.
Thinking back, Alex recognized that she had been hiding something all along. When he wasn’t lost in a sensual fog, he was able to zero in on where the conversations lagged, when she got testy with his probing or tried to change the subject. It had something to do with her life in Boston before she moved to Chicago and it was something that had been going on for a while. She was practiced at her excuses by the time she used them on him. She was making too many trips back East for ‘Harvard stuff.’ She had met Regan Howe through this same ‘Harvard stuff’ yet Regan went back to her alma mater only once or twice a year, if that.
Oh yeah, Charlotte is definitely up to something and I intend to find out what. I have been patient long enough.
Sitting waiting now for Charlotte to arrive at Starbucks, Alex promised himself that he would get to the bottom of this or walk away.
Since she had declined his offer of a ride, Alex currently sat at a shady outside table enjoying the last of summer, waiting for her to walk over and speculating on her possible secrets. He was planning his subtle interrogation during the few minutes Charlotte would need to make her way across the park,
Stubborn. She should have just accepted the ride.
You driving over or walking?” she had asked him, once they caught their breath.
“I have the car if you want a ride?” When she hesitated, he tried tempting her. “I have the new car.”
Alex was the proud owner of a brand new Mercedes AMG. The sleek, luxury sports car suited him despite most people’s image of him as logical, conservative and staid. The need for speed was actually deep in his blood. “You will love it, tight on the curves, fast and quiet. She purrs,” he had bragged.
Charlotte hesitated on his last remark and Alex had been sure she would accept. “The new car, huh?” she sounded intrigued. “I am excited to see it at last, Alex. You have certainly been talking about it long enough.”
“I need to walk off this tight hamstring, so I’ll have to pass this time,” she had replied reluctantly. “Meet you there in five.” Of course, Charlotte had been Charlotte, and that included being unpredictable.
Charlotte, leaving Alex standing there, had taken off across the park without a backward glance. Alex stood dumbfounded a moment, watching her slow jog-walk toward the trail across the grassy lawns of Lincoln Park. She was heading directly toward their usual post-run Starbucks and if he didn’t get moving, she would be there first.
Still he stood, willing her to look back and flash him that smile that changed her whole face. She didn’t, of course, and Alex was left standing there, admiring her lithe figure and the smooth bunch and release of her muscles in those tiny running shorts as she moved into the distance. Reminding himself to close his gaping mouth, Alex jogged to the parking lot, trading an extra moment of admiring a beautiful woman for a few short moments admiring his beautiful new car.
Arriving at the coffee shop several minutes before Charlotte, Alex was forced to cool his heels. He spent the time piecing together anything he could think of to uncover Charlotte’s deep, dark, secret. Admittedly, he needed the ten-minute head start away from her to give his overheated blood a little cooling time too. He kept envisioning the two of them in that sweet ride, sitting close with their sweat-slicked bodies. The image had intensified the jolts of.electricity already coursing through his veins from running beside her scantily clothed body.
Too bad she turned me down. One of these days we will be in tight quarters, all alone, and I will make my move. I have resisted too long already.
Since the mention of her tight hamstring, all Alex could think about was massaging her leg, and moving up from there. Did the woman not understand what she was doing to him? After all, he was a healthy red-blooded man. How long was he supposed to watch her round little ass wiggle in front of him, or the glide of muscles in those incredible legs – or OMG – her breasts bob up and down in those little running tops. The woman was killing him. He wanted her so badly he could taste it.
He chided himself to stop thinking of her that way, as he always did when he lusted after her. He would catch himself wanting her and repress the overwhelming sexual response that had plagued him since the beginning. She was so much more than just beautiful and sexy. She was a brilliant woman, funny, witty, complex and delightful. She considered him a running partner, and a friend…
…but that body, oh, that body. Stop it!
Alex determined to stay focused on what she might be trying to cover up and got his desire under control. He reviewed the signs – when she changed topics or failed to make eye contact. He carefully dissected her words while he waited for her to arrive. He knew she was being intentionally elusive. Alex resolved again that today would be the day he found out what she was concealing, beginning as soon as she arrived.
Speaking of arriving, Charlotte should have shown up long before now. She would have, unless something had happened. How long had he been sitting, pondering? How much time had passed?
Heart racing like a freight train, Alex ran into the park. Unsure why, he was terrified of what he might find.

About Madison Michael: 

Madison Michael is an indie publisher, blogger and the author of the Beguiling Bachelor Series as well as the novella Desire & Dessert, from her sizzling B&B Billionaire Bachelor series.

A Chicago native and hopeless romantic, Maddy was raised on Chicago culture, fairy tales, great literature and swashbuckling movies. Maddy employs that history, writing steamy contemporary romance novels set against the sumptuous backdrop of Chicago’s elite society.

After receiving a BA in Journalism from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago, Madison abandoned her writing to find her way in the corporate business world. Daughter of a librarian, it was inevitable that she would return to the world of books.

Maddy writes from high above Chicago where she can stare at its gorgeous skyline or the shores of Lake Michigan surrounded by feline assistants. When she is not writing,, Maddy can be found lost in a book, fighting for the rights of the mentally iil or dining on Chicago’s famous cuisine. Hot dogs and pizza, anyone?

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