Saturday, October 31, 2020

#SciFiFantasySaturday #Daybreak


Title: Daybreak

            A Howl in the Night Book four

Author: Courtney Rene

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance

Book Heat Level: 2


Buy at: AmazonBarnes and NobleApple,KoboGoogle Play


Read first chapter




Life goes on with Abby struggling to find her way in the world of the shape shifters. Just when things look like they are settling down and she is settling in, chaos hits. 


BLURB: Daybreak


Time moves forward as Abby continues her struggle and fight, to find her way in the world of the shape shifters, as well as her place within her own family and clans. Just when things look like they are finally settling down and she is settling in, chaos strikes. The wolf clans are not as closed and as tight-knit a community as Abby had been led to believe. There are others out in the world, that include shapeshifters and Hunterz alike, and they are finding their way to her, as currently she is the only young female shifter around.



EXCERPT: Daybreak


Without saying anything, we headed out toward where the forest met the open grassy area. As we got closer to the forest, the faster I walked. Derek picked up the pace as well. Soon we were running barefoot across the grass full out toward the trees. I was laughing freely. Derek looked at me with a full-on toothy smile. That moment was pure happiness.

As we neared the forest, I stripped off my shirt and shorts. Derek did the same. I hesitated to remove the last of my clothes, but it was necessary to shift. Derek didn’t have any hesitation. He dropped his boxers and shifted in one smooth motion. I could do the same if I wanted, but not so much with an audience. As Derek was busy shifting, I also tossed my bra and panties and shifted quickly.

My body stretched and contorted to the shape of a wolf. A bit bigger than your standard, everyday wild wolf, and I was a beautiful one at that. Sleek shiny coat. My eyes retained the blue of my human self, so they were striking in my wolf form. I was pretty hot as a wolf. I just was.

Derek may be fine running about naked and free, but I was not. I wondered if I ever would be and would it actually be a good thing? Then all thoughts and worries were gone. We just ran. We raced through the trees. Jumped over obstacles made up of fallen branches and logs.

I felt elated and edgy at the same time. While in human form, I had more control of my emotions and feelings. In the form of my wolf it was more about instinct and needs. Like with meat, I could turn away from it without much issue as a human, but the moment the wolf came to the forefront, it was not as easy and in fact almost impossible. Food was not what my wolf was interested in though right then. The edginess in her was due to something way different.

The wolf and I were one being; we were one of the few shapeshifters who had been able to find a balance between the two entities. I was in fact the first, but my Great Aunt Lilly had been able to do it a few months back. This was proof it was possible to do, but so far, not many had. Two, in fact, had done it. Just two.

However, even with the balance, my wolf part and my human part, we each gave the other side more control depending on what shape we were using. As a wolf, I used the wolf’s needs and instincts and allowed them to have more say as that was the wolf’s area of expertise. As a human, the human needs and instincts took more power. The two sides intermingled well, but sometimes one side took control when it wasn’t its turn, but for the most part, I handled both aspects well.

I had a vague feeling I was about to be a little out of my element. I was acutely aware Derek’s wolf was right behind me. Almost on top of me. My body felt warm and my muscles were humming with tension. We were coming to a wide path and I slowed my pace to allow Derek to catch up and pace next me. I slowed us even more and moved in closer to him so I could brush my long body against his.

His dark face whipped around to stare at me. Wolves don’t really smile. Even as a shifter, they don’t smile. Our emotions and language are all in our eyes and our body movement. I turned my head just a bit to stare back at him, my head at a cocky angle and my eyes closing just enough to give off a sultry look. Or what I assumed was sultry. I hadn’t exactly flirted before in the wolf form.



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Friday, October 30, 2020

#Friday'sFeaturedTitle #BloodVeins


Blood Veins

Brian Young


Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level: 1


Buy at Amazon



BLURB: Blood Veins 


A black wave of terror has passed over the thriving kingdom of Larista. Mysterious invaders have swept over the land, laying waste to everything in their path and leaving ghost towns in their wake. No one knows where they came from and no one knows their purpose.


Tasting nothing but defeat after defeat, the light of hope is fading in the kingdom; but the guerilla forces resisting the invasion have received new information. The news has provided a small glimmer that could possibly spark into something more. Captain Maximus Rex leads a daring rescue mission deep in the Laristan forests to save the lone surviving member of the royal family.


Once freed, Prince Alexander Novelle, along with his friends and comrades, face a perilous journey deep behind enemy lines. Their destination is Castle Varanasi. The once proud Laristan capital, gateway to heaven and salvation, lines in ruins under Dolus occupation.


Mysterious assassins, underworld savages and renegade Dolus survivors stand between them and the answers they seek. What they find there will shatter their perceptions and lead to unknown perils none of them are ready to face.


REVIEW: Blood Veins


It's Raining Books Review: Blood Veins


"This author has a way of making his characters come to life so that you can really get to know them and begin to understand their reasons for doing what they are doing. He even made the bad guys real and helped you understand them also. Sometimes I wanted to stop reading because I had things to do, or because I wanted to prolong the story, but I also wanted to know what was really going on and how it would end.

Then, more than halfway through the story, I found out something very significant about this strange world and just what it really was. It made the story even more exciting. This book has the feel of a movie with vivid descriptions, exciting plot and a cast of interesting characters that I truly cared about. I can't wait for the next book in the series!

I give this book a 4 flower rating."




EXCERPT: Blood Veins


Maximus and Percival couldn't have looked any different. Maximus had brown eyes and raven black hair. His face was weathered and rugged with a distinguished long nose. A small white scar on his left cheek marked where the tip of a sword had nearly taken his eye. Percival, on the other hand, showed no signs of the burdens the two men had shared. He had a smooth complexion unmarred by the usual signs of a soldier's life. Wide eyes and a small nose framed his face. Some people said he was so handsome he was almost pretty; a sentiment most people didn't say to his face or after they had seen him fight.


They both were wearing green and brown camouflage, full-body armor. It was valuable and rare and could easily deflect a blade; could even deflect a firearm and was extremely lightweight. Most soldiers were wearing plate armor made from steel. This stuff was made of a composite containing ceramic and metal. The results were much stronger and lighter plates. They also had full helmets that completely enclosed the head and face. The visors were brand new with motion detectors, full zoom, night vision and a host of other functions.


Normally Maximus liked to play things by the book, but Percival was a special case and he couldn't help but rise to the bait.


"Maybe," he responded, "but we both know you couldn't hit anything with it. All you're good for is using a beat stick, Lieutenant; besides, I'm a lot more important than you. People care if I get killed; you're replaceable, expendable." It took everything he had to keep a smile off his face.


A look of mock horror passed over the lieutenant's face. "Not funny, Maxi, not funny. They sure wouldn't miss your winning personality though. Are you ready to get out of this rain yet?" Percival didn't even bother to hide his smile.


All humor drained from Maximus as he turned and glared at Percival. "Don't call me that Percy, besides I like the rain. Do you talk to Lord Bran that way, Lieutenant?"


Maximus shifted a little as he spoke, trying to relieve the pressure from the arm he had been laying on. The movement only seemed to make it tingle more.


Percival had been grinning before, but now that smile split his face, turning it from rugged soldier back to the baby-faced, optimistic look he managed to maintain despite years of fighting.


"You know I don't, but I might consider starting if it will keep him from sending us out in this nightmare in the middle of winter. It's cold enough to be snowing, Maxi. My sword is stuck in its sheath. I couldn't get it out if I wanted to." Percival mock-tugged at the sword on his belt. "See, completely stuck. We better trade spots."


Maximus glanced at Percival's sword then at the giant ax strapped to his back. I don't think I've ever seen him draw his sword anyway.It was Maximus' turn to smile this time, although it was more of a predatory grin than anything he would share with a friend. "It's alright, Lieutenant, we all know you'll be hiding once the fighting starts anyway."


Percival shrugged at Maximus then turned his head to stare at the river. Maximus waited for him to make some kind of comeback, and at first thought Percival had conceded the argument. Percival started to whistle and Maximus had to strain his ears to pick up the tune. He instantly recognized it once he heard a couple notes. It was a song about the events that had given Blood River its current name. This one happened to be about a cowardly captain who had abandoned his men on the eve of battle and the lieutenant who had taken over and rallied the men to victory.


Maximus snorted and turned away to hide the smile on his face. He had been upset about the current mission, thinking about scrubbing it before Percival came out here. Somehow, like always, Percival had been able to read his mood and turn it around. They had been friends for a long time and while Percival had never shown any inclination to lead, Maximus suspected he would make a damn good captain. Continuing to look out towards the rushing river, Maximus decided to get to the point. "Do you have a reason for wasting my time, Lieutenant?"


Percival sighed and the smile died from his face. "Targets sighted; they turned the bend about five minutes ago." Percival pointed south down the length of the river. "They should be here in about fifteen. No signs they spotted us."


Finally. Maximus nodded as he listened to Percy, his mind focusing on the reason they were out here in the first place. "Packages?" he asked as he glanced back at Percival.


Percival squinted into the distance, a habit he had when he had a mixed opinion about something. "In tow, Sir, but no conformation either way on the prime target."


Maximus noticed the slight frown on Percival's face and the reservation in his eyes. "He will be there, Percival. Don't worry about it. Formations?"


Percival drew his lips back and sucked on his teeth before answering. "Staggered. Troops, packages, troops, packages… more troops. It's not gonna be easy."


Maximus knew Percival was probing him, trying to test his resolve. They had suffered heavy casualties their last time out and for what? The few people they had saved had fled to their homes. Most likely to be picked up again and sent back to the mines.


"It never is Percy," Maximus looked up into the rain. We're here to rescue these people, but the conquerors have changed tactics on us. Your men are good shots, but nobody is that good. "We'll have to charge in to them. Tell Richardson, Davil, Willks and Klivos to hang back and use their bows. Richardson and Davil will take the front of the column. Willks and Klivos will take the back. Both pair will stay on the hill as snipers and backup. Only clear shots. Everyone else, swords or their beat sticks of choice. I have Alexander's guards." He glanced at Percival to gauge his reaction and got nothing.


"I hate beat sticks," grumbled Percival, completely ignoring the reference to Alexander.


Maximus realized Percival wasn't going to think about their primary package until Alexander was confirmed, but Percival had good reason to be skeptical. They had hit several prisoner convoys based on reliable information and had failed every time. They could only hope this one would be different. The general population and most of the army had already written Alexander off as dead. No one had seen Alexander killed at the battle of Valhalisa, and there was still the occasional report of someone sighting a man matching his profile.


Maximus gave Percy a nod and a grim smile. "It's what you're good at, Percy. We don't have a choice. We can't risk hitting any of the prisoners." As he spoke he watched a look of trepidation grow on Percival's face. "What's wrong?" 


"What if he's not down there?" Percival sighed. "I can't handle this. We keep hitting these convoys, and he's not there. We lose good men every time, and the people we free don't even join us. They run off to hide and die. Eventually the conquerors are going to start guarding these convoys better and changing the routes. We are only going to get so many more chances at this."


"Losing your faith?"


A rare spark of anger flashed across Percival's face. "Never."


Percival wasn't the only one capable of manipulation. "We aren't here just for him. We would go through with this even if we knew he wasn't down here. It's our duty to help these people. Some of them have joined us. Emon was worth it. Without his medical skills we would have lost a lot more people to injury and sickness." Maximus thought of the unlikely doctor. One of the biggest, meanest looking guys he had ever met; a giant grizzly next to Alexander's lion frame. The man wouldn't hurt a soul. Emon spent his life trying to help people after his sister died of the sickness when they were kids. Maximus had even heard rumors Emon had spent time with the Sisters of Gnaritas.


Percival shook his head. "It's our duty to kill that murdering, traitorous scum, Novelle, and free everyone. Not just these people here today. We can't do that on our own though. We need him or no one will follow us."


Maximus cocked his head and looked quizzically at Percy. "You know both their names are Novelle, right? Not to mention there's no proof Prodis is responsible for this. I doubt Alexander would appreciate you calling his brother a murdering, traitorous scum."


It was clear Percival was convinced Prodis was responsible and all he gave in response was a short grunt.


"Anyway," Maximus continued, "If Alexander is down there and we don't go in, we will have missed our best and possibly our only chance at freeing him. We go."


Percival's face went blank as he barked out, "Yes Sir."


The captain sighed, his breath showing in the crisp cold air. The rain had started to let up, and it seemed the temperature had dropped another ten degrees as the chill renewed its assault against his rain soaked cold weather gear. "I hate it when you call me Sir. It means you disagree with me, or you're mad at me"


Percy gave his Captain a half grin. "First, if I can't call you Maxi and I can't call you Sir, what am I suppose to call you? Second, I do agree with you. I just know when you need someone else to voice your inner thoughts and help you sort things out. Lastly, I'll make sure everyone is ready." Percival finished with his customary grin. 


"I hate you sometimes, Lieutenant."


Percival shrugged and turned to pass the plans along to the rest of the squad.




Percivalturned to face Maximus. "Yeah Max?"


Maximus had been staring out at the river but turned back to look at Percival. "Cut true and straight, and for God's sake man, block well."


Percival smiled at Maximus' rare prayer and finished it for him. "You too, Max, and Creator save us all."



It's Raining Books Review:


"This author has a way of making his characters come to life so that you can really get to know them and begin to understand their reasons for doing what they are doing. He even made the bad guys real and helped you understand them also. Sometimes I wanted to stop reading because I had things to do, or because I wanted to prolong the story, but I also wanted to know what was really going on and how it would end.

Then, more than halfway through the story, I found out something very significant about this strange world and just what it really was. It made the story even more exciting. This book has the feel of a movie with vivid descriptions, exciting plot and a cast of interesting characters that I truly cared about. I can't wait for the next book in the series!

I give this book a 4 flower rating."



Book Whiz

Rating: 4 stars

I must say, I did dive into this book with pretty low expectations. The cover looked as if the book wouldn’t really grab my attention, but boy was I wrong. As the ubiquitous English idiom would say: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. This book keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole story; it’s very stressful and tension-inducing – in a good way. With all these exciting characters and its action-packed plot, this story kept me guessing the entire time.

This author has a really wonderful grasp on story building. The characters are really great and each brings a unique aspect to the book. I loved the members of the “team”, Percival, Briah, Alexander, Maximus, Klivos, Willks – I’ve grown quite attached to them. There is great action in this book; it’s very engaging and tension-filled. I felt like the plot was actually going somewhere, it has a purpose. Also, the subplots were tied together really well. You know, that moment when Lady Wieven explained everything about Jameson and the you-know-what. It all just fits together beautifully. This book had a lot of POV switches, but, surprisingly, they weren’t annoying. I enjoyed them! They were excellent and very well-paced. My favourite POVs were that of Percival and Briah. And no, that isn’t me making pterodactyl noises.

Now that we’ve discussed the more enjoyable points of the book, let’s talk about a few things that weighed the book down. The author has a tendency to simultaneously drop huge amounts of information on you; this can get very disorienting and confusing. When this happens, I’ve found that I just stared at the page, rereading it over and over, in order to completely absorb the information. It’s very time-consuming. The author also describes things too much. For example, sometimes I’d find a whole paragraph just describing a hallway. Characters keep getting introduced to the story faster than I can memorize their names and remember their faces. In the beginning of the book, I had to repeatedly go back and check which character was which. As a result, the excessive details make the book seem a bit sluggish paced.

Once you get past all these points, it’s actually a great book – though there are still a few unanswered questions I’d like to know the answer to. What are Brother Mables’ motives? Who is he working with? Who were the Dolus running from? What were the Dolus frantically looking for in Larista? Hopefully, they’ll be answered in the second book of the trilogy.

Overall, this was a suspenseful book with dynamic characters and an engaging plot. The author’s writing style is descriptive, lively, and full of action. I’d recommend this to anyone who is looking for an exciting book to keep them on the edge of their seat. Until next time!






Thursday, October 29, 2020

#Lakota/Pinkerton #BoxedSet #HistoricalRomance


Title: Lakota-Pinkerton Series Boxed Set

Author: Christine Young



Genre: Historical Romance

Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: Amazon


BLURB: Lakota/Pinkerton boxed set


Dakota's Bride


When Emma St. John received her brother's letter imploring her to escape her stepfather's vengeful scheme and to trust Dakota Barringer with her life, she was willing to chance it. But the handsome, brooding riverboat owner Emma found in Natchez was a danger of another kind. For Emma soon found herself surrendering to an unrelenting desire.


My Angel


When her father decided to send her to a finishing school back East, Angela Chamberlain refused to be confined to stuffy drawing rooms. He'd come to America looking for excitement, but Devil Blackmoor got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful rebel who answered his kisses with a wild innocence that touched his very soul.


The Locket


The year is 1894. Seeking revenge for crimes against his family, Misha Petrovich follows a path that leads straight to Ariel Cameron's boarding house in Mist Harbor, Oregon. A family heirloom in Ariel's possession leads Misha to believe she is guilty.


The Talisman


Running from a marriage that lasted one night, Dr. Moriah McKeown discovers the land she has settled on is coveted by determined and lawless men. Yet the proud young woman who once vowed never to abandon her home has second thoughts when her adopted children are threatened. Her only recourse is to enlist the aid of a dark, dangerous gun for hire.


Forever His


Struggling to come to terms with the part she played in Jacob St. John’s death, Etta Barringer resigns from Pinkerton Agency and seeks peace and solace in a Rocky Mountain Cabin. Jacob follows her, determined to discover the reason Etta has betrayed him, sold him out to his enemy and left him for dead.




Dakota's Bride


Moonless and frigid, the December night sent chills down Emma's spine. Yet she didn't stop at the lighted inn nearby, nor did she break stride when she stumbled over a rut in the muddy road. Instead, she pulled her skirts higher. A carriage raced by, hell-bent in the same direction, spitting mud as it flew past


A frantic look over her shoulder did nothing to relieve the fear. He was closing on her, forcing her from her hiding place. She stopped for a moment while she quickly shook the mud off her cape, then she turned to the little girl.


"You all right, Clare?" Emma asked.


The little girl nodded but didn't say anything, her face screwed tight with concentration, her breaths ragged and hard.


The big Mississippi paddle wheeler, due to leave in ten minutes, let out two loud, booming whistles. To Emma's frayed nerves, the sound was heart-stopping.


The wind from the docks smelled of fish and tar. When it shifted, she could make out the aroma of fresh baked scones coming from the inn. Emma gripped the tiny hand she held in her own a little tighter, and prayed that Clare could keep up the pace.


"It's only a wee bit farther. We can make it," Emma told the little girl, her sister. Half sister, she reminded herself.


Clare's father was not her own. His demonically hand­some face leering at her while he calmly explained what he meant for Emma to do in the bordello was something she'd never forget.


Clare was a tiny and very fragile seven-year old. She had loving green eyes and a long, slender nose coupled with delicate cheekbones. Emma knew that someday Clare would grow into a classic beauty.


One long blond lock of hair slipped loose from Clare's cap. The little girl pushed it away with her free hand, wrinkling her nose disgustedly.


Frost coated the road, and each hurried step caused the almost frozen mud to crunch beneath their feet. A horse and rider passed them, the man tipping his hat as he and his mount thundered by. Church bells rang out, the sound hollow and thin. It was almost six o'clock. She had five minutes to reach the boat.


A gust of wind caught her broadside and whisked the hood of her cape off the top of her head. She grabbed the soft fur and pulled the fabric back where it belonged. Distracted by the wind and her haste to reach the boat, Emma caught the toe of her shoe on a rock and balanced precariously for an instant.


She swore softly under her breath.


Had only one month passed?


No, three weeks ago her mother had died and two weeks ago she had learned the awful truth. Lawrence Stevenshad slowly poisoned her mother. He had given her a small dose of arsenic each day until finally her mother took to her bed. Several days later Emma had held her mother's hand while she breathed her last.


Emma would never have known about the murder if she hadn't overheard Stevens speaking in harsh whispers with a friend of his. There were other things said and promised, things Emma had not wanted to acknowledge.


Disbelief and denial had caused her to waste precious time. Seven days had come and gone since she'd had her last horrible encounter with her stepfather. It was an encounter that had left her with no doubts that everything she'd heard was the god-awful truth. Stevens had meant to sell her to a whorehouse. Still, she'd had a difficult time believing the extent of Lawrence Stevens's depravity. But when he'd installed her in Madame leBon's bordello, she realized too late that her life was in grave jeopardy.


And Clare, sweet, sweet Clare, had understood all she'd told her and perhaps more. With the eyes of a child, Clare had somehow sensed the evil that surrounded her father long before anyone else did.


Five long days and nights they'd spent on the run. Clare had not complained. No matter how exhausted or hungry she was, the little girl had pressed on, understanding the imminent danger that faced Emma. Clare had somehow known that Emma had to get as far away from Lawrence as possible.




This incredible romance is one I positively fell in love with and is good enough to read again and again.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More 
4 Cups

I can’t remember the last time I was so engrossed in a book: Dakota’s Bridetook over my weekend, and even now, am wishing to go peruse it one more time…

Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon Long and Short Reviews 

 My Angel


Denver, 1893


A polished azure sky looked down on a day that vacillated between winter and spring--a day unable to make up its mind. Cool breezes lifted Angela Chamberlain's brand-new canary yellow skirt off the moisture-laden sidewalk. A blazing hot sun dried the puddles in the street left over from last night's deluge.


Unlike the day, Angela had no trouble making up her mind. Angela knew what she wanted out of life. She touched one finger to the sapphire earrings adorning her newly pierced ears.


She wanted adventure.


She had a terrible craving to see the world--to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, to walk the Great Wall of China. She yearned to fly in a hot-air balloon high above the earth, or ride in a gondola in Venice. She wanted to fall in love with a man who was as brave and smart as her father and as dangerous as Devil Blackmoor.


Angela's wish list had no end.


Instead of adventure and romance, in three short weeks she'd be enrolled in Miss Somebody's finishing school for young ladies, where knowing which fork to use was more important than riding with the wind on her favorite horse, Kangee. A place where changing one's clothes three times or more each day was common practice.


Two days ago she'd told her father she didn't want to go.


And two days ago her father had told her she would learn to appreciate the schooling and that she was a very lucky young woman. He'd also promised her a trip to the continent for a graduation present.


A graduation present! She wanted to yell at him, but wisely kept her mouth shut. She wanted to travel now. Today. But more than anything, she didn't want to be confined to the stuffy drawing rooms in the East. Just like her father, she needed freedom. But her father meant to take the choice from her.


To gossip and chatter with rich society women was not her destiny. To know which wine was served with fish would not make her happy. This was his dream for her. Sam Chamberlain needed to look to his own heart and remember the choices he had made twenty-five years ago.


Her destiny was out there somewhere, waiting for her to snap it up and hold the moment close to her heart. She knew what she wanted, and to prove her point, she'd bought a camera and had the machine sent over to the hotel. She meant to photograph all her adventures, every nook and cranny, every monument, every intriguing person.


Across the street and down two blocks, Devil Blackmoor had just taken the saddle off his horse. He brushed the stallion's back, all the while petting the animal's sleek coat and crooning into the horse's ear. Mesmerized, she watched his hands and the gentle way he stroked the horse. 


She wished she had her camera.


Devil Blackmoor commanded her attention. He symbolized everything a father cautioned his daughter to be wary of. Despite the warning, Devil's strong jaw, his powerful shoulders and the confident way he held himself beckoned to every feminine nerve in Angela's body.


Angela clutched her hands to her chest, willing her gaze to shift to something or someone who wouldn't shatter her senses and set her blood boiling. Helpless to control her wayward heart, she kept looking back at Devil. She noticed everything about him, the way he moved, the way his denim jeans clung to his legs and the way they molded to his backside. Devil laughed at something the bouncer from the saloon said, andwhen he smiled, one edge of his mouth tilted crookedly. Ange­la's heart swooned and fluttered, and she thought she might never breathe again.


The Locket


Oregon Coast,1894


Bone-weary from a hard day at sea, Misha trudged up the long mud-rutted road to the boarding house that sat on top a hill less than a mile outside Mist Harbor, Oregon. A thick, cold mist hovered close to the ground wetting everything: the rhododendrons that grew wild, the azaleas that lined the cement walkway to the front porch, and the saw grass that grew easily in the sandy soil. Misha paused a moment to push back a lock of hair that repeatedly fell across his brow and into his eyes.


The land was windswept and salt battered, yet he enjoyed the salt-taste of the air and the swooping sea birds as well as the playful sea animals. He loved the way the trees bent to the power of the wind and found a way to survive despite the brutality of the elements. 


His purpose here was short lived, he reminded himself. He didn’t intend to find himself attached to these parts in any way. 


He smelled of a hard days work. The lingering aroma of sweat and Chinook salmon filled his nostrils. It was not a scent he had any use for, but for the time being the job on the fishing boat gave him a reason for staying in the small coastal town. Right now he couldn’t wait to submerse himself in a hot bath, wash the stench from his body, and ease his stiff, strained muscles. 


The sea had always been one of his favorite places. But fishing?


By God no, he’d just as soon relax and watch the sails billow on a clipper as the majestic ship rounded the horn or stand at the tiller with the wind whistling around him. He’d even rather battle a hurricane off the Bermudas. 


Blending in with the people who lived in this small coastal village had been imperative.


The quest he’d undertaken had led him straight to Miss Ariel Cameron’s boarding house in Mist Harbor, and there the trail stopped. Thinking about Ariel set his nerves on edge. 


Ariel was willow thin, femininely delicate, and hardly capable of the atrocities he’d set out to avenge less than a year ago. Yet the evidence he’d uncovered had sent him here, to her home. The name he’d followed had been her name. The men he’d followed had landed in Mist Harbor more than once, her father one of them. 


He walked up the immaculately kept steps to the house and opened the door to the screened in porch.


"Misha," the captain boomed out a welcome. "Fine weather we’re havin’ now. Just right for the salmon runs."


The rocker squeaked as the captain moved back and forth in the wicker chair.


"Just right," Misha acknowledged and stepped through the next door to the parlor. A blast of heat met him as he nodded his head in polite recognition to the other borders. In a pale blue day dress, Ariel moved with a slight limp through the hallway and disappeared into one of the first floor rooms. Even though she seemed to favor one leg, the sway of her hips enticed all of Misha's senses. 


He didn’t understand the feeling but in a way no other woman had touched him, she beckoned to him. Her amber colored eyes were wide and when she smiled, they glistened and shimmered, reminding him of the bronze mosques in Constantinople when the sun beat upon them. Miss Ariel Cameron was unique--unconventional--and she fascinated him. She was the key to his revenge as well as his salvation.




The Locket is a very exciting tale with a dramatic setting. Overall, this is a very entertaining story.


Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance


The Talisman


Buffalo Creek, 

South Dakota 



Hot, dry air scorched the prairie grass. Sweat slid along his spine. Danger clung to every whisper; seemed to swirl and grow with each passing second. Ivan Civanovich watched the woman below. With deadly purpose, he studied the lady who had hired him--the woman who had bought his gun and perhaps death.

"Reckless courage," Ivan mused. 

"Si Senor, she does have what you call a great courage, but I don’t know about the reckless part. She is always so very careful," Pedro said. 

"I’m a dangerous man, Pedro." 

"This is why she hired you."

"The lady has no business hiring men like me. She’s a woman. She is supposed to nurture lives."

"She needs you to keep the bad men from taking the land away--our home," Pedro said.

Ivan pushed the tip of his hat back from his brows. From his vantage point, he considered the woman while she hung the freshly laundered white sheets on the line. A strange shudder swept through him, his muscles tensing with the sudden feeling he knew this woman, had known her forever. The sensations were too strong, the feelings too acute, and it troubled him because knowing her was impossible.

Her hair, a wild mop of red curls, battled with the stiff, hot wind rising off the prairie. The breeze and her hair flowed in undulating currents between the lines, threatening to tangle themselves in the wire. She bent over at the waist, giving him a perfect view of her backside while she toyed with something on the ground. Seconds later she picked up the object of her curiosity, turned it over in her hands then tossed it aside.

He didn’t like to think about what could happen to her in the next few weeks. She’d advertised for a gun for a hire. She didn’t know what she bargained for, and he’d bet his inheritance she didn’t have any idea what kind of trouble she’d purchased. 

When she looked up the hill, his grin widened. She couldn’t see him, but her shoulders tensed and she sucked air. Her hand touched her forehead, shielding her eyes from the blinding sunlight. She scanned the horizon, turning a complete circle before she stopped.

"Good," he said, "she is cautious." 

"She knows someone is up here," Pedro announced. 

"She’s got more starch in her drawers and the stiffest backbone of any woman I’ve ever seen." Ivan whistled through his teeth, his eyes intent and focused upon the woman.

"Si." Pedro agreed. "She sure enough does but her heart is made of spun gold."

Ivan wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. Beads of sweat dripped down his back. His gaze swept across the barren landscape then followed the line of trees that bordered the creek. He lifted the glasses to his eyes and turned his attention to a spot about a mile north of her ranch. The railroad wanted easement rights. So why wouldn’t she sell to them. "Spun gold, huh." He dropped the binoculars, letting them dangle from their strap around his neck.

"Si, boss."

"I see." Ivan leaned forward, resting his forearm on the saddle horn.

Ivan wasn’t sure he understood. Women had a lot of fine qualities, many of which he didn’t want to live without but a soft, feminine heart shouldn’t be deciding life and death matters. 

Spun gold.No, he’d never met a female with a heart of gold, spun or otherwise. He’d never known a woman who wouldn’t betray a man for a piece of gold. Save one, he amended, and his best friend had married her. Alexi Popov had his trials too. He had kidnapped Angela and spirited her away to his home in the Crimea. In the end though, he gave up his title, his land, and most of his wealth for Angela. He followed her back to America and married her.




This is a wonderful tale, full of action, emotion and a bit mystical at times. Enjoy this one.


Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More 4 Cups


Forever His


The sun beat down. Searing heat waves hit the hard packed earth, blistering, charring everything, even the dry prairie grass. Jacob St. John, his arms stretched overhead and bound to a whipping post, no longer counted the lashes tearing into his back, no longer felt the horrific agony. 


More than a half-dozen men and one woman were gathered in the sage-patched backyard of the run-down shack. So far not one person made a sound as they watched Chavez wield the whip, stripping the flesh off his back.


If Chavez weren't so angry and seeking revenge of his own, he would probably have just had him shot. Revenge was a powerful motive. Chavez wanted Jacob to suffer, to yell before he died. It seemed Etta Barringer did too. So far Chavez was toying with him, taunting and teasing him, cutting an inch here, ripping an inch there, not doing much damage but making mincemeat out of his back.


Jacob hadn't made a sound yet, not even a sharp, indrawn breath. He wasn't about to even though he knew Chavez would get impatient and start slashing. There was no hurry. Chavez had as long as he wanted. No one save Etta knew where he was, no one would come looking for him, at least not until the sun went down. By then Chavez would be done with him, and he would either be dead or buzzard-bait. For the life of him, he couldn't figure why Etta would hand him over to Chavez. She had always been Pinkerton to the core, yet she had betrayed him once before. If he survived this, he meant to have answers. He'd move heaven and earth to search out the lying Etta Barringer and find out exactly what she had against him.


The pain of betrayal at the forefront of his mind, and vows of revenge against the instigator of this kept him going. He focused on the woman's laughter and the scent of lemons that permeated his soul.


He had been taken by surprise. Still, he didn't go down easily. It took all of Chavez's men to get him bound securely to the post in back of the shack. And of those men, not one came away from the encounter without a scratch. Blood from the multitude of small cuts Chavez had inflicted ran in rivulets from his back, pooling on the parched thirsty ground, soaking into the dirt, staining it. 


He stood, his head proudly erect and that seemed to draw anger from Chavez. The grip of his fingers curled around the top of the post, the only sign of Jacob's pain--and fury.


The first real stroke of the whip felt like a red-hot branding iron searing across his back. Jacob didn't flinch, nor would he as long as he could hear her laughter or smell lemons floating languidly on the breeze. He wished he could see her, stare into her beguiling, green eyes until she knew he'd never stop hunting for her. Fury at his own weakness rose, and the anger he felt deep inside simmered, because she'd always attracted him. Ever since she showed up in a small town in Oregon, seduced him then drugged him and left him to sleep off the opium-laced whiskey, she'd fascinated him.


Concentrate on her--on what you're going to do when you find her again . . . 




Christine Young has done it again in this historical romance. The blizzards, betrayal, deceit and a ruthless bandito like Chavez made this a great romance.


Melinda for Night Owl Romance     5 out of 5