A SWAT officer loves a suspected murderess. What could possibly go wrong?
Ten years ago, Bexley Kane and Max Remington were high-school sweethearts hoping to get married and start their future together. But a stalker, and his death, ended their hopes and dreams and sent Bex fleeing town under suspicion of murder.
Now she’s back, and the past has caught up to her. But will SWAT officer Max Remington learn to trust and love her again? Or will Bex’s secrets destroy them both?
In 2014, award winning book TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN introduced readers to the sexy SWAT team of Destiny, Tennessee. This year readers get to experience more stories about the wonderful men and women in the TENNESSEE SWAT series, beginning with MOUNTAIN WITNESS. The newest release is out now, SECRET STALKER. And there will be more stories after that.
Below is an excerpt from SECRET STALKER. Enjoy!
The whispers started thirty seconds after Bexley Kane walked down aisle three in the Piggly Wiggly on Magnolia Street. Not that there was a Piggly Wiggly on any other street in the tiny town of Destiny, Tennessee. With a population the size of a large high school in other parts of the state, this town could only support one grocery store. And one movie theater. And one Waffle House. But, oddly enough, there were four Starbucks. Too bad not one of them was anywhere close to Magnolia Street. Bex sure could use a venti caramel macchiato right now.
Head high, shoulders back, she began filling her cart as quickly as possible while pretending not to notice the other shoppers talking behind their hands as she passed. But, come on, did they really believe that she didn’t know they were gossiping about her? She could well imagine what they were saying.
“Miss Kane, nice to see you today.” Mr. Dawson gave Bex a genuine, welcoming smile from behind the deli counter. “I was hoping I’d see your lovely face at least one more time before you left Destiny. You here for lunch? We’ve got a brand-new batch of pickled pigs’ feet.” He proudly thumped a large jar on top of the display case that looked like a science experiment gone horribly wrong.
Bex very nearly lost her breakfast. She averted her gaze from the nauseating sight and smiled at one of the few people in Destiny who hadn’t treated her like a pariah in the week that she’d been back.
“Hello, Mr. Dawson. I called in an order for some lunch meats and grilled chicken. Could you see whether it’s ready, please?”
“Gladys must have taken that order. I’ll check the cooler. Won’t take but a minute.” He opened the massive walk-in refrigerator behind him and headed inside.
Bex checked her grocery list. The only thing left to get was mustard, one of several things she’d forgotten the first time she’d been in the store. After today’s shopping trip, she should have enough to tide her over for several more days, until she finished taking care of all of the details of her mother’s estate. Then she could hop into her car and leave Destiny in the dust. Again. And this time, she’d never come back.
If she remembered correctly, Mr. Dawson kept the condiments across the aisle from the meat case. Since little else had changed in this town, she doubted that had, either. She turned around—and locked gazes with the one person she’d hoped to avoid.
His golden-brown eyes stared at her in shock for all of three seconds. Then they filled with anger. His jaw clamped tight and, without a word, he circled around her and headed to the sandwich counter at the other end of the deli.
Gladys miraculously appeared as if from thin air, eager to take Max’s order. Bex couldn’t help noticing that he was all smiles and s, s when speaking to the older woman. But he couldn’t even spare a hello for his former lover.
His curt dismissal shouldn’t hurt. After all, she was the one who’d left him. But he’d been her first love. And she’d built him up in her mind over the years as her handsome hero, dreaming of what life could have been, should have been, if she’d said yes that night.
And if Bobby Caldwell hadn’t died.
Gwen Hernandez, Rachel Grant, and Carey Baldwin all have new releases for Valentine’s Day this year. To celebrate, we’re hosting a Facebook party tonight (Feb 13th, 8-10pm EST) and tomorrow (Feb 14th, 11am-4pm EST), along with Toni Anderson and Darcy Burke.
There will be plenty of awesome giveaways, including the grand prize: an Amazon Echo, Kindle Fire, and 3-month subscription to Audible. We hope you’ll join us for the celebration!
RSVP to make sure you get a reminder to show up. (All comments through February 14th EST are eligible to win.)
Here’s a quick peek at the new books, out tomorrow.
♥ Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥
Stolen by Carey Baldwin
Is she missing…or a murderer?
When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.
Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?
SHE’S RUNNING FOR HER LIFE
Framed for espionage, reformed hacker Valerie Sanchez has no choice but to run. Worse, when the proof of her innocence is destroyed, things turn deadly. Can she trust the sexy terrorist hunter who mysteriously turns up to protect her, or is he the real threat?
HE’S HOT ON HER TRAIL
Former Marine sniper Scott Kramer’s job was supposed to be easy. Follow the hot computer geek who stole plans for classified weapons until she meets her buyer, then let law enforcement take over. But when Valerie becomes an assassin’s target, Scott’s gut says she’s innocent. Now, he must risk his life—and his heart—to keep her safe.
In the volatile tinderbox of the Horn of Africa, Morgan Adler has made the paleoanthropological find of a lifetime. The discovery brings her to the attention of a warlord eager to claim both Morgan and the fossils, forcing her to make a desperate dash to the nearby US military base to beg for protection.
Master Sergeant Pax Blanchard has orders to intercept Dr. Adler before she reaches the base, and in so doing saves her life. After a harrowing afternoon he safely delivers her to his commanders, only to find his responsibilities toward protecting the obstinate archaeologist have only just begun.
Morgan and Pax are forced to work together in the Djiboutian desert heat, but it is the fire that ignites between them that threatens to combust them both. For the Green Beret, involvement with the woman he must protect is a threat to his career, while for the archaeologist, the soldier is everything she never wanted but somehow can’t resist. When Morgan uncovers a mystery surrounding Djibouti’s most scarce and vital resource, the danger to her reaches the flashpoint. For Pax, protecting her is no longer a matter of following orders, and he’ll risk everything to bring her back alive.
Take a peek at Tom Clancy’s home in this special, Top Secret glimpse!
Thriller writer Tom Clancy passed in 2013, but he’ll always be an indelible part of the top secret D.C. landscape. He knew his subject inside out, and if authenticity is what thrills you, no one did it better.
Now his estate is going up at auction and you can bid to own a piece of Clancy, either in person or online. Or, if you’re a fan like me, you can take a virtual nose around and pretend you’re sipping coffee and discussing fictional spies with a literary master.
For more details, read the write up below. Enjoy!
Bid on Items from Spy Novelist Tom Clancy (Photos)
by Michelle Basch for WTOP.com
WASHINGTON — An eclectic batch of items from American novelist Tom Clancy is being sold by an Alexandria, Virginia, auction house.
Clancy, who was a Maryland native, died in 2013 at age 66, and much of the on-sale belongings…
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It’s here! The last book in the EXIT Inc. trilogy, FINAL EXIT!
FINAL EXIT is the story of washed-up FBI agent, Kade Quinn, trying to redeem himself and rehabilitate his career after a personal tragedy sent him on a downward spiral into addiction. Rounding up all of the Enforcers who used to work for EXIT, so they can be re-trained and sent back out into society without the controls and oversight of their former agency, seems like “the right thing” to do. And Kade is proud to be a part of this mission. Until he meets Enforcer Bailey Stark. Her resistance to being taken, and her repeated assertions that the government is killing Enforcers instead of retraining them, is met with denial and then shock as Kade begins to suspect she might be right.
While Kade and Bailey work together to bring down the evil forces behind EXIT Inc. once and for all, they fall in love along the way. Of course! This is, after all, a romance. It’s full of action, like all of my stories. But I’m particularly pleased with the romantic arc of these two very damaged people. And if you’re a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, I really think you’re going to enjoy this one.
As with all of the EXIT books, there’s a host of sexy alpha-male secondary characters from earlier books, including the Buchanans from my Deadly Games series. The below flowchart is something I put together to show the connections between the characters in the DG series. (Yes, I’m a nerd, who loves flowcharts and spreadsheets.) You might have to click on the chart to enlarge it and see it better.
Did I mention that I love flowcharts? Here’s another one, showing an overview of the EXIT series. (Click on the chart to enlarge it and see it better.)
So how are these series linked? The picture below is a BIG hint. Devlin (Devil) Buchanan is one of the brother’s from the Deadly Games series. Unbeknownst to his family, he’s also an Enforcer for EXIT Inc. In TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP, Devlin’s two world’s collide and he fights to protect both the woman he’s starting to love and his family from the employer he’s trusted his entire adult life. The aftermath of that struggle is the creation of the Equalizers, a group of former EXIT Enforcers and others who join together to fight against what EXIT has become. That struggle continues throughout the EXIT series, beginning with EXIT Strategy and ending in an explosive climax in FINAL EXIT.
It was so much fun bringing in the Buchanan’s and even Logan Richards (a friend of the Buchanan’s from HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT) as secondary, but extremely important, characters throughout the EXIT series.
Although the four-book Deadly Games series and the three book spin-off EXIT series are incredibly fun to read in order, each story contains a unique and fulfilling love story and can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book. You’ll understand what’s going on even without reading the earlier stories.
I hope you’ll give FINAL EXIT a try. And let me know what you think! Shoot me an email through my website. And please join my newsletter list if you’d like to receive notifications of future releases or giveaways. Sometimes I do giveaways ONLY to my subscribers, like last week when I gave away ten books to randomly drawn names from my newsletter list.
In 2014, TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN introduced readers to the fictional town of Destiny, Tennessee and the sexy, funny SWAT team of five alpha men and one kick-butt woman. Readers loved it. TT won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. And to this day, it’s still my best-selling Harlequin Intrigue.
But why am I talking about a book that released three years ago?
Because, in response to reader emails asking for more of the sexy heroes of the Destiny, Tennessee SWAT team, I’ve created a new Tennessee SWAT series. And the first book, taking up where TT left off, is MOUNTAIN WITNESS!
MOUNTAIN WITNESS – Print releases January 17. eBook releases February 1st!
A woman in hiding and a man on a mission in the Smoky Mountains
Detective and part-time SWAT officer, Chris Downing, doesn’t know much about his neighbor. In the rural town of Destiny, Tennessee, Julie Webb lives a life of seclusion, rarely even offering a smile or wave. Only when Chris hears her frantic screams one night does he gain a glimpse into the life of a woman in hiding, and in saving her life, he is forced to kill her attacker. But Julie’s troubles are only beginning to unravel. When Chris learns the identity of Julie’s attacker, questions of trust are raised and suspicions run high. Together they will uncover the motives of a killer…and the undeniable attraction between them.
MOUNTAIN WITNESS begins one year after TT ended. All of the SWAT characters from TT make appearances in MW. And readers get a very special glimpse into the lives of the hero and heroine from TT and what has happened to them since that book ended.
I had a blast writing this book, and have three more to go to finish out the series–including SECRET STALKER, which comes out next month!
So far the feedback from readers about MOUNTAIN WITNESS has been wonderful. I’m looking forward to hearing from readers of TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN as well, and how they’re receiving the continuation of that world in these new books. I hope everyone loves the fabulous alpha-heroes, and heroines, of Destiny, Tennessee!
To celebrate the release of MOUNTAIN WITNESS, I’m giving away a print copy of both MOUNTAIN WITNESS and SECRET STALKER to a random commenter on this post. So, tell me readers, what makes a SWAT hero sexy? What makes any hero sexy?
The randomly drawn winner of the two print books will be announced in the comments of THIS post on Tuesday, January 24th, so be sure to check back to see if you won.
Learn about these and other books by Lena Diaz by visiting her website.
Happy 2017, KaTs! Manda, here.
It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone, but its even harder (for me) to believe that today marks the release of my 12th book with St. Martin’s Press! Time flies when you’re writing kisses and thrills, I guess 😉
READY SET ROGUE is also the start of a new series for me, and it’s been a joy to write because it combines three of my favorite things in a historical romance: bluestockings, kissing and fantastic libraries. See for yourself…
When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…
Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?
This book has also been exciting for me because it’s garnered my first starred review from Booklist! Reviewer John Charles says:
“Displaying a deft hand at characterization, a superb ability to craft an engaging plot spiced with intrigue and danger, and a remarkable flair for graceful writing richly imbued with a deliciously crisp wit, Collins launches the Studies in Scandal series on a high note.”
If you’d like to read an excerpt and see for yourself, check out my website.
And here are the obligatory buy links…
To celebrate release day, I’m giving away a copy of READY SET ROGUE to a random commenter!
So, readers, I’ve told you I love bluestockings. What’s your favorite heroine type in romantic suspense (historical or contemporary)?
Diana Belchase here: Today I’m super excited to welcome guest blogger Chris Campillo to BookSmart! Chris is the kind of person everyone loves — she’s the girl next door, a gal who always has your back, a phenomenal writer with a great sense of humor, and a stand up comic. When this Texas mom isn’t taking care of her kids, her home, and working (with her hubby) to make ends meets, she’s using the honesty of her daily life to imbue humor into her books. Her comedy will have you keeling over howling with laughter.
This is the thing about Chris: She says the things we’re all thinking — the average day-to-day horrors we’ll never talk about. There is something so cathartic about reading her stuff. It’s like therapy between the covers of great fiction. I promise you’ll come out entertained and…
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and Happy Holidays