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American women are being brutally murdered across Southeast Asia. Why is no one finding the killer? THE AMBASSADOR’S WIFE by Jake Needham

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Join eleven best-selling and award-winning authors under the mistletoe as they share bite-sized holiday romances: Christmas Actually

The perfect holiday gift for young readers: My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid

Giveaway Alert for #CyberMonday! Enter to win and discover the best books around

Winner of the 1944 Newbery Medal, and one of the finest historical novels ever written… Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes

“A holiday story full of second chances, romance and magic…It’s got all the feels-and a fabulous holiday message.” Christmas on Mistletoe Lane: Includes a bonus short story (Sweetwater Springs Book 1) by Annie Rains

A murdered tsarina… A lost musical masterpiece… A stolen Russian icon… The Lost Symphony: A historical mystery thriller (Jack Rogan Mysteries Book 6) by Gabriel Farago

Huge box set alert! Winter may be nipping at our heels but you can heat things up with All I Want for Christmas: A Limited Edition Collection of Winter & Holiday Romances

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Kindle Nation Daily Digest – February 28, 2012 — Brief Tips, Freebies and Bargain Updates

Kindle Nation Daily Digest

 

Brief Tips, Freebies and Bargain Updates
February 28, 2012


Please note that this is the daily digest for Tuesday, February 28 and many of the free and bargain ebook offers noted here are on offer only until midnight PST tonight.

*  *  *

Kindle Daily Deal
Today’s Kindle Daily Deal – Tuesday, February 28 – Save 88% on Maggie Stiefvater’s adventure fantasy drawn from Celtic faerie lore, Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception, plus … D. E. McCourt’s NOTES FROM THE FIREHOUSE (Today’s Sponsor) http://bit.ly/z6lZpK
Lastlettershoop eBook of the Day
Kindle Nation Daily Bargain Book Alert: Kathleen Shoop’s THE LAST LETTER is
Our eBook of the Day at just 99 Cents, with 3.8 Stars on 59 Reviews, and
Here’s a Free Sample! http://bit.ly/yEaAwW 
 
KND Free Book Alert
KND Kindle Free Book Alert for Tuesday, February 28: 239 BRAND NEW FREEBIES in the last 24 hours added to Our 2,800+ FREE TITLES Sorted by Category, Date Added, Bestselling or Review Rating! plus … Nadia Scrieva’s DROWNING MERMAIDS (Today’s Sponsor – .99 cents and Currently
FREE for Amazon Prime Members via Kindle Lending Library) http://bit.ly/yddbiN 
   
zenman

KND Murder Mystery Readers Alert!
Kindle Nation Daily Bargain Book Alert! Colleen Collins’ Murder Mystery THE ZEN MAN – Now Just 99 Cents on Kindle http://bit.ly/w4MXDj 
4 Brand New Kindle Freebies – Just for Today
FOUR Brand New Kindle Freebies! Rachel Thompson’s THE MANCODE: EXPOSED, Donna Marie Lanheady’s WHERE SECRETS LIE, Cidney Swanson’s RIPPLER and
D. Robert Pease’s NOAH ZARC: MAMMOTH TROUBLE http://bit.ly/xF9I1X 
 
Kids Corner At KND: Student Review! 
Kids Corner at Kindle Nation Daily – 6th Grader Austin B. Reviews FOOTBALL CHAMP by Tim Green: “This book is everything a football kid dreams
about.” http://bit.ly/A4Uky6
BELLAANDREIONLY A Free Excerpt from Our Romance of the Week!
Like a little romance? Or a lot? Then we think you’ll love this free excerpt from our brand new Kindle Nation Daily Romance of the Week,
Bella Andre’s I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU: The Sullivans, Book 4 – 4.8 stars and $4.99 on Kindle! http://bit.ly/AstxN7 
 
 Thinking About Buying A Fire? How About A Refurbished One?
Amazon now selling refurbished Fires w/ full 1 yr warranty for $169 http://bit.ly/xsL1ln  
CJ-TALES New from Cowboy Jimmy, Just 99 Cents
Kindle Nation Daily Bargain Book Alert! Cowboy Jimmy’s THE TALES – Just 99 Cents and Currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members via Kindle Lending
Library http://bit.ly/xwDTRU
Kindle Fire At Kindle Nation Daily: Anne Rice is Back
Anne Rice is Back, With Werewolves! http://bit.ly/yCLXx7
 A Free Excerpt from Kids Corner’s Book of The Week
Like YA Science Fiction? Then we think you will like this FREE excerpt from our brand new Kids Corner Book of The Week, D. Robert Pease’s Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble – AND TODAY ONLY!!!! DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE BOOK FOR
FREE ON KINDLE! http://bit.ly/AAINnO
New to the Kindle Nation Daily Family
A Brand New Addition to the Kindle Nation Family! Now, a Brand New Site to
Help You Get the Most Out of Your Kindle Fire … or to Help Your Decide if You Should Add a Fire to Your Personal Kindle Family http://bit.ly/x7m6BJ
Kindle Fire At Kindle Nation Daily: FREE App!
Become a legend of the arena with the swipe & slash game, Blood & Glory, currently FREE in the Amazon app store! http://bit.ly/zn4fYw
Hope you’ve found at
least one item of value here, and we’ll check in again tomorrow.
Thanks, as always, for being part of the Kindle Nation community.

Candace Cheatham
Associate Editor
Kindle Nation Daily

P’sst! Over Here! Here’s a Brand New Chance to Enter This Week’s Brand New KINDLE FIRE Giveaway Sweepstakes, Sponsored by Eileen Cruz Coleman, author of SWEETWATER AMERICAN


Feeling Lucky?

Did you win a Kindle Fire tablet this week?

If you are Billye Thomas of Fort Smith, AR, you did. Billye won hers on Monday in last week’s Kindle Nation Daily KINDLE FIRE Giveaway Sweepstakes, and when it arrives at her home tomorrow, she will become the 21st citizen of Kindle Nation to win a Kindle Fire from us in the past few months.

But we’d like for you to be one of about 50 people who will win one of these Kindle Fire tablets from us in 2012, and all you have to do is follow the extremely easy steps at the end of this post to have a great chance to win.

But first, a word from … Today’s Sponsor

Eileen Cruz Coleman, this week's sponsor and author of SWEETWATER AMERICAN

Like each one of our weekly sweepstakes, this week’s giveaway is sponsored by a talented author who has proven to be a favorite with our readers. Sweetwater American author, Eileen Cruz Coleman is springing for the Kindle Fire that could very well end up with your name on it, so it only makes sense to pay it forward and stimulate both your karma and your imagination at the same time by chancing $2.99 (and currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members via Kindle Lending Library) to grace your Kindle with a novel that has 11 out of 13 rave reviews from discriminating readers like us.

 

Here’s The Scoop on Sweetwater America :

Sweetwater American

by Eileen Cruz Coleman

4.2 stars – 13 Reviews

Kindle Price: $2.99

Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled

Here’s the set-up:

Special Notice: Sweetwater American includes Eileen Cruz Coleman’s Young Adult debut, Taker of Light, a post-apocalyptic speculative fiction story.

Set in Washington, D.C. and El Salvador, SWEETWATER AMERICAN is the story of an orphan and would-be filmmaker who is sent to live in a cursed town in El Salvador with her godmother, a woman whom she has never met and who may hold the secret to breaking the town’s curse.

Through Sandy Rodriguez and Elena Martinez, the two main characters, we are led into a different, haunting and magical world, where people test their faith every day and hold true to what they believe: that hardship and darkness can be overcome if one finds a reason to live.

While living in El Salvador, after a film crew comes to her town to film a movie, Sandy realizes she wants to be a documentary filmmaker. When she returns to the States, she attends George Washington University where she meets Elena, a sixty-something-year-old woman who serves peas and mashed potatoes in one of the school’s cafeterias.

Sandy, intrigued by Elena, decides to ask her if she would be willing to share her life story with her. Elena, whose past still haunts her, agrees to tell Sandy her story.

During the interview, Sandy is forced to come to terms with her own past and she begins to understand what the term, Sweetwater American, really means.

About The Author

Eileen Cruz Coleman was born in Washington, D.C.

She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in European History.

Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals both online and in print.

She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.

And here, just in case you forgot are the details on how to

Enter Our KINDLE FIRE Giveaway Sweepstakes:

  • There’s no purchase required, but we do need you to go to our Kindle Nation Facebook page and “Like” us if you have not done so already.
  • You’ll need to do this on a computer rather than a smartphone, and you should give the page a few seconds to load, because for some reason it takes a little longer.
  • Then just follow the prompts to enter the sweepstakes, and you’re done!
  • Limit of one entry per weekly sweepstakes, but feel free to enter every single week!

Good luck! And happy reading!

Kindle Nation Daily Bargain Book Alert! Colleen Collins’ Murder Mystery THE ZEN MAN – Now Just 99 Cents on Kindle

The Zen Man

by Colleen Collins

4.3 stars – 6 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled

Here’s the set-up:

Just as washed-up criminal defense attorney, life-long Deadhead (nickname “The Zen Man”), and current PI Rick Levine decides to get relicensed as a lawyer, he’s charged with killing one and ends up in the slammer with a half-mil bail.

Released on bond, Rick and his girlfriend Laura have 30 days to find the real killer. In the course of their investigations, they dig for dirt among Denver’s shady legal backrooms to its tony corporate centers. Dodging bullets, a kidnapping, trumped-up charges and the FBI’s unwanted intervention, Rick and Laura continue tracking key suspects who have motive…eventually learning that true redemption begins at home.

“I loved every single word of The Zen Man!”
~ Delores Fossen, USA Today Best-selling Author

“Move over Sam Spade, Nick and Nora; make room for a Denver who-dun-it, Colleen Collins’s The Zen Man. Brilliant and fast-paced writing. I couldn’t put it down.”
~ Donnell Ann Bell,
 Award-Winning Author of The Past Came Hunting

“The Zen Man is an homage and update of Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles, a well-paced mix of banter, action, and New Age philosophizing.”
~ Gerald So, owner-moderator of DetecToday for fans of the private eye genre

Reader Comments

I’d read one of Colleen Collins’s romance novels from many years ago, and I loved how she could write fun, fast-paced novels. Have also checked out her nonfiction books on private investigations, so I knew she was knowledgeable about the real-world of private eyes. She’s brought all of that and more to The Zen Man. A book filled with thrills and chills and laughter. A mystery that doesn’t hold back its punches. A pace that kept me turning pages. But my favorite part of the book? The main characters: Rick and Laura. Flawed, complex, real…yet they hold onto a wry view of the world (not unlike Nick and Nora). Great read.
Dana B., Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

What a delightful book! Now, clean and sober, former lawyer Rick Levine thinks he’s on the right path to getting back his law license, but then he’s arrested for murder. The journey to clear his name is not only fast paced and a thrilling ride, it’s fun! Colleen Collins makes all the right moves in this who-dun-it, and I loved the characters, especially Rick and Laura. You won’t be disappointed with this one.
– Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars
(This is a sponsored post.)

Like a little romance? Or a lot? Then we think you’ll love this free excerpt from our brand new Kindle Nation Daily Romance of the Week, Bella Andre’s I Only Have Eyes For You: The Sullivans, Book 4 – 4.8 stars and $4.99 on Kindle!

Over the weekend we announced that Bella Andre’s I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU: THE SULLIVANS, BOOK 4 was our new Romance of the Week and the sponsor of thousands of great bargains in the Romance category: over 200 free titles, over 600 quality 99-centers, and thousands more that you can read for free through the Kindle Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime!

Now we’re back to offer our weekly free Romance excerpt, and if you aren’t among those who have downloaded this one already, you’re in for a treat!

4.8 stars – 6 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here
Here’s the set-up:

Get ready for another Sullivan to fall in love in Bella Andre’s bestselling contemporary romance series!

Sophie Sullivan, a librarian in San Francisco, was five years old when she fell head over heels in love with Jake McCann. Twenty years later, she’s convinced the notorious bad boy still sees her as the “nice” Sullivan twin. That is, when he bothers to look at her at all. But when they both get caught up in the magic of the first Sullivan wedding, she knows it’s long past time to do whatever it takes to make him see her for who she truly is…the woman who will love him forever.

Jake has always been a magnet for women, especially since his Irish pubs made him extremely wealthy. But the only woman he really wants is the one he can never have. Not only is Sophie his best friend’s off-limits younger sister…he can’t risk letting her get close enough to discover his deeply hidden secret.

Only, when Sophie appears on his doorstep as Jake’s every fantasy come to life—smart, beautiful, and shockingly sexy—he doesn’t have a prayer of taking his eyes, or his hands, off her. And he can’t stop craving more of her sweet smiles and sinful kisses. Because even though Jake knows loving Sophie isn’t the right thing to do…how can he possibly resist?

Reader Comments

Bella Andre has delivered again. Every book that I have read written by her has been great. This is the best book so far; I couldn’t put my kindle down until I got through. I love how Jake was in love with Sophie, but don’t want to tell her. This book was full of intense pleasure and passion. The Sullivan Series just keep getting better and better. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Definitely a Must Read!!!

Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

This was my favorite book of the series so far! Loved how Sophie and Jake’s relationship unfolded and thought that there were so many sweet scenes between the two of them. These two were meant to be together! Some surprises added excitement to the story and as always it was great to see the other Sullivan’s as well. I’m so looking forward to reading the remaining books in the series!

Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:

Sophie Sullivan surveyed the final wedding preparations with satisfaction. In less than two hours, her brother Chase and his fiancee, Chloe, would be saying “I do” beneath rose-covered arches with three hundred guests looking on. The Napa Valley vineyard owned by her oldest brother, Marcus, was not only the perfect backdrop for the wedding, but was also where Chase and Chloe had first met and fallen in love.

The bride and the other bridesmaids were already in the guest house having their makeup and hair done. Sophie should have been there half an hour ago, but she’d wanted to make sure everything outside was perfect first. She was a librarian, not a wedding planner, but she’d leapt at the chance to help plan Chase’s wedding, and it had been so much fun. Well, apart from all those meetings with—

“Hey, Nice, looking good.”

Every muscle in Sophie’s body tensed at the low drawl from behind her.

Jake McCann.

Her brother Zach’s closest friend…and the object of twenty years of her unrequited love.

Of course, not once in those twenty years had she ever been anything more to him than Zach’s little sister.

“My name is Sophie, not Nice,” she said, without turning to face him.

She felt him move closer, his innate heat searing her even from several feet away. She’d always been overly attuned to him, instantly alert to his presence in a room. As a little girl, she’d made excuses to hang out with her older brothers just to be near Jake, keeping extra quiet so no one would remember she was there while they played pool in the basement and made off-color jokes.

The urge to turn and drink him in, to lose herself in the spark of wicked in his chocolate-brown eyes, was so strong she almost gave in. Instead, she kept her gaze trained over the wedding layout and the rolling hills of grapevines and mustard flowers as if she didn’t care one way or another if he stayed to talk to her.

“Hard to believe the day has finally come.” He paused, and she could hear the humor mixed with a faint disdain in his voice as he said, “A Sullivan is actually taking the plunge.”

Sophie was known as the clear-headed, soft-spoken one in the family, the one who always thought things through before taking action. She’d never been prone to violent outbursts…or to giving in to crazy inner urgings. That was her twin sister Lori’s territory, which was why Lori’s nickname was Naughty and Sophie’s was Nice. But Sophie rarely felt level-headed anymore around Jake. How could she when her heart always beat too fast at the thought of what it would feel like to be in his arms…or because he was making her mad with some macho comment? Usually both at the same time. Just as he was doing right now.

Her fingers curled into fists as she lost the battle with self-control and whirled around to face him. Unfortunately for her traitorous hormones, Jake was more gorgeous than ever in his tuxedo. His crisp white dress shirt opened up just enough at the neck for her to see the dark hair curling up at the vee of his chest. His tattoos were covered up, but just knowing they were hidden behind a thin layer of fabric always sent a kick of forbidden desire rushing through her.

“Chase and Chloe are in love,” she told him in a sharp voice made even sharper by her disappointment with herself for not being even the slightest bit impervious to Jake’s good looks. “Their wedding is going to be beautiful and perfect and incredibly romantic.”

It was even more beautiful and perfect and romantic that Chloe was pregnant and absolutely glowing. Sophie couldn’t wait to babysit, to endlessly spoil her niece or nephew.

“It’s going to be one hell of a party, at least.”

What was wrong with him? Sophie wondered for what had to be the thousandth time in twenty years. How could he look at a lifetime of love and only see a party?

Then again, given the fact that he blew through women at a shockingly fast rate, it wasn’t hard to guess that he was one of those imbeciles who didn’t believe in love. A rich, good-looking guy like Jake McCann would just be in it for the sex.

Sophie was neither a virgin nor a prude, despite what people might otherwise assume about librarians. On the contrary, if people knew just how well-read she was on the subject of sex, they would likely be shocked. Especially Jake. Wouldn’t it be something to shock someone who thought he was so utterly unshockable?

But she knew better than to let her fantasies run away with her where Jake was concerned, even if her body had stupidly fallen in lust with him from the first stirring of teenage hormones. Even now, she couldn’t help but breathe in his scent, a faint hint of hops and something she’d never been able to categorize beyond night and darkness.

She moved to straighten an already perfectly straight chair. “I checked over the bar setup earlier and it looks like everything is in place.” She grudgingly had to admit, “You’ve done a good job with it.”

She could feel his dark eyes on her as he said, “You sure I can’t hire you to run my pubs? We could use someone like you to whip the business into shape.”

A burst of pleasure at his compliment shot through her, warming her all over. That was the problem with Jake. Even when she was irritated with him, even though he’d never return her feelings for him in a billion, kazillion years, she couldn’t help but be charmed by him.

Still, knowing she’d never forgive herself if she melted into a gooey puddle of lust in the middle of Marcus’s vineyard, she simply told him, “I’d miss my books too much, thanks.” All her life, Sophie’d had stacks of books in every room, beside her bed, and in the kitchen. She loved the way her new e-reader fit in her purse.

Knowing that prolonging their close proximity in this uber-romantic setting would only mess with her head, she said, “I’d better get over to the guest house.” But just as she was turning to go, a sudden gust of wind whipped her hat off her head.

Jake reached out and caught it before she even had time to react. “Got it.”

He moved in front of her and slid a lock of hair that had caught on her mouth back under the hat as he settled it into place. Her cheek tingled from the gentle brush of skin on skin and she nervously licked her lips.

His hands stilled on the brim of her hat, his dark eyes turning almost jet black as his gaze held on her mouth. Neither of them moved for several moments, but then, suddenly, he was stepping back from her, the slightly cool wine-country air pushing in where his heat had been just seconds before.

His frown was deep, heavy, as he tore his gaze away from her mouth and quickly scanned her outfit. “You’re not wearing that to the wedding, are you?”

Still working to catch her breath from the shock of his touch, it took far longer than it should have for her to register what he’d said. She couldn’t miss the mocking tone, however.

Months ago, when Jake had volunteered to run the bar at Chase and Chloe’s wedding, she’d impulsively decided to teach him a lesson about his arrogance, along with the way he insisted on continuing to look at her as little more than a child, rather than a full-grown woman. She’d planned to make him want her, to somehow figure out a way to make him desperate with longing…before she scorned him, leaving him high and dry for the first time in his life.

Only, had she made good on those big plans to attract and then reject Jake in the past four months?

Ha!

“Of course this isn’t what I’m wearing for the wedding,” she finally replied, her words a hard snap of breath and teeth. “I’m one of Chloe’s maids of honor, with Lori.”

The perfect planes of his face shifted again from frown to scowl, before settling back into indifference. “You’d better go get pretty then, shouldn’t you, princess?”

Jake’s harsh words landed with a hard thud between them. She didn’t know if he’d intended to hurt her with his words, with the implication that it would take some time, along with a good amount of effort, to pretty her up…but whether or not that had been his intent, that was exactly what he’d just done.

A few minutes ago she’d felt proud of what she’d accomplished with Chase and Chloe’s wedding. Now, that pride was all but erased by the way Jake looked at her and found her so wanting, so utterly devoid of female allure. Because even though she knew better than to care, even though she knew better than to give him the power to hurt her, a handful of his careless words did more damage than her twin’s hair-pulling ever had.

Had she imagined that hunger, the longing, in his eyes? Or had she simply wanted to feel those sparks so badly that she’d manufactured a split-second connection that would never actually be there between them?

Oh, how she hated the way he’d just talked to her—like she was still a little girl rather than a fully grown, successful, adult woman. Princess. He’d called her princess.

Somehow that was worse than Nice. At least her family nickname had been born of love.

In one fell swoop, all the resolve she’d had such a hard time holding on to where Jake was concerned gathered up inside her, settling in just over her breastbone. What she wouldn’t give to shock him, to show him that he didn’t know a darn thing about who she really was, that the “nice” girl he’d seen grow up was more than woman enough to run him in circles.

Growing up in a family of extraordinary siblings, Sophie had known better than to try to compete with them. She’d never glide across a dance floor like Lori, or lead a team to a national championship like Ryan. She didn’t save people’s lives on a daily basis like Gabe. She’d never be passionate enough about photography or cars or vineyards to turn them into successful careers and businesses.

But as she stood with Jake in the middle of Marcus’s vineyard barely an hour before Chase and Chloe’s wedding, Sophie couldn’t have been happier that she’d read thousands of novels. Enough, she hoped, to pull together a quick plot that would give Jake a taste of his own medicine…and at long last, a run for his money.

“You’re right,” she said softly, “I should leave soon to get pretty.” The words tasted like grit on her tongue and she could have sworn he almost winced as she repeated them back to him. “But there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you first.”

“What’s that?” he asked in an easy voice. One she thought sounded a little too easy.

“Well,” she said slowly, “I just found out that an ex-boyfriend is one of Chloe’s last-minute guests.”

It was true, she’d dated the guy—Alex—for a few months last year. Neither of them had been particularly serious about the other, however. She hadn’t even slept with him.

Still, that didn’t stop her from spinning the truth a bit for Jake’s benefit. “He’s someone I’d really like to make jealous.” She slowly lowered her eyelashes as if she still wasn’t over the pain of being left so callously.

Although she’d only been in the chorus of a handful of elementary-school stage productions, she tried to channel the way she imagined Smith would play this scene onscreen. With pathos. And a faint hint of shame at the way she’d never managed to be good enough for her ex no matter what she did. She waited a beat before lifting her gaze to Jake’s again.

“Would you help me?”

He stared down at her, clearly unable to believe what she was proposing. “Hold up a second, Nice. You want me to help you make some loser ex-boyfriend jealous?”

She gritted her teeth at his use of her nickname—and the fact that he immediately assumed any boyfriend of hers had to be a loser—but forced herself to let it go. For now.

“You didn’t bring anyone to the wedding, right?” A few weeks ago he’d told her he was coming stag so that he could keep watch over his staff at the bar. Sophie figured it was also a good way to make sure he had his pick of hot single guests for an after-party in his bed. She forcefully tamped down the surge of jealousy at that vision as she said, “Please, Jake, will you help me?”

But he was already shaking his head. “No one will ever believe it. And your brothers will kill me if they think I’m looking at you that way.”

Damn his bad reputation and her crystal clear one.

And damn her brothers for being so protective.

Jake was right. They would tear him to shreds if they ever thought he’d so much as had an impure thought about her or Lori. But she refused to give up now, not with his disdainful, “You’d better go get pretty then, shouldn’t you, princess?” still running through her head.

“Are you kidding?” she said with a laugh. “Of course none of them would believe it. You?” She laughed harder. “And me?” She shook her head as if the whole idea were utterly preposterous…even though she’d written their love story a thousand times in her dreams. “We’ve all seen the kind of girls you go for. I would be surprised if half of them can even spell their own names.”

When he scowled, she belatedly realized she might have gone too far.

Oops.

“Don’t worry,” she reassured him, “we’ll make sure none of my family or friends sees us. Just my ex.”

“Does this guy have a name?”

The way Jake looked right then, like he was going to tear her ex apart with his bare hands, she didn’t think it would be fair to give him Alex’s name.

Thinking fast, she said, “I don’t like saying it aloud.”

“Did he hurt you?”

She was glad she hadn’t had too much to eat for breakfast, otherwise it would have threatened to come back up as she moved her hand over her heart and said, “Only here,” in an overly theatrical way.

Sophie was certain anyone else would have seen through her terrible acting job, but Jake was so bound and determined not to notice anything about her it looked like she was actually going to get away with this.

Knowing it was make-or-break time, she played her final card. “Please, Jake. You’re the only one I can ask to help me get a little revenge on a big jerk.” She leaned in close to his ear and said in a hushed voice, “It will be our little secret.”

God, he smelled good, so good she wanted to rub her lips over the faint stubble on his cheek. Instead, she forced herself to shift her weight away from him.

Finally he said, “Fine. If you’re that desperate, I’ll do it. Although I still don’t think this plan of yours has much of a chance of working.”

“Oh,” she said softly, the word desperate grating along with princess and Nice, “it will work all right. I’ll make absolutely sure of it.”

 

* * *

 

What the hell had just happened?

Jake McCann knew how he was supposed to feel about Sophie Sullivan. He was supposed to love her the way a guy loved his little sister, to watch over her, to make sure she was safe and happy. He was supposed to be blind to the way Sophie had filled out over the years.

He shouldn’t have been appreciating her curves beneath her clothes as she’d stood in the middle of the vineyard and surveyed the wedding preparations. And when he was putting her hat back on her head and her eyes had gone all dreamy, he sure as hell shouldn’t have felt the crazy urge to drag her against him and kiss that soft mouth.

But he couldn’t take his eyes off her as she walked away, couldn’t stop thinking about how soft her cheek felt against the pad of his thumb and the way her hair slid like silk through his fingers.

Damn it.

How long had he worked to deny the way he felt about Sophie? How many years had he told himself it was nothing he couldn’t work out of his system with other women? Women who were good for a few hours in the sack, but who didn’t have an ounce of Sophie’s natural elegance. Her brains. Her gentleness.

How was he going to make it through an entire wedding with Sophie when his self-control had slipped a little more each time he saw her over the past months? Sitting close to her as she ran through the wedding plans with him, breathing in her sweet scent, wondering if she would taste just as sweet against his tongue, had been slowly driving him crazy. Day by day she’d crept into his thoughts, his dreams, more and more.

Standing in the middle of Marcus’s vineyard with Sophie near enough to pull her into his arms, he’d been caught between two impossible choices. Reach out and finally claim her the way he’d fantasized about taking her for far too long…or push her away for her own good.

His chest clenched with regret as he remembered Sophie’s wounded expression after he’d made those cracks about her clothes and needing to be made pretty for the wedding. She was the last person in the world he wanted to hurt, which was exactly why he’d made sure to keep his distance as much as possible over the years.

Jake hated to think that some guy she’d dated had done a number on her, and actually had the nerve to show up at her brother’s wedding. She deserved to be with someone who would give her everything. A house in the suburbs and a white picket fence. A handful of cute kids with big brains like their mother.

He knocked his knuckles hard into his sternum to physically shove away the tightening at those images of Sophie being picture-book happy with some other guy. Jake wasn’t sure about her plan to make her ex jealous, but he was already planning to get the guy alone and teach him a lesson about what happened when somebody messed with a Sullivan.

Just then, Chase stepped out onto Marcus’s terrace and called Jake’s name, jolting him out of his thoughts.

Chase’s brothers were all groomsmen with Marcus officiating the wedding. Jake was the only non-Sullivan to be given the honor of standing up with Chase, even though he had plenty of cousins who could have been chosen.

The ninth Sullivan. It was always how they’d made him feel, like he was one of them. All those years he’d hung out at their house, Jake had pretended he was home. And the truth was, Mary Sullivan’s house had been the only real home he’d known until he bought his own place with the profits from his Irish pubs.

Jake was happy for Chase. Sure, he was surprised by the way his friend had fallen so quickly, and by how happy he was about the whole husband/father thing being dropped into his lap, but just because Jake wouldn’t ever let himself get caught up in that ball and chain, he would always support a Sullivan.

Being a groomsman at Chase’s wedding and running the bar was all part of giving back to the family that had helped raise him when his own family hadn’t given a damn.

“How’re you feeling on the big day?”

Chase grinned. “Good.” His grin widened. “Really good.”

Jake had seen Chase and Chloe together enough to know this was one seriously happy dude. Chase didn’t seem to have one regret about giving up having his pick of hot models.

“Have you seen Chloe?” Chase asked. “Do you know if she needs anything?”

As soon as Chloe had announced her pregnancy, Chase had become a carbon copy of every other overprotective dad-to-be. It was exactly the kind of crazy behavior Jake would never understand. Which was why he made damn certain none of his sexual partners could get knocked up.

“I was just talking with Sophie,” he told Chase. “Sounded like everything is under control with the girls.”

“Good.” Chase nodded, then grinned at him. “Come inside. Smith is telling us about an orgy he walked in on a couple of weeks ago. I’m guessing it’s a warm-up for his speech after the wedding.”

“So you’re really not going to miss giving it all up, huh?”

Chase didn’t hesitate before shaking his head. “Chloe is worth a thousand orgies.”

Jake could hear the Sullivans laughing as he walked inside. He loved that family as if they were his own, would take a bullet for any of them. Especially the dark-haired beauty he couldn’t manage to shake out of his head.

Or his heart.

* * *

“We were just about to send out a search party for you.” Kalen, the makeup artist Chase usually worked with on his photo shoots, grabbed Sophie the second she stepped into the guest house. “Everyone else is putting on their dresses already. Fortunately, all you need is some light mascara and lipstick.”

Normally, Sophie would have agreed to keep her face close to bare. She’d never been all that comfortable in makeup. Lori had been the one who’d always liked to play with their mother’s eye shadows and powders. Sophie had been more interested in finding the books to tell her sister how to put it on, rather than playing mannequin.

“Actually,” she said, “I was hoping you could work a little of your magic on me.”

The woman raised an eyebrow. “Magic?”

Sophie nodded. “There’s this guy…”

Kalen gave Sophie a slow grin. “Well, in that case, I’d be happy to work a little of my magic on you. He won’t know what hit him.” She called out to the hairstylist friend she’d brought with her. “Jackie, can you come here for a sec?”

A few minutes of hushed conferencing later—in which Sophie made it clear that she didn’t want to look overly made up or trashy, just a whole lot sexier than she normally did—the three women had a plan.

Sophie sat back in her seat and tried to ignore her rapidly beating heart as they transformed her from Nice to something entirely different.

 

* * *

 

Jake stepped out from behind the bar just as the wedding march started up and a cute blonde kid skipped down the aisle, tossing flower petals into the air. Charmed, the crowd laughed and admired Gabe’s girlfriend’s daughter. Marcus and Lori came next, the oldest Sullivan and one of the youngest. Lori took her place as one of the Maids of Honor and Marcus moved to the center in preparation for officiating the ceremony.

Yet again, Jake could hardly believe this day had come. There were a few things he’d always been able to count on in life.

Beer always tasted better from the tap.

His father had never been anything but a worthless drunk.

And the Sullivan boys weren’t going to be heading to the altar any time soon.

Ellen caught sight of him and waved him over to his place by the bridesmaid he’d be escorting. He hadn’t met her yet, but he hoped Chloe had good taste in friends. At this point, the only way he had even the slightest chance of working Sophie out of his system after a long day together at the wedding, was to make sure he ended it in bed with a gorgeous woman who was her polar opposite.

He was almost to the bridesmaid when his heart—and his feet—stopped cold.

What the hell had Sophie done to herself?

Jake blinked to try to fix his vision as Sophie and Smith rounded a row of vines and continued walking down the aisle. When he was still seeing things a few seconds later—crazy, insane things—he ran a hand over his eyes.

But nothing changed the fact that Sophie was looking like walking sex in a silky pink dress and high heels. She sure wasn’t wearing that sweater and skirt he’d been so rough on anymore. But the dress wasn’t the only thing different about her. What had she done to her hair? And why did her eyes look so big, her mouth so red?

His body reacted to the shockingly sensual picture of her before he could stop it, all of the blood that was supposed to feed a brain that knew not to ever look at Sophie Sullivan like that—especially in front of all six of her brothers—shooting south.

Ellen’s hand at his elbow jolted him. “It’s almost your turn to head up the aisle, Jake.”

He heard what she said, knew he needed to join the rest of the group, but even as he held out his arm for Chloe’s friend—he didn’t catch her name and didn’t bother to ask her for it again—he couldn’t take his eyes off Sophie.

The view from the back didn’t help his current problem, damn it. Sophie Sullivan had a perfect ass and right then she was showcasing it to three hundred people in that dress that slipped and slid over her curves so tightly he knew she couldn’t possibly be wearing anything under it.

An urge to drag her away from the wedding, away from all those hungry male eyes drinking her in, to make her change back into her normal clothes—clothes that covered her up the way she should be covered!—came so fast, Jake was hard pressed to ignore it. He couldn’t stand knowing dozens of guys in the audience were drooling right now, even the ones who were married and had no business thinking those kinds of thoughts about little Sophie.

Although…she didn’t exactly look young and innocent, didn’t seem quite so untouchable anymore, did she?

Ellen said his name again and he took it as his cue to start walking. Gabe and Megan, who were walking up the aisle in front of him, impeded his view of Sophie for a few seconds and he had to crane his neck to keep his eye on her as she took her place beside Lori beneath the rose covered arches.

A moment later, Sophie looked up and caught him staring at her. Jake tried to look away.

And failed.

The woman on his arm had to tug him to keep his feet moving in the right direction. The last thing Jake saw before taking his place beside Gabe in the lineup was Sophie’s soft mouth turned up into a sensual, utterly feminine smile.

 

* * *

 

Sophie had always loved weddings and, despite her nerves, she couldn’t help but get caught up in the romance. Of course, Sullivan Winery was quite possibly the most glorious wedding venue she’d ever seen. The budding leaves on the vines, the mustard flowers blooming in every free patch of dirt, the rolling hills, the bright blue sky above, the masses of flowers in pots and displays at the end of every row of seats—they were all breathtaking additions to the love between Chase and Chloe.

Marcus was doing such a beautiful job officiating Chase’s wedding. Sophie could tell he was as choked up as the rest of them, but his voice was steady and solid as he asked Chase and Chloe if they would love, honor, and comfort each other.

Sophie had to reach for Lori’s hand and hold it tight as she waited for that perfect moment when her brother declared his love to his bride. It felt as if the entire world stood still as Chase turned to Chloe and smiled at her. Sophie’s chest squeezed tight at the undying love radiating out from her brother to his bride.

What, Sophie wondered, would it feel like to have a man look at her like that? Like she was absolutely everything to him?

Chase said, “I will love you forever, Chloe,” and a soft sigh left Sophie’s lips as a tear slipped down her cheek. A few moments later, as Chloe made the same vow to Chase, more tears fell down Sophie’s cheeks, one after the other. And as Marcus pronounced them husband and wife, everyone cheered, but none louder than quiet Sophie Sullivan.

 

* * *

 

Jake had never cared for weddings. As far as he was concerned, they took up too much of a perfectly good weekend and were a waste of hard-earned money. Especially given that at least half of the unions ended in divorce.

For some reason, though, this wedding was different. He’d spent enough time with Chase and Chloe to think they actually had a shot at making this thing work. With that kid in her belly, he sure hoped it would.

Not, of course, that he was paying much attention to the actual wedding taking place…because he couldn’t take his eyes off the groom’s sister.

When Sophie walked up the aisle, he’d been struck stupid at how sexy she was in that dress. He almost hadn’t recognized her as the sweet girl always hanging around his heels when they were kids. But, then, as he’d watched her during the ceremony, she’d transformed again.

Still ridiculously sexy, but sweet again, her eyes big as she listened to the vows, leaning in toward the bride and groom as if she wanted to become a part of their happiness. And in that moment when she’d reached out to grab Lori’s hand, he’d had a split second of wishing it had been him she was grabbing for.

And that he could be the one to hold her.

Jake felt like someone had reached a fist into his chest and grabbed hold of his heart, squeezing until it was nothing more than a messy pile of blood and veins. He’d never be able to erase the memory of the hope, the longing, in Sophie’s eyes as she watched Chase and Chloe pledge their love to each other.

Before he knew it, Sophie was taking Smith’s arm and walking down the aisle, her perfect little backside swaying in time to the classical music playing.

“Earth to Jake,” Gabe said, elbowing him just before he headed toward Megan to walk her back up the aisle to the crowds that were already surrounding Chase and Chloe. “It’s over. Time to go.”

* * *

 

There was only one sure cure for Jake’s sudden bout of insanity. He’d tend the bar…and then he’d find himself a willing single woman who didn’t have anything to do with the Sullivan family. And he was going to steer completely clear of Sophie for the rest of the wedding. A little distance from all those soft curves and those plump red lips would help him get his head back on straight.

“I’ve got this,” he told Sammy, one of his best bartenders at the original McCann’s in the city. “You can circulate with the trays.”

Fortunately, the wedding guests were thirsty, clearly needing some vino or hops to wash the taste of the syrupy vows from their tongues. Pouring drinks for strangers was as natural to Jake as breathing, and he immediately got into a rhythm in the middle of the vineyard as the meal was served and people kept a running line behind the bar between courses. He couldn’t remember a time he hadn’t been drying clean glasses, rearranging bottles. As a kid, when his dad had been the one running the taps, Jake had been in the back loading and unloading the dishwasher for a few extra bucks while the cooks at whatever pub they were at slung together plates of fish and chips and colcannon.

When the female guests flirted with him at the bar, he flirted back. So what if none of them were even half as pretty as Sophie? The Sullivans might be pairing up one after the other like they’d been infected by the same virus, but Jake had had his shots.

Love wasn’t going to take him down.

He knew better than to think that love meant a damn thing when the going got rough and it was easier to split. No wife, no kids, plenty of pretty women, but no rings, was what Jake’s future held. He’d play with all the kids the Sullivan clan was bound to pump out, would enjoy being Uncle Jake, but he wouldn’t make the mistake of thinking he’d ever be a good husband or father.

McCanns didn’t come with those genes.

“You haven’t had anything to eat yet.”

The slightly husky female voice reached in and grabbed him a split second before he looked straight into Sophie’s eyes. Her soft sensuality in that pink dress, the sweet smell of her perfume, were a one-two punch straight to a gut that hadn’t yet recovered from watching those tears slip down her cheeks, or the radiant smile that had followed.

Without waiting for an invitation, she put a full plate on the back table for him and moved around the bar to stand next to him. “Scoot over. I’ll help out while you eat.” She bumped her hip into his, causing him to become rock-hard in an instant, his body not giving a damn that she was OFF LIMITS.

How could her brothers have let her out looking like this? What were they thinking? Didn’t they care even a little bit about their sister’s welfare?

While he was standing there losing his mind, Sophie took drink orders and deftly poured glasses of wine and mixed drinks for the wedding guests. She was a librarian, not a bartender. She shouldn’t be so good at serving drinks. And no librarian should ever be this hot, either, Jake thought as he clamped his jaw so tight his temple started throbbing. He’d let her help for five minutes, and then he’d send her back to her table to celebrate with the rest of her family and make sure she stayed there for the rest of the reception.

Even if he had to tie her to her seat.

A beer bottle nearly slipped from his grip as Jake was hit with a crystal-clear vision of Sophie tied to his bed, naked and begging for him to touch, to taste, to—

“I hear you’re a librarian. Read any good books lately?”

Jake surfaced from his triple-X daydream just in time to notice a male guest leaning on the bar and looking down the top of Sophie’s dress.

She didn’t seem to notice any of that as she smiled back at the guy. She was too innocent to realize when a guy like this was aiming for one thing, and one thing only: to get into her panties.

Panties Jake was almost certain she wasn’t even wearing.

“Mmm,” she said in that seductive voice, still slightly hoarse from her tears, causing Jake to be slammed with another crazy vision of her lying naked beneath him, crying out his name again and again until her voice gave out altogether. “I’m always reading great books. What do you like to read?”

The guy shrugged, not seeming to care that there was a huge backup of thirsty people bottlenecking behind him. “I’m a doct—”

“What are you drinking?” Jake broke in.

The guy shot him a look that said, Can’t you see I’m about to score here?

“Corona,” he said to Jake before turning back to Sophie’s phenomenal breasts. “As I was saying, I’m a doctor, so I don’t have too much time to read. But when I do, I usually read thrillers. Medical thrillers, to be more specific.”

Jake couldn’t believe it when Sophie leaned over the bar and said, “Oooh, how exciting. Medical thrillers always leave me breathless.”

Didn’t she get that this loser was way beneath her? She should be throwing a drink in his face, not giving him a better view of her perfect body as she leaned down to grab a bottle of beer. Dr. Dickwad looked like he’d hit a home run, was counting the minutes until he could strip that dress from her tanned skin and find out if she tasted as good as she smelled.

Like hell. Jake would kill him first.

Jake snatched the bottle from her hand. “Here’s your beer. Time to let everyone else get a drink.”

He could feel Sophie frowning at him as he pinned the guy with his hardest look. If she couldn’t pick good from bad, he was going to have to save her. Whether she wanted him to or not was irrelevant.

Although the guy flinched at Jake’s silent promise of violence, it didn’t stop him from saying, “Be sure to save a dance for me, gorgeous,” before he walked away.

Jake held on to his control by a very thin thread. Nothing would feel better than to jump over the bar and tackle the guy to teach him what happened when he flirted with the wrong girl. A girl who was too sweet, too pretty, too damn perfect for him to ever even think of touching one hair on her head.

“You’re not dancing with him,” he growled. “Not tonight. Not ever.”

“I’m a big girl, Jake. I’ll dance with whomever I want.”

Serving the customer always took priority. But not this time. Turning his back on the crowd still in line, he slid between Sophie and the bar, then put his hands on her shoulders and gripped her hard.

“No. You won’t. He’s not good enough for you.”

“It’s so sweet of you to be concerned, Jake,” she said in a soft voice. “But I can take care of myself.”

“Your brothers would kill me if anything happened to you.” Hell, they’d kill him if they ever suspected the way he was thinking about her.

“Actually,” she said as she looked over his shoulder, “I think my brother’s guests might kill both of us if we don’t keep serving them drinks.”

Very reluctantly, Jake shifted back into position. But even though he didn’t spill a drop and his fingers didn’t slip on any more bottles, his attention was wholly focused on Sophie. Which was why he saw her shoot a glance at the a-hole who had been flirting with her just before saying, “I think he looks perfectly harmless. In fact…”

Jake tossed an empty bottle into the bin beneath the bar with a loud crash. “In fact what?”

“Since you don’t want to help me out with my plan to make my ex jealous, maybe I should use that guy instead.”

“Sammy,” he called out across the reception area, motioning for his employee to take over the bar again. He didn’t wait for Sam to make it to the bar before wrapping his hand around Sophie’s wrist and pulling her out from behind the bar. He didn’t stop walking until they were hidden behind a large storage shed, just on the edge of the reception area.

“No.”

She looked down at his hand where it was still clamped around her wrist. “There are thousands of other words in the English language, you know.”

He ignored her sarcasm and told her flat out, “You are not getting within a hundred feet of that guy again.”

Anger flared in her eyes. Eyes that had been full of happy tears, full of pure joy, just a short while ago. “You can’t tell me what to do.”

“Like hell I can’t.”

She yanked her arm from his and started to walk away, but he couldn’t let her go. Not when she was bound to do something stupid, like kiss a smarmy doctor. And maybe even offer him her body, those sweet curves slipping and sliding beneath him as she gave herself to him.

Furious at the picture of anyone touching Sophie like that, instead of just grabbing her wrist or her shoulders, this time Jake wrapped his arms all the way around her and pulled her into him. He held her tight, her chest pushing into his forearms, her height matching his so that her hips fit perfectly between his open legs, her soft hips pressing into his groin.

“Let go of me.”

“No.”

His new favorite word was muffled by her hair, so soft, so silky against his chin and lips. And the truth was, he couldn’t have let go of her for the world. Not just because he didn’t want that other guy touching her…but because he’d never wanted to hold anyone more than he did Sophie.

How long had he dreamed of holding her? Too many years to keep count. And yet, he’d never had a clue just how incredibly good she would feel in his arms, her dangerous curves pressed into him, her chest rising and falling against his arms.

“I’m not going to let you go until you promise me you’ll stay away from him.”

Now it was her turn to say, “No.”

He shifted his hand enough to slip a finger beneath her chin and turn her face so that he could look into her eyes. “Promise me, Sophie. It’s for your own good.”

Sophie yanked her face away from his hand, then her whole body, and when she turned to face him head-on, her eyes were flashing. “I can’t believe you just said that! Especially since you of all people have no idea whatsoever what’s good for me.”

“Wanna bet?”

His mouth was on hers before he could put the brakes on his desire.

 

Continued….

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*  *  *

Trade

by Tareq Hassan

4.5 stars – 12 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Patricia Foley, anti-semite, homophobe, and previously one of the CIA’s rising stars, has been exiled to the basement for the past ten years. Chase Anderson, Chief of the Near East Division and Pat’s former mentor, feels partially responsible for her fall from grace. Pete Marcone and Adriel Parish, FBI, have penetrated a domestic cell of Muslim extremists, and the Powers-that-Be want the success leveraged into an international operation. Anderson offers the simple hand-holding exercise to Pat, but Pat has plans of her own. And figuring into those plans, Danny Golan, Israeli master spy, Pat’s former lover, and the principal cause of her misfortunes.

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*  *  *

Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure

by Suzanne Anderson

4.4 stars – 8 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
Now faith is
the substance of things hoped for…
Hungary’s fragile alliance with Germany kept Natalie, a renowned children’s book author, and her family out of harm’s way for most of the war. Now as the Führer’s desperation grows during the waning years of the conflict, so does its threat. Natalie’s younger sister, Ilona, married a Jewish man, putting both her and her young daughter, Mila, in peril; Natalie’s twin sister, Anna, is losing her already tenuous hold on reality. As the streets of Budapest thrum with the pounding boots of Nazi soldiers, danger creeps to the doorstep where Natalie shields them all.Ilona and her husband take the last two tickets to safety for themselves, abandoning Natalie to protect Anna and Mila from the encroaching danger. Anna’s paranoid explosion at a university where was once a professor, sparked by delusions over an imagined love triangle, threatens their only other chance for escape. Ultimately, Natalie is presented with a choice no one should ever have to make; which of her family will she save?An inspirational story of faith and family, strength and weakness, and the ultimate triumph of love over hate. Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure demonstrates the power of faith to light even the most harrowing darkness.

… faith is the evidence of things not seen.

*  *  *

The Covert Element – A James Becker Thriller (James “Beck” Becker Suspense/Thriller Series)

by John L. Betcher

4.7 stars – 18 Reviews

Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Former military intelligence operative, James “Beck” Becker and his CIA code-cracking wife, Beth, have retired to Beck’s hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota. Their retirement has already proven more exhilarating than they’d expected.

But they could never have anticipated the new source of crime and intrigue in their small community. A Mexican drug cartel has set up shop a few miles down the road. And they’re not just selling. The new meth production facility is the largest north of the Rio Grande.

To complicate matters further, Terry “Bull” Red Feather’s former comrade-in-arms has come to visit. And he’s on a mission. His decades-long assault on the cartels is coming to a head. His plan is to blow up the drug plant . . . if he can find it. He wants Bull to help.

The Beckers’ challenge? To dismantle cartel operations before a full-blown drug war breaks out in Red Wing.


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The Mancode: Exposed

by Rachel Thompson

4.1 stars – 53 Reviews
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Where Secrets Lie

by Donna Marie Lanheady

3.4 stars – 14 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Where Secrets Lie is an exploration of one family’s reliance on secrets, how those secrets affect their relationships and alter the directions their lives take, and where those secrets all began.

Sara is the older of two sisters. Her marriage is in trouble, and she only has herself to blame. Everyday Sara takes a birth control pill even though she and her husband, David, are trying to have a baby. When David finds the pills and confronts her with them, Sara must face her own unresolved guilt about a pregnancy David knows nothing about.

Katie is Sara’s younger sister. Her girlfriend, Emily, is tired of pretending they are just roommates whenever they are around Katie’s parents. After all, they are candid about living together as a couple with everyone else. Enough is enough. Problem is, Katie cannot muster up enough courage to defy her mother’s behavioral boundaries. That is, at least, not openly.

Sara and Katie’s mother, Lee, spends her life deploying secrets in order to protect her loved ones not only from difficult truths, but also from the prejudices they elicit. In spite of the torment her own secret laden past causes her, Lee raises her daughters to repress inconvenient truths.

Set in Colorado, Where Secrets Lie shifts between the unique foothills community of Boulder, the mile high city of Denver, and the majestic Rocky Mountains as it moves from the sisters’ stories to their mother’s story weaving them all together and merging each woman’s past with her present circumstances.

*  *  *

Rippler (The Ripple Trilogy)

by Cidney Swanson

4.5 stars – 68 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Samantha Ruiz has a freak gene that makes her turn invisible, or ripple. She can’t control it, and it’s getting worse. Afraid of becoming a lab-rat, Sam keeps her ability secret, until fellow runner Will Baker sees her vanish into thin air. Will promises secrecy and help, and Sam begins to fall in love.

Together, the two discover there are worse things than being a scientific curiosity. Someone’s been killing people who possess Sam’s gene. A mysterious man from France sends letters that offer hope for safety, but also reveal a sinister connection with Nazi experiments.

The more time Sam spends with Will, the less she can imagine life without him. When Sam uncovers secrets from her past, she must choose between keeping Will in her life or keeping Will safe.

*  *  *

Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble

by D. Robert Pease

4.6 stars – 49 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction.Life couldn’t be better.But the twelve-year-old time traveler learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is kidnapped and taken to Mars; his dad is stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying Earth… for the second time.
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Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine’s world apart. Now, seventeen years later, and far from the homestead, Katherine has found the truth – she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it’s too late?

Independent Publisher Awards:
2011 Gold Medal, Best Regional Fiction–MidwestUSA “Best Books 2011” Awards:
Winner, Fiction–Western
Finalist, Fiction–Historical
Finalist, Best New Fiction 

National Indie Excellence Book Awards:
2011 Finalist Award–Historical Fiction
2011 Finalist Award–Regional Fiction

International Book Awards:
2011 Finalist Award–Historical Fiction
2011 Finalist Award–Best New Fiction

From the reviewers:

As a voracious reader, I know immediately if an author has what it takes to capture my attention and win my loyalty, and Ms. Shoop is definitely one of those authors. This author’s style and voice are unique, and often gritty, her narrative and dialogue true to the period. Her grasp of life on the prairie is very good, and her detail not only rich, but honest. She does her homework.  –  S.K. McClafferty

I absolutely loved this Kindle book. As I started reading it and it went back to 1887, I realized the time frame and place was right for another excellent nonfiction book, “The Children’s Blizzard” which I read a few years ago. Without giving any more away, suffice it to say I was right. “The Last Letter” was so difficult to put down and I thought the writing was great.   –  Ilene Kreider

This book is as good as it sounds..love, duty, unrequited love, and daily fortitude of life on the prairies..if you’re into pioneering stories, which I am! I saw it mentioned somewhere else, and knew I had to have it…found it on Amazon.com for a great price. Great read!  –  Linda Pfeffer

This is a very eye-opening book as to how people actually lived on the prairies of the United States when territories were first being settled. When this family moved into their “Home” the former resident left a sign for them that read, “Welcome to Hell”. They should have turned and ran all the way back home, but they chose to stay out of stubbornness, pride, and wishful thinking.  This was a great book. It’s definitely not “LIttle House on the Prairie” with happy endings at the end of every episode, but I’m glad I read it and highly recommend it.  –  Michelle Wegner

Visit Amazon’s Kathleen Shoop Page

Thank you for reading about me here and for purchasing my novel! I’m married with two children. I’ve been seriously writing for almost a decade although I dabbled much earlier than that! I’ve had short stories published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, am a regular contributor to a local magazine, Pittsburgh Parent, and have had essays in local newspapers as well.I have a PhD in Reading Education and currently work as a Language Arts Coach at a school in Pittsburgh. I work with teachers and their students in grades k-8 and am lucky to learn something new from them every time I walk through their doors.

My first novel, The Last Letter (2011 IPPY Gold Medal–Regional Fiction, Midwest, 2011 Indie Excellence Finalist Award for Historical Fiction and Regional Fiction, 2011 International Book Awards Finalist for Historical Fiction and Best New Fiction), was a fascinating trip through history, punctuated with fictional characters and events. The idea for the story grew from my great-great grandmother’s letters (see My Dear Frank for the complete set of letters!) written during the year of her engagement to Frank Arthur. The beautiful letters are the inspiration for the novel, the seed from which The Last Letter’s characters and their voices grew.

I’ve also written women’s fiction (COMING SOON!) and have written another historical fiction novel (COMING A LITTLE LATER!) set in 1948 in a town not far from Oakmont, PA.

I’m considering revisiting my characters and setting of The Last Letter for a future book, but I hope readers will enjoy the fact I write about varied eras and places and that they will love each book for it’s unique setting and time.

And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample of THE LAST LETTER by Kathleen Shoop: