Wednesday, 25 March 2020

She carries a gun for a living…yet never expected to become a target. New Release + #Giveaway - Pivotal Decisions [Moonlight & Murder] by Reily Garrett @reily_garrett #RomanticThriller

Title: Pivotal Decisions
Series: Moonlight and Murder
Author: Reily Garrett

Genre: Romantic Thriller
Release Date: March 22, 2020  

She carries a gun for a living…
yet never expected to become a target.

Sabine’s early morning hike ends with discovering her friend sitting in a chair by the canal and gazing at the sunrise. Peace and serenity pervade.

Except, he’s dead.

To discover the how and why of his murder, she must first survive the shrewd killer intent on removing human collateral and obtaining unique technology that could change the course of mankind.

Coyote Waylin hasn’t set foot in the Everglades for six years, not since the night he broke his brother’s jaw and saved their sister’s life. After receiving a desperate call from his sibling, he rushes south to untangle a web of murder and intrigue.

Together, Coyote and Sabine sort the snarled web of lies and deceit while struggling to maintain their personal space. Failure to thwart the ingenious killer could result in untraceable mass murders spanning the continents.

Prologue Death, like reality, comes in layers. He was a scientist. Confidence and conviction in facts with distinct slices of possibilities for future endeavors kept him focused and thinking forward.

To delve into the mind and alter the truth as one knew it, everything they touched, heard, saw, and perceived, was his bailiwick. The realm he’d perfected.

Yet at the moment, confusion submersed him in a world he didn’t recognize. Scenes flashed not just before his eyes, but encompassed his entire existence and touched every sense. How could he discern reality from illusion?

He remembered sitting at his desk in his home away from home. Then a noise. A flash of pain in his head. Someone laughed as they threatened him, demanding his precious work. They spoke with ruthless assurance as they penned a note and stuck it to his chest.

Yet he wasn’t dying, nor did he feel the impending doom of a gun to his head.

What he did feel was the briefest flicker of pain flashing through both lower legs before dissolving into thousands of pins-and-needles sensations. 

Warmth flooded his brain, followed by a tranquilizing calm soothing his anxiety. Wasn’t that his area of expertise?

Muddled and conflicting sensations diminished with the tingling heat spreading throughout his chest and permitted a deep breath. Phantom shadows of panic receded to the periphery of his thoughts, pushed out by increasing perceptions of rightness that shouldn’t exist in his world.

His mind struggled to remember what he’d intended to do. He’d intended to remove his VR goggles to make an adjustment, hadn’t he? Then why did the softness of his mattress beneath his thighs feel so right? He didn’t have a bedroom in his satellite office.

His feet weren’t chilled from the cool tile floor, nor did he recognize the setting from his bedroom window.

He lived in a modest contemporary rancher with his wife, newlyweds of less than a year. Their cozy structure was surrounded by two acres of St. Augustine Grass. The closest neighbor enjoyed a Spanish Revival house with a low-pitched tile roof, half-round arched doors, and windows with adobe brick.

He saw none of it.

Instead, miles of beautiful flowerbeds with blooms that shouldn’t appear in December sprawled over lush hills, another topographical feature absent from southern Florida. Despite conflicting perceptions, he couldn’t muster the energy to tear his gaze away. Inability to turn his head soon lost meaning in the wake of the bouquet of scents wafting through the open window.

He knew the soft, sweet taste of each blossom as if they rested on his tongue, sweet with a tinge of some exotic spice. Bird song encouraged him to linger and ignore unpleasant sensations of forced immobility. There existed no obvious reason to move or feel concern.

A slight breeze ruffled his hair, its warmth another source of soothing calm. He hadn’t been wearing his glasses, yet could see flowers glistening with morning dew in crystal clarity, the fine stamens stark against the velvety texture of each petal. The pad of each fingertip tingled with their softness despite the distance that lay between him and the outdoors.

Every cell of his body felt cocooned in a warm fuzzy blanket.

Nirvana was confirmed as his mind flashed to a different landscape, yet it didn’t appear to be a dream. Everything felt so vivid, so real.

Before him, the soft ocean surf lapped at his feet, the sand warm between his toes and the gentle susurration a colorful melody. Pungent scents of salt and copper filled his nostrils and he briefly held his breath until it passed. Calm, balmy breezes whispered through nearby feathery palms and whisked the unpleasant aromas away.

If he died and was lucky enough to see pearly gates, this was where he wanted to stay. Life’s concerns drifted on a sea of contented bliss.

He briefly closed his eyes in ecstasy. The sudden spray of salt water against his cheek snapped them open to look over the deck of a large ship. The rolling motion forced him to grab the railing to either side of him and clutch tight. Knowledge that there should only be one rail before him didn’t prevent his grasp for dear life.

Something tugged against his legs and belly. He thought to rub it then decided it unnecessary as his spirit drifted above the beauty of roiling seas below him.

A peculiar numbness infiltrated his lower legs, followed by a lightheadedness not overcome by the pleasant tingling at the base of his skull. He rarely felt the bite of cold under his skin in southern Florida.

Perhaps he’d take a nap and let the strange sensations pass.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Book Tour + Giveaway - Never a Bride - by Caridad Piñeiro @CaridadPineiro #multicultural #Romance

Never a Bride 
At the Shore Book 3 
Caridad Pinero 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Emma never dreamed that the happily-ever-after would change her life. . .

But as her two best friends find love, Emma worries about what her future will bring. She has seen all too often what happens once husbands and children arrive. She puts on a brave face because she wants her buddies to be happy, but as a wedding planner, she has seen one too many marriages go south. Not to mention her parents' bitter divorce which has soured her on the idea of marriage for herself. She can't imagine ever finding a man who can bring her a forever kind of romance.

He's been in love with her forever and can't understand why she can't see it. 

Carlo da Costa knows why Emma avoids relationships and yet he can't help but wonder how someone who puts such love and care into others' dreams can't allow herself to believe in the fairy tale. He sees the yearning on her face when she spends time with him and his big boisterous family and knows that deep inside, she wants the same thing. Carlo hopes that one day he can provide her with that because he's sure Emma holds the key to his heart in her hands. 

To stay in touch with the latest releases, contests and happenings with Caridad, sign up for her newsletter below. 

NY Times and USA Today Bestseller Caridad Pineiro is a Jersey Girl who just wants to write, travel, and spend more time with family and friends. Caridad is the author of over 50 novels/novellas and has sold over 1 million books worldwide. Caridad loves romance novels, super heroes, TV and cooking. For more information on Caridad, please visit or

You can also find Caridad/Charity at the links below: 

SWAG, $25 Gift Card, and print copies of first 2 books in the series 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Friday, 20 March 2020

No matter how far or fast you run, you'll never escape the past... #FlashbackFriday Enjoy the First Chapter from #MafiaRomance 'Running' bk 2 in the Always Cambridge Saga #RomanticSuspense

I know these are scary and uncertain times for everyone and we're all trying to do our best to keep our spirits up for whatever might come next. A lot of people are turning to reading to fill the time, and keep our minds off, even if just for a little while, the reality of what is happening all around the world right now. If you are reading this, stay safe and well, my friends. Be kind, share, and let's take care of each other. We're all in this together. 

So, in an attempt to help with some distraction and hopefully for your entertainment, for Flashback Friday, I'm sharing the entire first chapter from the second book in the Always Cambridge Series, Running

Caught up in a bitter blood feud with a rival crime family and unable to bear the violence that claimed her mother, Holly Cambridge sets out to right her father's wrongs, but instead she embarks on an epic journey of love, loss, and life-altering choices, only to discover a truth she's feared all along... Mob life is forever!

I'm often asked why I chose to write this installment of the story, from FBI Agent Alex Orton's, point of view, when for all intents and purposes this is Holly's story. And I know some readers were unhappy with me for doing this, and they made sure to voice their opinions in reviews, which I do appreciate. But I promise, I did it for a reason. If you'd like to learn a bit more about why I did this and a little about my process in writing this series check out - yet another Flashback of sorts, an interview that I did back in 2014 with my good friend and fellow author Mary Waibel over at her blog Waibel's World. And check out her books while you're there. Mary is a wonderful storyteller, of mainly YA, but she spins a most unique blend of fantasy, fairy tale and sweet romance. I particularly enjoyed Faery Marked.

No matter how far or fast you run, you'll never escape the past...

It’s been three years since anyone has seen or heard from Holly Cambridge. But when she surfaces, she doesn't return home to the loving arms of her family. Instead, she heads straight to the FBI offering information that will destroy the Cambridge crime family. 

Special Agent Alex Orton sees Holly Cambridge as nothing more than the next commendation standing between him and the ultimate promotion. What he doesn't bargain for is the shy, damaged, but feisty little woman that convinces his superiors to let her infiltrate a rival family, with Alex heading up the mission.  

Holly and Alex clash at every turn, but Alex is intrigued by Holly’s sharp mind and boundless courage and must constantly fight his burgeoning feelings for his lovely informant. Alex is a strict disciplinarian of the rules and can’t reconcile the girl who can’t play by them. 

As Holly carries out the sting and insinuates herself into the enemy’s camp, she develops a close and common bond with the middle Mayhue son, the exotically good looking and charismatic Victor. The very man who could end her life, if he were to discover her secret.  

Hands tied, Alex must stand back, for the good of the team, and watch the tragedy play out.

Running - Book 2 in The Always Cambridge Series

Chapter One

I sat behind my desk reading over the file. Not that I needed to. I knew every detail. I could barely contain the rush of excitement at the thought of finally getting started. This case would earn me the final commendation I needed to get promoted. Holly Cambridge, the mob boss’ daughter, was my steppingstone to greatness.

“Right in here, Ms. Cambridge.”

“Thank you.”

The sound of the soft polite reply immediately snagged my attention from the photographs scattered across the desktop. The Bureau surveillance photos on file were old, taken on another operation. She’d been blonde, then, a young looking sixteen, according to the dossier. In almost every photo the same man shadowed her, her bodyguard Randy Phillips, and later Luke Walker.

I observed the twenty-one year old brunette before me. Her hair was now shoulder length, except for the wispy bangs that gave one the impression that she used them to hide behind. Which, to my knowledge, was exactly what she’d been doing since she’d left her family and gone on the run three years prior, taking documentation of their illegal activities with her. It was with a letter that she’d first approached my superiors, Trey and Sid with, identifying her father as the suspect responsible for her mother’s murder, and not the rival mob family that had long been the suspicion.

I stood as my betters, Trey Thompson and Sid Morgan, ushered her into my office. She appeared dwarfed between the two formidable men. I had the privilege of working with both of these dedicated, no-nonsense agents. I learned from them. I admired and looked up to them. I wanted to be them. To follow in their footsteps up the ladder of success.

“May I get you a beverage, Miss Cambridge?”

I squinted at Trey in surprise as he all but simpered at the young woman.

“No. Thank you. I’m fine. Please, Agent Thompson, it’s Holly.” She smiled slightly.

“Holly, then.” He coughed nervously. 

I couldn’t help but grin at the older man. She was young enough to be his granddaughter, for Christ’s sake. I’d never seen the pair of them fall all over anyone, but they practically came to blows escorting our informant to the chair positioned in front of my desk.

And here was the only hitch in this whole dream assignment. Having to work with her. I’d already assessed that attempting to convince Trey and Sid that she was going to be trouble, was futile.

I didn’t have a problem with finding out what she knew or what info she had on her family. I didn’t mind picking her brain or climbing right inside her head if need be, to collect Mob Intel. The hindrance was, they also wanted my team and me to facilitate an infiltrate of the rival family, the Mayhues. Miss Cambridge had somehow persuaded them that only she could gain entry into the inner sanctum of her adversaries, and now I had to find some way to convince my bosses that she was in way over her head. She needed to step back and let the professionals take over. We could just as easily insert a female undercover. I mean, honestly, what were they thinking, serving up the mob princess right into the clutches of her enemies. It was insane and reckless. And I had no intention of jeopardizing my people, nor would I submit to her blackmail.

Sid and I’d had this same argument earlier this morning, before they brought her in. He pulled rank and directed me to do my job or I would be replaced as lead on this case. I was not about to let that happen. This case was too important to me. I would do my job. I was extraordinarily good at it. I would manipulate the situation and simply convince her there was no possible way she was capable of attaining the desired outcome. She would realize her shortcomings and come to her senses. She would gracefully back out with Sid and Trey and I would then be able to run my operation and my people to achieve our objective without having to babysit Miss Soprano.

Holly Cambridge was obviously one of those women who thought she could use her looks to get anything she wanted, accustomed to having her own way. She’d been protected, pampered, sheltered by her mob daddy. No doubt, she would be spoiled and impossible to work with.

I’d read the file. According to the information I’d received, she was allegedly intelligent. Her transcripts were beyond reproach. But I also knew how simple it would be to doctor such things. Just as easy as it would have been for her family to change her name at the outset, making it possible for her to attend university under an assumed name. It was essentially effortless to re-write one’s history. So, I wasn’t anticipating much. Nor did I expect to trust anything that came out of her mouth. As far as I was concerned, she was using the other evidence that she had obtained as means to blackmail Sid and Trey into agreeing to her terms. If they gave her the Mayhues, she’d give them the Cambridges in return.

“Agent Alex Orton, Miss Holly Cambridge.” He said her name like a proud papa.

I extended my right hand in greeting. My first mistake. I’d read the file. I was aware of her injury. But I stupidly put myself at a deficit with her right from the beginning. It made me seem unprepared and uninformed, two things I never was. 

She smiled slightly as she extended her left hand. She might as well have mocked me verbally in front of my betters. I retracted my greeting, realizing my error.

She looked down at the open file and photographs of herself and her family strewn across my desktop. “Haven’t made it that far yet?” Her nose crinkled and her eyes sparkled. And if I wasn’t mistaken, she gave me a quick wink of amusement.

I was not amused. The intimation that I hadn’t done my homework pissed me off, especially in front of Sid and Trey. It just confirmed my first instincts. This woman and I would not work well together.

I noticed her right wrist was wrapped up tightly in a stiff looking brace.

I extended my opposite hand, out of politeness. I wasn’t certain that I would have conveyed that much civility if not for the scrutiny of my superiors.

I shook her small hand firmly, then looked into her eyes, and I finally caught a glimpse of what the other two men might have been competing for. The surveillance photos did not do her justice. She was striking. She had the most unique greens eyes I’d ever seen. It was my job to notice details and I could honestly say I’d never encountered their color before.

She surveyed me steadily. She didn’t seem intimidated by me at all.

“Miss Cambridge.” I nodded stiffly in greeting.

“Agent Orton,” she replied, slipping her palm from my grip, giving me the impression she didn’t wish to be in contact with me any more than I did her.

“We’ll leave you in Alex’s capable hand, Miss Cambri…er, Holly,” Trey uncharacteristically stumbled.

“As usual, if there is anything you need, feel free to contact either one of us at any time,” Sid added.

“Thank you. Agent Thompson. Agent Morgan,” she acknowledged them formally and sat down primly in the chair as they left.

I took my own seat. Staring at me expectantly, she waited. I flipped the folder closed and I began to gather the pictures.

“Those are old photographs,” she said softly, leaning forward slightly. 

“Clearly,” I said coldly, barely sparing her a glance.

Her gaze skittered away. Perhaps she was more nervous in my presence than I had earlier assessed. Or now that she was alone with me, she’d realized I was a little tougher to charm than my predecessors.

“Do you realize what you are getting yourself into? I would like to strongly advise you to leave this to us. We are the specialists. We are trained to handle every situation…”

“Would you like to go over the file, Agent Orton?” She cut me off. I couldn’t believe her audacity. The spoiled little… 

I continued speaking as if she hadn’t. “…And the further risk you will be placing on my agents because of your inexperience is unacceptable. We welcome your input and the inside information that you can provide for us…”

“The file, then.” She determinedly interrupted again.

I clenched my jaw shut in irritation.

“I get it, Agent Orton. You don’t like me. You don’t like my kind. But you don’t have to like me to work with me. You don’t know me. You can read that file front to back and memorize every detail about my life, but you still will not know me. The only thing you need understand about me is that I am determined to end the activities of both families once and for all. Or I will die trying…”

“And you intend to take as many of my agents with you, with this half-baked scheme of yours. I will not allow it!” I stormed.

“My concern for the safety of every person, on both sides, is paramount, Agent Orton.”

That was another thing that disturbed me. Where did her loyalties lie? She included both sides in her statement, the mobsters and the Feds in equal value.

She continued. “That is another thing you will never determine from that folder. Everything I have done since I was sixteen, I did to protect the ones that are important to me. I left to protect…”

“My agents are not vital to you, Miss Cambridge, they are just a means to an end for you.”

“That’s not true. They are important to me. I respect all the lives involved here, Agent. That is why I couldn’t abide the life style I was forced to endure. I will not be foolish when it comes to the safety of your people. And I promise you here and now that if anything happens during the operation to endanger your team I will step back and let them take over. But I can help. I know how things work. I know how they think. I know the inner workings and I will be able to adapt…”

“Let’s go over the file.” I would humour her for the time being. “We’ll start with the Cambridge file. And if there is time we will attempt to outline the Mayhue…” 

She sat back in the chair and folded her arms over her small frame. “Perhaps there is another agent…” She all but dismissed me. 

“Another agent?” I leapt from my chair in outrage. 

“Your obvious hostility towards me seems to be clouding your judgeme…”

You, Miss Cambridge, know nothing of me! I am the best! If you wish to meet your objectives, you need me!”

She looked at me levelly, then spun the file on the desk towards her. “Well then, Agent Best,” she challenged, raising an elegant brow. “Can we get started?”

She didn’t wait for me to respond but began to fan out the photos. “This is Tom Bennett. He’s my father’s personal bodyguard. He is in my father’s presence ninety percent of the time. He is dangerous, ruthless and has no conscience. He will die to protect the Cambridge, but he will take out as many as he possibly can before he goes down.”

“This is Buddy Crane. He has been with my father for as long as I can remember. If Tom is with my father ninety percent of the time, Buddy is with him ninety-nine. He is like a shadow of William Cambridge, his minion, a glorified gopher. His yes-man. A cleaner if need be. He would also shield my father, keep things from him if the situation called for it. Or incite him if that was his whim. The thing you need to know about Buddy in relation to my father is that he can affect his mood.”

And as much as I tried to fight it, I found myself caught up in the sound of her voice as she tried to paint me a picture of the complex situations and relationships that had surrounded her in her former life. She seemed incredibly detail oriented. She knew her stuff, I had to reluctantly admit. She did know these people. Their secrets and talents. Their habits and personalities. Their specialties and their limitations.

“What do you mean, he can affect his mood?”

“My father can be…” She bit her lip as if she measured her words carefully. “Changeable, emotional. Volatile. Unpredictable at times. And Buddy can either calm him immediately or, as I said, provoke him. My father’s mood swings have worsened, and become more frequent with age. He has panic attacks, which I believe he is taking medication for, as well as some other things. Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills, I believe. But you might have to dig into his medical files for clarification. I haven’t had time to do so myself.”

“I didn’t know that,” I said taking notes. “It was not in the file.”

“No. It wouldn’t be. That would be considered a weakness. If the enemy were to catch wind of this, it could be used against him. It’s not common knowledge, not even to some that are close to him. It would be too dangerous.”

She continued, “Now as for Buddy, I don’t think he would take a bullet for anyone. Including my father. I personally think he would put my father in a bullet’s path to save himself.”

She’d given me some good stuff here. I was almost convinced her father just might be unstable. We were getting to the substance. I was impressed. She was clearly intelligent, meticulous in her observations and in details. I was like that myself.  

I pulled out another photo. “And this?”

“Jason Cramer,” she said, without hesitation. “He is no longer with the organization.


“He's in hiding, avoiding prosecution for the murders of six Mayhues. He is in seclusion along with Phil.” She pulled out the photo along with another. “And Teddy.”

At my raised eyebrow she continued, “They were killed in retaliation for the murders of three of ours.”

“The shooting at the food bank.” I didn’t need to ask. I found myself crossing to the other side of the desk, sitting next to her.


“You were also injured in that incident.” 


“You were the only survivor, I believe.” 

“Yes.” She pulled another photo down. “This is…” 

“Wait.” I stayed her hand, which she immediately withdrew from my touch. “What were you doing there that day? Why were you at the food bank?” 

“I volunteered there every week. We were dropping off some canned goods and I was helping Mrs. Small, the organizer, stock shelves, when it happened.” 

I’d read in the file that she helped out with many aid organizations, but I was having a hard time meshing the mob princess with the Good Samaritan act. She was just not fitting the profile. “Was there anyone else forced to go into isolation after that?” 

“Uh?” Her brow furrowed and she evaded my gaze. “I don’t remember. I was in the hospital,” she said, too quickly, and I assumed she was holding something back. 

I remained still, waiting for her to either meet my gaze or continue. Her amazing green stare turned to me. 

“If we are going to do this, Miss Cambridge, we have to do it all the way. You cannot pick and choose who you are going to give to us. You can’t protect them any longer. You need to tell me everything you know and you must be completely honest. We take them all or we take no one. It’s up to you.” 

Her gaze darted as she tried to read me. She didn’t trust me, either. Her full lips stretched into a thin hard line of indecision. 

“We are not on opposite sides here, Miss Cambridge.” She stiffened at my words and her head cocked slightly to the side. I must be getting through to her. “This is a two way street. We need to trust each other.”

“I’ve heard that before, Agent,” she said quietly. “They are just words. You want what you can get from me.” 

“And you need what I can give you,” I answered. 

She raked her lip with her teeth and then inhaled deeply before pulling another photo out. “Gunner. I’m sorry, I don’t know his real name. I never did, that’s all we used to call him. But give me a few minutes with your database and I could come up with that for you.” She nodded towards my computer.” She flipped over the picture. “But I see you’ve already done that—Herb Gunderson,” she read. “No wonder he preferred Gunner.” She smiled slightly and looked at me sideways.

She really was attractive. I couldn’t deny that. 

Her eyes narrowed. “Why do I feel like I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know?” 

“You are filling in plenty of the finer points that we were uninformed of. And maybe there are a few details that I can pass on to you. We can fill in the gaps for each other, be as prepared as we can be.” 

Skeptically, she looked up at me through her bangs.

“Are there photos in that pile of the three men that were killed that day?” I asked gently, knowing it must have been a difficult day for her.  

She sighed, then pursed her lips. I knew then that she was fully aware that I knew those three photos were in the file. But she didn’t call me on it. Shuffling through, she pulled them out.

“That’s Jeffy. Dale.” She lined them up on my desk. “And this is Trenton.” Her voice softened. The mildness indicated she’d cared for this man. Absently she stroked the photo with her left thumb. I examined the kind-faced man as he smiled back at her.

“He was your driver. 

“Yes, he was my driver. He was my friend.”

I wasn’t good at comforting. I cleared my throat. “Let’s make categories as we go. Men who are still in your father’s employ. Those who are in hiding. And those who are…uh…no longer with us,” I suggested, not so delicately. I began to throw the photos into their respective piles. “All right. Tom, Buddy, in the current employ pile.” 

She put the four men in hiding into the middle stack. “Gunner, Teddy, Phil and Jason in the…hidden file.” She smiled and gave me a slight wink as if she hadn’t just made reference to a computer operating system like some kind of computer geek. I was almost unsure I’d seen it. Was she joking? I was quickly reassessing my preconceived impression of Holly Cambridge. Perhaps she wasn’t just a bubble headed blonde.

“Do you know where these men are?”

“No. I don’t.” She looked into my eyes as if challenging me to either see the truth or detect the lie. I’d interrogated hundreds of informants and or criminals in my time. Liars, award winning actors most of them. And even after my earlier attempt to intimidate her, and our awareness of each other’s mistrust, for some reason she wanted me to believe she was telling me the truth before she continued. “I have done some research of my own. I vaguely remembered a conversation I’d inadvertently overheard about the Caymans.” I didn’t consider the inadvertent part, but I did believe she didn’t know where the men were hiding. “Apparently, William Cambridge owns an island. But, I guess, that isn’t a surprise to you, like it was to me.” 

I confirmed with a nod. 

“I traveled there.” She dragged her lip with her teeth. It was a nervous habit, and sensual as all get out. 

“You took a trip there? I thought you just said…” 

“No. After I left. By myself. I tried to find them, thinking that might be where they would go.”

She’d gone alone? I had no record of her ever leaving the country. Not even under one of her aliases. Why were we not aware of this? Although, I reasoned, from the ages of eighteen to the present, her whereabouts had been sketchy at best. She’d taken to hiding like a fish to water.

“And what did you find?”

“I couldn’t locate them. I have no proof, but from the clues I did find and the people I spoke to, I think my father had them killed. I believe he is more cold and sinister than even I believed. Even after all these men had done and sacrificed for him and our family, they were no longer useful to him. He doesn’t leave loose ends, Agent Orton.”

She had detached herself from William Cambridge. I noted it earlier how she referenced him as either the formal my father or William Cambridge, trying to depersonalize or distance herself from him. She didn’t refer to him as my dad, which might be considered an appellation.

Holly looked at me then and I knew that she was fully aware of her own predicament. She was a loose end that William Cambridge either needed to tie up or cut away completely. Perhaps it had been that precise realization that convinced her to come to us. She was scared, and she knew we could protect her. It must have been absolute shell shock for her to leave the safe and sheltered Cambridge life to live completely on her own. So young and unprepared, unprotected. Always on the move, on the lookout for family and enemy alike. Looking over her shoulder, just waiting to be captured or killed. It was only a matter of time. She must have realized she couldn’t stay out there on her own anymore. She’d given it a valiant effort. I’d give her that. But she’d finally come to her senses and come to the Bureau.

“Until we have proof, will we leave them in the hidden file?” She asked holding up the pictures. 

“All right.” I nodded. “Unknown, for the time being.” She returned them to the middle stack. I pointed at the kind-faced man that had been her chauffeur and friend. I was departmentalizing and sorting in my own mind and didn’t think before I spoke. “Deceased. They are no longer important.” 

Her expressive eyes widened, turning cold. “If we are going to do this,” she spat my own words back at me. “You need to respect my people. Those people are important to me. Dead or alive. They may be nothing but gangsters and criminals to a straight-laced lawman like yourself, but they were my family. My team. The people who had my back and ultimately gave their lives for mine. You will not dismiss them as collateral damage. If you expect me to respect you and yours, then you need to acknowledge and respect mine, Agent.” Although her voice was angry, I saw that she was struggling to hold back tears that threatened to break the tough exterior she was attempting to maintain.

“The ones that remain, are no longer yours, Miss Cambridge, and you need to accept and acknowledge that, and separate yourself from your tender feelings. These are the people we are going after at your request.”

“I don’t think we can work together,” she said, at length, as if she had a choice. 

She was halfway to the door when I heard myself say, “I apologize for my insensitive comments, Miss Cambridge.” What was I doing? She was halfway to no longer being my problem. I should have just let her walk out. But I needed this case. I wanted it. And I could admit to myself now, looking back—it was much more that made me stop her that day. There was just something about her. I wanted to know more. My fierce curiosity and quest to know all gnawed at me. And I knew I had just scratched the surface of Miss Holly Cambridge. My preconceived idea of the mafia princess was rapidly evaporating as she challenged me at every turn. No one tested me. She was not fitting into the box I had placed her in before she’d even walked through my door. 

She'd stopped at the sound of my voice but she didn’t turn in my direction.

“Are you finished psychoanalyzing me, Agent Orton?” she said, as if she could read my thoughts. She did turn then. “Go ahead. Profile me. Is it really that great a feat, Agent, when you think you have all the answers right there in that file? As I said before, you don’t know me.”

Again. A Challenge. I could not resist. 

“The mob boss’s daughter. Mafia princess. Protected. Sheltered. Spoiled. Poor little rich girl. No friends. No social life. Lonely.” I looked down at the file one last time, leaving behind what I thought I knew about her and turned to what I had gleaned since she walked in the door. “You turned to books and school to fill the void.” I recognized her need for knowledge and detail only because I, too, possessed those qualities. “You are quiet. Shy. You pay attention, absorb, observe, research. You listen and learn. You have known from an early age what’s right and what’s wrong. Your character is so strong that the life style that you were forced to live warred with your own morals and ethics, which you did not learn from your father or the people around you. A father who was cold to you most of your life, ignoring you and your sister. Perhaps he is even unbalanced, bi-polar, paranoid. You threw your energies and your money into charitable organizations, in an attempt to ease your own conscience. You gravitated towards the men around you to replace the family and friends you didn’t have.”

I thought of her caressing the edge of the photograph of her driver and the way she’d staunchly defended her employees, her team, as she’d referred to them. “The criminals around you became your own dysfunctional family.”

She sneered at me when I referred to them as criminals. “You could no longer endure that amoral life, so you sacrificed your own. You want nothing more than to belong. To be loved. To live a quiet normal life.” I took a shot in the dark with this one. “With a husband. Perhaps even a child.” I could have smiled at how easy it was getting. I walked towards her with every intention of continuing, as we kept our focus on each other. I was just getting warmed up.

My turn, Agent Best?” she remarked, sarcastically.

“Oh, be my guest,” I invited, smugly. If nothing else, we knew how to antagonize one another. This should be good.

“FBI. Special Agent.” She began slowly, as I had. “Single-minded. Career man. Cold. Stiff. Curious. Almost obsessively so. Your quest for knowledge is your driving force.” I was no longer smiling.

“You have to know everything about each person and everything around you. You have known from your earliest memory that this would ultimately be your career. You followed in your father’s footsteps. Also a career man. You are an only child. Also no friends, no social life. You moved around a lot as a child because of your father’s career, but that isn’t the reason you didn’t make friends. Your intelligence and your intellect was way too complex for children your own age. You found them boring, tedious, unintelligent compared to your advanced IQ. Knowledge came easy to you. You didn’t have time or make time for baseball or football. You also turned to books not to fill an emotional void, as you intimated that I did, but to fill your insatiable appetite for knowledge, and that drove you to learn as much and as fast as you possibly could, to fill that massive brain. You are the classic over-achiever. You graduated high school early and entered an accelerated program to fast track you into an Ivy League school. I’m going to guess, Harvard. Only because it is the best law school and would impress the Bureau. You would settle for nothing less than the best. You are a strict disciplinarian. You are ruled by rules. A perfectionist. You cannot commit to a long-term relationship because your passion is your work. How am I doing, Best?”

“You have obviously accessed my personnel file. Which is a federal offence, Miss Cambridge,” I accused, stiffly, crossing my arms.

“I have done no such thing, Agent Orton. Go ahead,” she invited gesturing towards my computer. “Check. If your file has been accessed recently it will be flagged.”

“Then Sid or Trey gave it to you.”

“That would also not have been procedure. I can assure you, they did not. You know neither of them would ever give an agent’s file to an informant, and again, you can check.”

I stared at her. Obviously she was a better liar than I’d realized. 

“It was interesting meeting you, Agent Orton. Have a good day.” 

She walked out the door. I couldn’t believe it. She didn’t want to work with me

I followed out into the hallway. But she was gone. The elevator must have been ready and waiting for her departure.  

“Maeve. Have security stop Miss Cambridge before she leaves the building.”

“Miss Cambridge, sir?”

“Yes. She just exited my office.” 

“I didn’t see her leave.” 

“She just left. Thirty seconds ago, at most.” 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t see her, sir.”

“Call down, and notify the desk, anyway. I want her stopped before she exits the building.”

Another thing she had been able to convince Trey and Sid, which I also disagreed with, was no protection. She needed to be in protective custody. It was imperative for the kind of mission she’d convinced them to undertake. She needed to be corralled.

That was the first of many occasions in which she disappeared without a trace. According to the security guards, she’d not taken the elevator down. She was not picked up on the cameras in the stairwells either.

I was so angry. There had to be an explanation. I called Sid’s office, thinking she’d gone to him to complain about me. He guaranteed me he hadn’t seen her since he’d left her in my capable hands.

I contacted Trey and he gave me the same song and dance. Trey assured me I didn’t need to worry. She was quite capable of taking care of herself and she would make contact with us when she was ready.

That wasn’t good enough. We were the FBI, for Christ’s sake. We made the rules. We were in charge.

I sent out half my team after her. As they searched I accessed my file. I don’t know how she’d done it, but according to the log, my file hadn’t been accessed since I myself had done so eight months ago to update my new address when I moved into my penthouse apartment. There was no way she could have come so close to the details of my life without having seen my file.

My street agents called in one by one. There was no sign of her.  

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Wednesday, 18 March 2020

New Release Book Tour + #Giveaway - Lords, Ladies & Babies: A #RegencyRomance Set with Little Consequences #LordsLadiesAndBabies

Lords, Ladies and Babies 
A Regency Romance Set with Little Consequences 
with stories by:
Meara Platt, Tabetha Waite, Tammy Andresen, 
Annabelle Anders, Merry Farmer, Scarlett Scott 


Love doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes it results in adorable little consequences! Six tales of Regency love, each including a bundle of joy. Don’t miss this very special set of books written by your favorite Historical Romance authors! 

Meara Platt, Tabetha Waite, Tammy Andresen, Annabelle Anders, Merry Farmer, and Scarlett Scott! 


Cheyne Lyon, Duke of Mar isn’t surprised when his wastrel brother dumps a wife and baby on his doorstep, but Jennifer is intelligent, nurturing, and sweet, just the sort Cheyne could love, if only she wasn’t already taken. When unsavory strangers come around looking for a runaway young lady, Cheyne realizes Jennifer isn’t who she claims to be, and he isn’t about to give her up.

THE SCOT'S BAIRN by Tabetha Waite 

Damaris Honeywell suffers from an unwanted betrothal. Her solution? Ruin her reputation. But one night with a handsome Scotsman leads to certain…complications that can’t be ignored. When Callum Murray, Laird O’Donogue encounters her again, he intends to show her that they are meant to be.

EARL OF SIN by Tammy Andresen 

The Earl of Sinclair vowed never to marry again. But when a pretty spinster befriends his daughter, he begins to wonder.


His father dies before turning forty. His oldest brother, the original heir, turns up his toes at the age of two and thirty. And this year, the spare gets shot in a duel at the tender age of eight and twenty. Things aren’t looking good for this third–son–turned–heir. The new duke of Warwick needs to secure the line... And quickly!


Lord Benedict Killian needs an heir of his own blood as fast as possible, but he has no intention of marrying. Disgraced Miss Meg Wallace needs money, and a lot of it, to start a new life. Agreeing to a deal to conceive a child for Benedict to pass off as his own seems like an easy solution for both of their problems. Until the red-hot passion between them proves irresistible.


WOOED IN WINTER by Scarlett Scott 

The Marquess of Haven has finally decided to do his duty and settle upon a bride, preferably before the new year begins. What better place to find her than a country house party? There’s just one problem, and she’s the beautiful widow who once owned his heart. Surely there’s no harm in indulging in one night of passion with her to get her out of his mind. But Haven is about to discover old habits are hard to break, especially when the consequences last forever… 

About Meara Platt 

Meara Platt is a USA Today bestselling, award winning author, and an Amazon UK All Star. Her Regency romances are infused with humor and heart, and her fantasy/paranormal stories add just enough darkness to keep her readers intrigued. For Meara, romance is a journey of enchantment, so whether you are looking for funny, uplifting escapes in her Farthingales series and Book of Love series, or wish to be transported into edgier, Fae/dragon other worlds (Dark Gardens series), or somewhere inbetween (Braydens series) take the journey and enjoy! 

About Tabetha Waite 

Tabetha Waite grew up in a small town in Missouri with big dreams of being a published author after her fourth grade teacher said she liked reading her stories. She began her journey by putting pen to paper writing anything from fantasy to mystery, but it wasn’t until she started high school that her grandmother introduced her to the classic, Gothic novels. As her love of romance grew to encompass Harlequins, it wasn’t until she read “Midnight Bride” by Kathleen Drymon did she develop a fascination for historical England. After discovering Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, she was hooked! 

About Tammy Andresen 

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often. 

About Annabelle Anders 

Married to the same man for over 25 years, I have many experiences to both cherish and learn from. I am also the mother of three amazing children and two sassy miniature wiener dogs. After owning a business and experiencing considerable success, my husband and I got caught in the financial crisis in 2006 and lost everything. I then put my B.A. in Poly Sci to use and took work as a waitress and bartender. Unwilling to give up on a professional life, I simultaneously went back to college and obtained a degree in Energy Management. Shortly after graduation, the energy market dropped off...and then my dog died...yuch! I can only be grateful for this series of unfortunate events, for with nothing to lose and completely demoralized, I sat down and wrote the romance novels which had until then, existed only my imagination. I am happy to have found my place in life...finally. Yay! 

About Merry Farmer 

Merry Farmer lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Torpedo, her grumpy old man, and Justine, the bouncy new baby. She has been writing since she was ten years old and realized she didn't have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. It was the best day of her life. Her books have reached the top of Amazon's charts, and have been named finalists for several prestigious awards, including the RONE Award for indie romance. 

About Scarlett Scott 

USA TODAY bestselling author Scarlett Scott writes steamy Victorian and Regency historical romances with strong, intelligent heroines and sexy alpha heroes. She lives in Pennsylvania with her Canadian husband, their adorable identical twins, and one TV-loving dog.

A self-professed literary junkie and nerd, she loves reading anything but especially romance novels, poetry, and Middle English verse. When she's not writing, reading, wrangling kids, or indulging in her inappropriate sense of humor, you can catch up with her on her website Hearing from readers never fails to make her day. 

$25 Amazon 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!