For one night of my life, I dared to do something reckless.
My birthday. A bar. Karaoke. And a man so hot he could melt the sun.
Sparks flew. Lust took over. For one night of my life, I felt alive.
Then I was back to my “boring” life. Career-driven. Goal-oriented. Always planning ahead.
But nothing could have prepared me for the positive pregnancy test. We weren’t that reckless.
There goes my “boring” life. And what happens when I tell the father?
When a firm hand clamped my shoulder, I realized Nate had plopped down on the stool beside me. “What the hell are you doing here? Why aren’t you home in your fortress, avoiding people who like having fun?”
“Shut it. I needed a drink.”
“In here?” he asked, an amused smirk on his face. “You despise this place when there’s a game on.”
“Yeah, well, temporary insanity.”
“So, what’s going on with you?”
“Isn’t that a loaded question?” I quipped without thinking.
“You okay?” he quickly asked.
At that moment, Brad came back, slinging a dishtowel over his shoulder. Typically, the females in the vicinity began giggling and whispering at seeing identical triplets in one location. Ignoring it, Brad said, “Did you tell him?”
“Tell me what?”
I held Nate’s gaze, but the words caught in my throat.
Brad took my silence as an opportunity to blurt out, “We’re going to be uncles.” Nate’s expression mirrored Brad’s from when I told him, and it had nothing to do with our likenesses. “Jade is pregnant.”
“Say what?” Nate said. When Nate then said, “Who the fuck is Jade?” Brad lost his shit.
“Someone I met.”
“How did you meet?”
The grin on Brad’s face caused a scowl on mine. “Jade is the beauty I rigged him to meet at my bar on Kismet Karaoke Night. He needed to get laid, dude.”
“So, this is actually your fault?” Nate accused with an eye roll and sigh before turning back to me. “And you slept with her that night?”
“Yeah,” I said like a child being scolded. Predictably, my brother, always the counselor, listened intently as I explained the chain of events that led to where Jade and I were now. Once done, his silence continued to stretch. “Say something,” I prodded.
“How well do you know this woman?” The question should have irritated me, but I couldn’t blame him for playing devil’s advocate.
“Well enough,” I said, knowing it was a weak explanation.
“Great answer,” he grumbled, shaking his head. “Shit, I leave you two for a few weeks and all hell breaks loose. I’d expect this from him,” he accused, thrusting a thumb at Brad. “Not from you.”
“Fuck off.” Brad flipped him the bird. “Hey, I have a stupid question,” he said. “Did you use condoms?”
“Of course, I did.”
“Yeah. What’s your point?”
“Dude, there was a massive recall on them. It was all over the news.”
My gaze flicked to Nate. “Is he shitting me?”
“Afraid not. You didn’t know?”
“What the fuck? Cars get recalled, not fucking condoms. Don’t they realize they’re playing with people’s lives?”
“Yeah. Thus, the recall,” Brad offered with a chuckle. “Obviously, you don’t have sex enough to keep on top of these things.”
“Fuck.” I didn’t know which was more unbelievable—a recall on condoms or the fact that Brad was right.
A.M. Madden’s romance debut is The Back-Up series, consisting of Back-Up, Front & Center, and Encore.
A.M. Madden is a wife, a mother, an avid reader of romance novels and now an author. In Back-up she aspired to create a fun, sexy, realistic romantic story. She wanted to create characters that the reader could relate to and feel as if they knew personally.
A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, she loves getting lost in a good book. She uses every free moment of her time writing, while raising teenage boys.
One lucky winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card, International. This giveaway runs until March 30, 2020. Click here to enter.
Mandy Reynolds needs a reset on life in so many ways. Her acting career isn’t exactly where she’d hoped it to be. She can’t even get a job as a germ for a commercial. When she inherits half a house she sees it as a sign and heads home to Heavenly Falls, Illinois. She’ll sell the house, and use the money to take her career to the next level in Los Angeles. That is if she can convince her hard-headed––and stupidly gorgeous–– ex-stepbrother, Alex Noonan, to sell fast.
The last time Alex saw Mandy, she was a gangly teen, who followed him around like a sad puppy. But she’s grown into a smart and funny woman, who is as frustrating as she is beautiful. The fact that they have to live in the house––together––while they fix it up, is one temptation he doesn’t need. And while he’s having fun spending time with her, she’s moving on soon, and he needs time to heal.
Plus, she has no idea he’s got a secret that could put a monkey wrench in all of her plans…
“I’m sorry. We need someone more…viral.” The casting director’s voice boomed through the cramped audition space. “Next!”
Mandy Reynolds mumbled her thanks to the panel and yanked the glitter-encrusted antennae off her head, along with several long strands of blond hair. Her first real audition back in her hometown and she couldn’t book a stupid hand sanitizer commercial—even dressed as a jumbo-size germ. She’d worn the costume, thinking it might help make her more memorable to the directors, in a good way. Guess she’d been wrong.
Disappointment burned alongside the grief in her chest as she made her way toward the exit, but she did her best to stay positive. She came by her optimism naturally, courtesy of her mother.
Think positive. Better things are just around the corner.
Today, though, the words brought a fresh sting of tears to Mandy’s eyes instead of hope to her heart. Her mom had passed a month prior, after a vicious battle with cancer, and things were still getting settled with the estate. That was the whole reason she was back in Heavenly Falls, to make sure her mother’s final wishes were carried out. After her mom’s valiant fight against a deadly disease, the least Mandy could do was keep her chin up after messing up an audition. If she didn’t get this job it was because it wasn’t meant for her. Yes, she needed the money, but there would be another way.
Please let there be another way.
Problem was, she’d been staying with her half sister, Gina, for the past four weeks and worried about wearing out her welcome. Gina hadn’t said anything, but Mandy didn’t like to stay in one place too long. Too confining. Too risky.
Her phone buzzed in the pocket of her duffel bag, and she pulled it out to find a reminder of her next appointment—a tour of the house on the rental property she’d inherited from her mother. Well, half of it, anyway. The other half her mom had bequeathed to a man Mandy hadn’t seen in thirteen years. A guy who’d once made her quake with lust in her Chuck Taylors. A real-life Prince Charming who’d whisk her away to happily ever after.
She’d been wrong about that, too.
Fingers trembling, she clicked off the phone. Was this the break she needed? Mom must’ve intended for her to sell it for the cash, right? That’s the only thing she could figure, since Mandy’s gypsy lifestyle wasn’t exactly conducive to home ownership. The thing she couldn’t understand, though, was why her mother had gotten Alex involved. As far as Mandy knew, her mom hadn’t had any contact with him since divorcing his father over a decade prior. It made no sense, but then neither did her mother’s serial marriages. Each man had seemed like a good fit for her mother and been kind and generous, but it had never been enough, apparently.
The irony wasn’t lost on Mandy. She loved her mom and missed her terribly, but she wasn’t like her. Not that way, at least. She moved around because of her work. She didn’t like to get involved too deeply with anyone, because long-distance relationships were difficult. It had nothing to do with her nomadic childhood.
Dull numbness spread outward from her core as she ran outside into the gray autumn rain and made a beeline for an Uber idling near the curb. Clambering into the back seat, her bulky costume made the fit precarious. “Eight-two-five West Concord Lane, please.”
Minutes later, Mandy climbed out onto the rain-slicked pavement on the outskirts of town. Mr. Pickett, her mother’s attorney, stood there sharing an umbrella with a taller man.
Alex. Still gorgeous as ever, darn him.
Mandy forced her attention to the Victorian-style house behind them. Not a total disaster, but not exactly Architectural Digest material, either. The exterior paint on the gingerbread trim was peeling, and the wraparound porch sagged in one corner. Overall, in need of TLC, but habitable.
“Nice outfit,” Alex said, looking her up and down like she was an alien from Planet Nimrod. “What are you? A mutant ninja cockroach?”
“I had an audition and didn’t have time to change before coming here.” She looked down at her homemade costume then back up at the two men, battling her urge to scurry away like a crab avoiding the stewpot. She ignored Alex and held out her hand to Mr. Pickett. “Thanks for showing us around today.”
“My pleasure.” The attorney shook her hand while Alex turned away, dismissing her the same way he had all those years ago. She’d spent the year their parents had been married thinking the sun rose and fell because of him, and he’d seen her as nothing more than a nuisance. At least that’s how it had felt back then. Now, she was a grown woman and refused to let him shove her aside. Too much depended on her being able to get her mother’s affairs in order, and fast—her future, her career, her need to put this place behind her and move on.
“Let’s get started then, shall we?” Mr. Pickett led them to the porch.
Alex followed first and Mandy trailed behind them, studying her ex-stepbrother more closely. He was still quarterback handsome, with his dark hair and chiseled features, his dark blue T-shirt and faded jeans clinging to his muscled bod. As they moved toward the house, though, she noticed a limp.
Huh. That was new.
Alex eyed Mandy from across the kitchen table, trying to decide if she was bluffing. He hadn’t played poker since college, and his skills were a bit rusty. Not to mention his ability to read people these days was wonky. Ever since the shooting, he hadn’t been able to trust his instincts. They’d failed him that day, what’s to say it wouldn’t happen again.
She tapped a finger against her full bottom lip. “I’ll see your bet and raise you a nickel.”
A knock at the front door kept Alex from making a bad gamble.
“Food’s here.” He laid his cards facedown on the table then stood and pulled his wallet from his back pocket. “Be right back.”
“Make sure they gave us extra soy sauce,” she said from behind him. He glanced back at her, his gaze dropping to the sun on the front of her shirt, smiling at him from atop her breasts. He quickly looked away again, warmth flooding his system.
“Already asked for it when I ordered,” Alex called back as he reached the foyer, his words stumbling slightly. He cleared his throat then faced the delivery guy, paying him fast then grabbing the paper bags from his hands before shutting the door.
By the time he got back to the kitchen, Mandy had cleared away their card game.
He started pulling out their food and setting it in the middle of the table, including two bottles of soda. “They gave us plastic silverware and chopsticks, too.”
“Great.” Mandy tried to move past him at the same moment he turned to toss the empty bag on the counter, and they collided. Without thinking, he grabbed her shoulder to steady her, and a tingling rush of awareness zipped through his bloodstream, hot and bright and dangerous. Alex pulled away as if burned. “Sorry.”
“No, no.” Mandy backed up several steps, looking anywhere but at him. “My fault.”
Alex slumped into his chair and busied himself by mixing his rice into his kung pao chicken, his fingertips still abuzz from their brief, unexpected contact.
Mandy took the chair across from him and picked up a packet of chopsticks with one hand and her carton of shrimp lo mien with the other. “Guess I’m still in your way. Just like when we were kids. Hopefully it won’t be a problem, though, once we both get moved in. I plan to take a room on the second floor, to give us each some space and, you know…”
“You’re not in my way,” Alex said, hiding his wince at the lie. No, that wasn’t true. Until they settled the estate and he bought her out, she was most definitely in his way. And unfortunately, he did know. Things were difficult enough with people treating him differently since the shooting, thinking he was weak because he walked with a limp. The last thing he needed was more pity, especially from Mandy. “And stay where you want. I don’t care.”
She looked up at him, a flash of hurt in her blue eyes, and damn if he didn’t feel like he’d just kicked a puppy or something. Okay. Fine. Maybe that had come out harsher than he’d intended, but he just wished the awkwardness between them would go away already. It was going to be weird enough living under the same roof again after all these years. They didn’t need to be walking on eggshells around each other, too.
They ate in silence for a while, until Mandy asked, “So, what’s fun to do around Heavenly Falls these days?”
“I wouldn’t know.” Alex kept his head down as he chewed. “I don’t get out much.”
The weight of her stare burned a hole through him, and he finally hazarded a glance up. “What?”
“Jack mentioned earlier that you’re on permanent disability—”
“Jack says too much.” Alex scowled down at his plate again. “It’s not my leg. I get anxiety attacks.”
Traci: Since Alex and Mandy, my hero and heroine in Worth the Wait, love all things John Hughes, it’s no wonder their playlist is full of 80s goodness (+Flo Rida)! Here are 6 selections mentioned in the story and inspired by Alex and Mandy’s playlists:
I’m a USA Today Bestselling Author whose stories feature sizzling heroes with humor, quick wits and troubled pasts and heroines who are smart, tenacious, and always give as good as they get. I hold an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and I love cute animals, chocolate, coffee, hot UK actors, and sarcasm—not necessarily in that order.
My books are published with Harlequin/Mills & Boon, Entangled Publishing, and Tule Publishing.
Want to try a FREE book? Sign up for my newsletter here.
One lucky winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card, International. Click here to enter.
Title: WRONG BED, RIGHT MAN (Accidental Love Book 3) Author: Rebecca Brooks Pub. Date: February 17, 2020 Publisher: Entangled: Brazen Formats: Paperback, eBook Pages: 150 Find it:Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo
Rose Campbell is determined to get her stuff from her cheating ex-fiancé’s apartment. There’s just one problem. A sexy stranger is sleeping in her bed. Work boots and scruff so aren’t her type––except when they’re on furniture maker Owen Crowley, who is funny, kind, and speaks his mind.
The prim and proper Rose isn’t the kind of woman Owen is usually interested in. But the more he gets to know her, the more intrigued he becomes. There’s passion underneath those stiff suits of hers that he can’t wait to explore.
There’s no reason these two opposites can’t have some sexy fun––except that one thing. Rose works for the very people trying to destroy Owen’s business.
Owen pressed on the mattress over the place he’d fixed, where the weak spot in the wood had originally been. He pressed again, again. Pressed hard enough that the mattress began to…squeak. In a very particular rhythm. In a very particular way.
“I’m not going to break the bed,” Rose cried, obviously horrified.
“Test it,” he said. “Try your best. Go ahead and prove me wrong.”
He should run full speed in the other direction. But it was too much fun to tease her. And his resolve was only so strong. He walked over to his bag and reached inside. He’d told himself he wasn’t going to do this…but here he was, doing it anyway.
“I know you said these aren’t yours, but I thought you should have them.”
He pulled out the restraints. It was as if all the air in the room suddenly vanished. It all must have been locked inside Rose with the force of her inhale.
He twisted them around his wrists and tugged. Unbreakable leather, unbreakable bed. She couldn’t deny it was a winning combination.
“I’m so. Not. Going to use that.” She was looking everywhere but at him. Or at the bed. Or at the restraints in his hands.
“I told you,” he said. “There’s no way you’re going to break the bed now.”
“You should take those. Please.”
“But I don’t have any use for them.”
Now he got her eyes on him. Only for a second, but it was something. “No girlfriend?” she asked.
He shook his head. “I haven’t found the right one.”
“Someone who’ll put up with your snoring? Trust me, I heard.”
She was clearly trying to joke, and he let her have half a grin. “More like someone I could actually be into.”
Not that he could let himself be into her. But he tossed the restraints on the mattress and looked at her anyway.
“Go ahead,” he said. “Try to break that bed.”
“You forget that I don’t have a boyfriend,” she said demurely.
Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them.
She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx.
She likes outdoorsy guys with both muscle and heart and independent women ready to try something new.
Master illusionist Nicholas Pine has learned the hard way that nothing—and nobody—is what they seem. So when he runs into sexy antique shop owner, Zelda Quincy, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye. Still, what he sees is very, very intriguing…and he can’t get her out of his head.
Zelda has spent her whole adult life running away from her family’s reputation. She’s changed her name and tried to move on. The last thing she wants is to return to the world she left behind, even with someone as hot as Nicholas by her side.
But after one hot night––she’s addicted––and so is he.
Too bad the skeletons in Zelda’s closet won’t stay hidden for long…
Even if she was willing to believe he would, the sigil tattoo on his wrist was glaring proof that illusion was in his blood. He was in the Guild of Ancient Magic—a brotherhood that had a lifetime membership. She found it hard to look at the tattoo without remembering seeing it on her father’s wrist and the one she’d covered up with the black rose.
She hated magic.
She should never have opened the Pandora’s box that was the Houdini water chest. She’d known the moment she’d bid on it at the online auction house. But she also hadn’t been able to resist.
“I think you should go, Mr. Pine, before I do something that we both might regret in the morning.”
“Why do you keep calling me Mr. Pine?” he asked.
“It’s your name, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” he said sardonically. “But I sense there is more to your attitude than that.”
“I’m trying to avoid throwing myself at you. I thought keeping it formal might help.”
He shook his head and laughed. “Is it working?”
Not really. But some latent self-preservation warned her not to say that out loud. “Why?”
“I just wondered if I should start calling you Ms. Quincy.”
She knew that there wasn’t anything sweet in what he said, but it touched her the same way that him watching Stetson do a magic trick had. She liked him.
It didn’t matter that he was part of a group of people she’d sworn to never let into her life again. It didn’t matter that he was a magician and was probably more flash than substance. It did matter that he had a smile that made her feel warm and that he smelled like rain and that he’d always followed her lead in conversations, even when she said something over-the-top.
“No, I don’t think so,” she admitted.
“So, what should we do about this inconvenient attraction?”
“Well, I have a ‘no magicians in my bed’ rule.”
“That is a statement begging for questions that I know you don’t want to answer,” he said. “What about ‘magicians in the kitchen’? Seems like you might be okay with that.”
She groaned. No, she wasn’t okay with it, but she also had known from the moment she’d opened her front door and let him into her house that she wasn’t going to shove him out before morning unless he’d wanted to go.
Clearly, he didn’t.
“I never made a rule about that,” she admitted.
“Good. Because I have an ‘always with women who run magic collectibles shops in the kitchen’ rule.”
She started laughing and couldn’t stop. It had been years since she’d felt this kind of joy with anyone.
USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera writes emotionally sexy contemporary romances. An Amazon, BN & iBooks bestseller, she is also a two-time Maggie winner and has more than 7 million copies of her books sold worldwide.
1 winner will receive a $15 Amazon GC, International. Click here to enter!
Title: REAL PIGEONS FIGHT CRIME Author: Andrew McDonald & Ben Wood (Illustrations) Pub. Date: January 7, 2020 Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers Formats: Hardcover, eBook Pages: 208 Find it:Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD
Ever wonder why pigeons act so weird? Because they are secretly chasing bad guys and flying around saving your butt! This hilarious illustrated series is perfect for fans of BAD GUYS and DOG MAN.
What do REAL PIGEONS do? They fight crime, of course! Wait, what? You didn’t know your town is protected by a secret squad of crime-fighting feathered friends? Well, you are about to get schooled. REAL PIGEONS solve mysteries! REAL PIGEONS fight bad guys! And REAL PIGEONS won’t stop until your neighborhood is safe and the questions are all answered: Like, why have all the breadcrumbs disappeared? And which food truck smells the best?
Andrew McDonald is a reader and writer of books for young readers.
His brand new series REAL PIGEONS debuts in 2018, with hilarious illustrations by Ben Wood.
His first children’s novel, The Greatest Blogger in the World featured the story of Charlie Ridge, a young blogger navigating family, friends and the perils of internet life. His second novel Son of Death, a black comedy about a family of modern grim reapers, was named by The Age as one of the ‘best books of the year’ in 2015.
He is also the creator of a blog post about ‘camera loss’ that somehow went viral and he wasn’t embarrassed enough to decline an invitation to be a Cleo Bachelor in 2011.
Andrew is an avid reader of children’s and YA literature. He has worked for Readings bookshop in Melbourne and at the flagship Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London, where he was thrilled to put his knowledge to work as a children’s bookseller. He has previously judged the Young Adult category of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the Centre for Youth Literature’s Inky Awards.
Andrew is a graduate of RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing diploma and his writing has taken him around the world. He completed an artist residency at Caldera Arts in Oregon, USA and a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust fellowship in Adelaide.
He is a regular presenter on the schools circuit in Australia, conducting writing workshops; talking about his writing life; and sharing the stories and experiences behind his books.
Ben Wood is a children’s illustrator based in Victoria, Australia. He has been commissioned to work with clients such as Hardie Grant Egmont, Penguin Random House, and Scholastic Australia.
Ben is able to offer clients a wealth of illustration styles and techniques in both digital and traditional mediums. Recent publications include ‘Blast Off!‘ by Shelly Unwin and the Squishy Taylor series, by Ailsa Wild. He is currently illustrating the Real Pigeons series by Andrew McDonald. “It’s super coo!”
Ben also runs presentations or workshops in schools, public libraries and bookstores. His sessions can vary from small to large groups, depending on what suits best. He is more than happy to work with Prep-Year 9 students, and adults too. Please contact Booked Out Speakers Agency for a booking.
3 winners will win a finished copy of REAL PIGEONS FIGHT CRIME, US Only. Click here to enter.
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Title: NATURAL PASSION Author: Anna Durand Pub. Date: January 9, 2020 Publisher: Jacobsville Books Formats: Paperback, eBook Pages: 208 Get it on:Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
Natural Passion is the first book in a brand-new trilogy of romantic comedies from Anna Durand, the bestselling author of the Hot Scots series.
I entertain naked people for a living. No, not THAT kind of entertainment. I own a nudist resort. I’m not a nudist, but Val Silva is. And he’s a human supernova sleeping in the room next door.
The man is tall, gorgeous, tattooed, and a shameless exhibitionist. As the Brazilian bad boy of the international football world, he’s as famous for his sex tape as for his talent on the field. Oh, did I mention he walks around naked ALL the time? A girl only has so much willpower. Maybe we can have a little fun… as long as his tabloid past doesn’t mess with my quiet life.
Eve Holt is the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen, in those short-shorts and tank tops that make me wonder what she’s hiding underneath. Most women love my wild side, but Eve thinks I’m trouble with a capital T. Okay, she might have a point there. But I always get what I want, and I want her. I didn’t lead my team to Olympic gold by giving up. That’s one fact about me Eve is about to learn.
Panting, I rushed up to meet my guest. “Hi, welcome to Au Naturel Naturist Resort. I’m—”
My voice ceased working the instant the man jumped out of the car and turned toward me.
A god had stepped out of the luxury pickup. My gaze insisted on taking in the full picture of my newest guest, wandering over his entire body. Tall and muscular in an athletic way, he boasted skin lightly bronzed by the sun. His dark hair curled around his ears to kiss the lower edge of the lobes. His cocoa slacks clung to his thighs, accentuating the powerful muscles underneath. The top two buttons of his white dress shirt hung open.
My attention stalled on his chest and the elaborate tattoos that covered the swath of skin I could see.
He ran a hand through his artfully mussed locks, and his full lips curved into a relaxed smile.
All my guests arrived wearing clothes since airports frowned on nude travel, but this guy’s clothes struck me as designer quality. Most people showed up wearing shorts and T-shirts.
The god offered me his hand. “Valentim Silva. But you can call me Val.”
He spoke with a light accent I couldn’t quite place. In fact, it was so light I wouldn’t have picked up on it if not for the lilting way he said his full name.
I settled my palm in his, my gaze drawn to his warm brown eyes. “Eve Holt. I own the resort.”
“Yes, I know.” He held on to my hand for a second or two longer than necessary for politeness. “I have seen your website. Your photographs are wonderful, very artistic.”
None of my previous guests had ever looked like him. I’d hosted attractive men before, but they were dim stars in the far reaches of the hotness galaxy. This guy was a supernova standing two feet away from me.
He peered over his shoulder at the guest house. “Is my room ready? I’m a little early.”
I fanned myself with one hand, suddenly hot despite the temperate weather.
“Ms. Holt?” he said. “Are you all right?”
What was wrong with me? I cleared my throat and stuffed my hands in the pockets of my shorts. “I’m fine.”
He raised his brows. “My room?”
My mouth opened, a response on my tongue, but I froze before uttering a syllable. His room. The one that had been flooded. This man, this human supernova in designer slacks, was going to be sleeping in my spare room. Oh no, this wasn’t a disaster at all.
Anna Durand loves romance, men in kilts, and cheesecake. Not always in that order. She slaves away every day writing about sexy people doing sexy things together, with heart and humor and sometimes with suspense. With paranormal stories, she explores the darker side of romance. With contemporary romance, she delves into the emotional side of love and sensuality.
Readers and reviewers have blessed Anna’s books with wonderful reviews, giving her a nice glowy feeling that she’s doing something right. Her books have become bestsellers on every major retail site, hitting #1 multiple times. The Hot Scots series remains Anna’s personal favorite and a favorite among her fans. Who can resist a hunky Scotsman?
Anna also has a Master’s Degree in Library Science, so naturally, she made Calli in Wicked in a Kilt a librarian too. For twelve years and counting, Anna has run a cataloging services company that creates cataloging-in-publication data for other authors and publishers. And when she’s not doing that or writing, you’ll find her binging on audiobooks, playing with puppies, or crafting handmade jewelry.
Visit AnnaDurand.com to subscribe to her newsletter for updates on her writing and other fun stuff. You’ll receive a free gift as thanks for signing up!
Five winners will receive audiobook copies of Fired Up, an erotic romance that has a lot of humor in it, Audible gift copies (US only) or Authors Direct copies (US, Canada, Australia). Click here to enter!
“Hope was a dangerous thing. It could consume every dream and make them take flight, becoming wild daydreams in one’s heart and mind. Or hope could incinerate everything you thought you knew, burning you down to your core, leaving you raw and exposed for the world.”
Emory Fae has only known one thing—life at The Academy, a school for those who have special abilities. Following in her parents’ footsteps, the pressure to uphold their dream falls on her and one of her best friends—Adair Stratton. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. With whispers of dark magic spreading across Kiero, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.
An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher, sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath, for the first time in years, they demand the Faes listen to their proposition for a new treaty. Caught in the middle of politics, Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis, search for the one thing that matters the most—the truth.
Their world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made, and war ravages Kiero. Through the throes of betrayal, lies, hidden magic, and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision. Will he fight or bow to the darkness within?
But, Adair’s decision will change the course of Kiero forever, setting in motion irreversible destinies for everyone at The Academy as Emory Fae rises as heir.
Heir of Lies is the first book in the bestselling Black Dawn series.
The Black Dawn series is re- releasing and “Heir of Lies” (book one) is coming April 21 2020! This edition will have an exclusive map and bonus content!
“The afternoon sun soaked into his neck as Brokk Foster raised the bow, drawing the string back, his arrow nocked. The bowstring grazed his cheek as his arm shook; he tried not to blink against the sweat rolling down his temple. The courtyard faded away in that second, his hawk-eyed teacher, Professor Iasan, standing to the side, his arms crossed, his face impassive. Brokk’s fellow classmates stood near, and the looming structure of the Academy was behind them. A strand of his golden hair tickled his forehead as he exhaled. It’s not real, just release the arrow. Just release it. At the opposite end of the range, a stuffed dummy was raised with an emblazoned red target where a heart would be. Not real, not real, not real. Muscles screaming, he tried to empty his charged mind, to convince himself that the undiluted fear that clutched his heart was unreasonable. With still shaking arms, the arrow flew, cutting through the air with a soft hiss. Laugher erupted behind him, making him cringe as he lowered the bow and saw the lodged feathered end in the ground, not even close to the dummy. “Enough!” Professor Iasan’s booming voice cut off his classmates’ jeers. Brokk turned, lifting his gaze to meet the incredulous look of his best friend, Memphis Carter. Memphis raised one eyebrow as his smooth voice filled Brokk’s consciousness, only for him to hear, “Well, what are you going to do this time?” Huffing, Brokk wrenched his gaze away. Sometimes his friend could be such an ass. Tactical training class was Brokk’s nemesis, and he met, not for the first time, Professor Iasan’s cutting accusations. “Foster! What do you call that?” More chuckles rippled out, and the tips of his ears burned. A minute passed, and then another as Brokk studied the fascinating details of his leather boots. “Well?” Raising his gaze to meet Professor Iasan’s, that familiar flicker of anger ignited in him. He was so tired of being trained for no acclaimed threat. The Academy had taken him in years ago, with golden promises of schooling him in the control of his abilities so he could have a shot at a normal life— that they all could. Over the years, the Academy had become a school woven from lies. The students here were regimented, honed, and molded into weapons. He did not sign up to be a soldier. Brokk felt his lips tug upward as he threw the bow at his feet. It clattered noisily, as he threw his hands out to his sides. “I’m done, Professor Iasan.” He brushed past Memphis, not meeting his gaze. Through the catcalls and hollers, Memphis’s voice cut through his mind, “Brokk…” Memphis’s tone only made him walk faster out of the courtyard, not looking back once. “
“It was as if her body had been ripped into a thousand different pieces. Her lungs burned, begging for relief. Emory heard the soft crackle of fire. Her head was a spinning mass; it was its own continent. Squinting, she tried to focus. Blinking slowly, her surroundings came into view. Her pulse picked up. She wasn’t in her room. She wasn’t in her home. The metal world around her seemed to have one purpose. To keep people in. To keep her in. The last twenty-four hours rushed over her in a flurry of confusing memories. Him… Memphis. The name rolled around in her mind, familiar yet unfamiliar all at once. Her eyes flashed open, her heart thrumming with adrenaline. Heavily, Emory sat up, trying to pull her thoughts together. For now, the room was empty, her captors gone. Now. This is your chance to escape. The thought clambered through her wildly, and she acted. Standing from the bed, Emory stumbled, her legs weak, her clothes dirtied. Breathing heavily, Emory ran to the door, pushing the handle down as it opened. Containing her surprise, she slipped into the hallway. What kind of criminals would keep their prisoner in an unlocked room? Walking fast, Emory pushed the thought down, keeping her head down as she tried to locate how to get out of this place. The hallway was quiet, and Emory didn’t pass anyone else. It had to be late into the night, and she sent up a thank you to whoever was granting her such luck. Trying not to run, she turned left, passing more shut unmarked doors, but slowly, the hallway slanted up. Heart pounding, her palms slicked with sweat as she tried to stick to the shadows, walking faster now. Ahead of her, doors loomed, and panic bloomed in her chest. Running now, Emory tried to hold back the tears burning in her eyes. She reached the massive doors, pulling them open, and the night air slammed into her. Gasping, she sprinted, rushing out into the rolling field. The air was brisk, a sweet aroma hanging on the wind, the crescent moon tucked in the midnight blue clouds. Ahead, a massive forest loomed, and she frantically looked for any sign of modern civilization where she could find help. There was nothing. A stitch laced through her side, and her converses lost footing. Emory slammed into the damp earth. Rocks sliced through her palms as she tried to break her fall, blood welling in the cuts. Tears slid down her cheeks as she got up, whispering, “Keep moving. C’mon.” Looking back, she expected to see the place she had been taken to, but dread pooled in her stomach as all she saw was open field—no sign of any building whatsoever. “What the hell?” Emory whispered, fear making her thought process choppy. Sprinting again, she pushed toward the woods.”
About the Author
Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.