Thursday, September 15, 2016

Blog Tour: The Edge of Dominance by Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob, Isabella Lapearl

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04-TEOD-v6Since Macen “Hammer” Hammerman shares the bond he’s long craved with Raine Kendall and his best friend, Liam O’Neill, he should be looking forward to a bright future. But a vengeful force from the past returns to cast a long shadow. As Hammer reels from a bombshell that exhumed struggles he'd buried after his late wife’s passing, he learns her death may not be ruled a suicide after all.

Worse, a figure from Raine’s childhood surfaces, determined to rip her away for good. As the threats against the trio multiply, Hammer must confront his demons while leaning on Liam to keep their new family intact. But with emotions running high and forces mounting against them, can their love survive so they can finally live happily ever after?

     

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    TEOD-Teaser-v2B   TEOD-Teaser-v8         01-ODTL-v6Raine Kendall has been in love with her boss, Macen Hammerman, for years. Determined to make the man notice that she’s a grown woman with desires and needs, she pours out her heart and offers her body to him—only to be crushingly rejected. But when his friend, very single, very sexy Liam O’Neill watches the other Dom refuse to act on his obvious feelings for Raine, he resolves to step in and do whatever it takes to help Hammer find happiness again, even rousing his friend’s possessive instincts by making the girl a proposition too tempting to refuse. But he never imagines that he’ll end up falling for her himself.   Hammer has buried his lust for Raine for years. After rescuing the budding runaway from an alley behind his exclusive BDSM Dungeon, he has come to covet the pretty submissive. But tragedy has taught him that he can never be what she needs. So he watches over her while struggling to keep his distance. Liam’s crafty plan blindsides Hammer, especially when he sees how determined his friend is to possess Raine for his own. Hammer isn’t ready to give the lovely submissive over to any other Dom, but can he heal from his past and fight for her? Or will he lose Raine if she truly gives herself—heart, body, and soul—to Liam?   AMAZON *** AMAZON UK *** B&N *** iBooks *** Kobo *** Smashwords         02-TYTS-v6Raine Kendall has everything a woman could want…almost. Sexy, tender Dom Liam O’Neill is her knight in shining armor, but Raine keeps pinching herself. Is he too good to be true or is this growing connection one that could last a lifetime? She’s constantly torn by her abiding feelings for her commanding boss, Macen “Hammer” Hammerman, especially in the wake of the mind-blowing night he cast aside the barriers between them and ravaged every inch of her body.   Hammer, Liam’s former best friend, can’t stop coveting Raine. But Liam is determined to hold and guide the woman he loves and see if she can be the submissive of his dreams. However, he’s finding that her trust is hard won and he needs a bloody crowbar to pry open her scarred soul. So he risks everything to win her once and for all. But once he’s put his daring plan in motion, will it cost Liam his heart if he loses Raine to Hammer for good?   Amazon *** Amazon UK *** B&N *** iBooks *** Kobo *** Smashwords       03-TBTD-v6After spending weeks trying to reach Raine Kendall, Dominants Liam O’Neill and Macen Hammerman have finally broken past the walls to their submissive’s wounded heart. Before they can enjoy their newfound closeness, Liam’s past comes back to haunt him when his ex-wife drops in—with a secret that could tear his world apart. Forced to leave Raine in Hammer’s care, Liam is stuck on the outside, stewing in frustration and insecurity…and wondering if Raine no longer needs him or if Hammer alone completes her.   Always the pillar of strength, Hammer tries to help Liam while sheltering their woman. But Raine soon discovers the truth that threatens the trio’s chance of a happily-ever-after. Determined to hold them together, the two men cook up a scheme to uncover the ex’s secret. When an old nemesis returns and targets Raine, can Liam and Hammer come together to slay the danger and save the woman they both love?     Amazon *** Amazon UK *** B&N *** iBooks *** Kobo      

  ABOUT SHAYLA BLACK:   Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than forty novels. For over fifteen years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold well over a million copies and been published in a dozen languages. Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past seven years. Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and a very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.   Always be in the loop and sign up for Shayla’s FREE Newsletter Visit Shayla’s website Visit Shayla on Facebook Visit her Amazon Author Page  
  ABOUT JENNA JACOB:   Bestselling author Jenna Jacob paints a canvas of passion, romance, and humor as her Alpha men and the feisty women who love them unravel their souls and heal their scars to find their happily-ever-after kind of love. Heart-tugging, captivating, and steamy, Jenna's books will surely leave you breathless and craving more. A mom of four grown children, Jenna and her Alpha-Hunk husband live in Kansas. Jenna loves books, Harleys, music, and camping. Jenna's zany sense of humor and lack of filter exemplify her motto: Live. Laugh. Love. Meet the wild and wicked family in her sultry series: The Doms of Genesis. Or become spellbound by the searing love connection between Raine, Hammer, and Liam in her continuing saga: The Doms of Her Life (co-written with the amazing Shayla Black and Isabella La Pearl). Journey with couples struggling to resolve their pasts to discover unbridled love and devotion in Jenna's new contemporary series: Passionate Hearts.  
  ABOUT ISABELLA LAPEARL Hello Friends! My name is Isabella and I write sexy, erotic romance. I'm a wife, mother, writer, reader and I love to ride my motorcycle. To say it's been an extraordinary journey thus far would be an understatement...what a rush! What a thrill to realize dreams and see them go from a seed to fruition. So for all you aspiring Authors who like me, have a fire inside that burns brightly and demands to be sated by writing... Never give up.

Cover Reveal w/Giveaway: Barrier by D. C. Renfroe


Barrier
by D.C. Renfroe
GENRE: Romance Thriller
RELEASE DATE OF THE BOOK: October 10th, 2016

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The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please visit GoddessFish.com to follow the tour, remember the more you comment better your chances on winning.

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BLURB:

When Claire Luna is kidnapped and taken to a remote island, her predictable life is torn to shreds. She thought she understood grief, loss and loneliness. But nothing prepared her for the island.

Tucker Knight had his world turned upside down when he was a young teen. He’d known love, security and normality. But things changed, and somehow he lost his innocence along the way.

Barrier takes you on a compelling, thrilling and sometimes brutal journey of Claire and Tucker, who in a bid to control their destiny, must learn about trust and submission. And also about love.

The island is under the control of Dr. Stephen Bell, a scientist obsessed with the secrets of humanity through genetic engineering. Claire is part of his obsession, and quickly comprehends Bell’s twisted intentions. She is forced to decide between submission and life-altering consequences. In her desperate attempt to survive, Claire surprises Bell and Tucker with her strength to fight.

But, can she trust Tucker? Is he her enemy or her savior? Claire understands that to surrender means to survive, but can she endure? Tucker can’t help but be enamored by the spirited and determined Claire, but to survive, he must face and overcome his haunting past. Up until Claire’s arrival on the island, he had never thought himself capable, or deserving, but perhaps this was his chance to finally do the right thing.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I began writing many years ago and put it aside to raise a family. I put myself through college working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, which I have almost completed. I took every writing class that was offered and finally put pen to paper after dreaming of completing a novel for almost twenty years. In the meantime, I worked as a freelance journalist for a local newspaper briefly and wrote a personal blog while living in south Florida. I currently work as an Instructional Designer based in Austin, Texas. I am a mother of four and truly believe they are my greatest creation! Two of my children inherited my love of writing and I encourage them to write every chance they get!


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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour w/Giveaway: Victoria at Sea by M. Kate Quinn


Victoria at Sea
by M. Kate Quinn
GENRE: Contemporary Romance

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One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Please visit GoddessFish.com to follow the tour, remember the more you comment better your chances on winning.

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BLURB:

Why has no place in what the heart knows for sure.

On the eve of their wedding Victoria Gliden and fiancĂ© Owen Walker call it quits. He accuses her of not being able to get over her deadbeat father’s vanishing act when she was a child and she and her cold feet run and don’t look back.

An interior designer, Victoria, has an important meeting on Cancun that could garner her a promotion and the plan was to incorporate her presentation with the honeymoon cruise that’s journeying to the island. Since she’s sure Owen is on his way to Portland to escape the aftermath of their ruined wedding, Victoria takes the honeymoon cruise anyway. Only Owen has the same idea and they’re stuck with each other for six days, five nights.

Tony Gliden, Victoria’s father, dies in a freak accident and is sent back to earth disguised as a crotchety old man with the mission to convince his daughter to believe in love. So, he, too boards the ship.

At sea, destiny takes a detour when Victoria befriends the quirky old man with kind eyes and together they join forces with a quartet of unabashed women in their fifties who drink pink martinis and flirt with the wait staff but are wiser than they look. While trying to dodge Owen, Victoria’s new acquaintances help her face old wounds and confront new fears.

Most of all, Victoria and Owen both realize it all boils down to one word—why?

By journey’s end will two broken hearts get their answer?

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Excerpt:

Two figures, a scrawny-assed man and a brittle-looking woman, sat opposite him at a sleek table, the surface a slab of marble. “Who the hell are you?” Tony’s voice pinged foreign to his ears, distant, echoic.

The man’s lanky arms were knobby like twigs, attached to narrow shoulders, but he sat with the authority of a doctor, his pale hands tented on the marble. His face, sunken-eyed, was somber like he was about to lower the boom to a patient. Tony pushed himself forward and stared the guy down.

“Buddy, uh, care to answer me?”

When no response came from the guy, Tony pulled his eyes over to the woman. Her gray hair was long and silky. Young hair. The healthy mane looked odd on a broad who obviously had a few miles on her with skin like tree bark. She had a clipboard in her bony grasp, her knuckles like rocks under taut sallow skin.

“Either one of you going to speak?” The sarcasm felt good, sharp like a seed of jalapeno on his tongue. “Yoo-hoo.” He looked from one to the other as they sat there like mannequins. “And, what’s with those sweaters?”

They both sported white crewneck sweaters with a red “H” emblazoned mid chest like some kind of uniform. Tony’s gaze slid down to his own garments expecting to see the same indigo jeans and blue striped shirt he’d put on this morning. Instead, he was in a black suit that even he, no expert at such things, knew was a piece of crap. He wore no shoes and one big toe poked through a hole in a navy blue sock. He wouldn’t be caught dead in the getup.

“What the hell?” His words boomeranged off the white walls like a crack of thunder. “How’d I get in this pile of rags and what the hell am I doing here?”

The man at the desk pinned Tony with an onyx stare and screwed his lips into a knot.

“Are you always this grumpy?” The man’s voice was gravelly, like his vocal chords were rusted. His head bobbled like a dashboard toy.

The woman looked up from her clipboard and fixed her cloudy gray eyes on Tony, as well. He felt like a goldfish in a bowl on a shelf. The broad wagged a gnarled accusatory finger. “Come on,” she coaxed in a voice that sounded like she was under water. “Give us a smile.”

A familiar zing raced through Tony, the first sign of life amidst the fog in his brain. He didn’t like being chastised and he didn’t like these two clowns dressed like orderlies, or better yet, soda jerks.

He jolted up from the chair like it was electric and somebody pushed the “on” button. “Grumpy, huh? Tell you what, pal. You ain’t seen grumpy. And, unless you tell me the truth about why the hell I’m here, you’re going to get yourselves a good dose of Tony Gliden losing it. So, one last time, what am I doing here?”

“Tony,” the woman’s voice held a gauzy wrap of gratuitous condescension. “There’s no way to sugar-coat the facts, so put simply, you’re dead.”

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born to a feisty Italian mother and a gentle blue-eyed Irishman, I was given the name “Marykate,” inspired by Maureen O’Hara’s character in the movie, The Quiet Man, an old-time favorite love story that co-starred John Wayne. With a grandmother Catherine and an Aunt Mary the name was an obvious choice.

've been writing stories all my life. There's an old Macy’s box in my attic filled with my writings from childhood, now smudgy-looking pages produced on my portable Olivetti Underwood typewriter, an eighth-grade gift from my Grandmother Catherine.
I am a recent First Place winner of a short story contest sponsored by Reader’s Digest Magazine and write a column entitled “Boomer Humor” that appears monthly in my neighborhood newspaper.
My husband and I are our own love story. We have a slap-happy middle-aged second marriage with a combined total of six grown children, one delightful granddaughter, another precious little baby on the way and one ridiculously spoiled, amazingly handsome cat named Sammy.


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Excerpt Reveal: Bedmates by Nichole Chase

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We are thrilled to get to bring to you the first two chapters in New York Times Bestselling Author Nichole Chase's BEDMATES, the first standalone novel in her new American Royalty Series!

 
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly Royal comes the first in a sparkling new series about America’s favorite royal—the First Daughter.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially in college. But when you’re the daughter of the President of the United States, any little slip up is a huge embarrassment. Maddie McGuire’s latest error in judgment lands her in police custody, giving the press a field day. Agreeing to do community service as penance and to restore her tattered reputation, Maddie never dreams incredibly good looking but extremely annoying vice president’s son, Jake Simmon, will be along for the ride.

Recently returning from Afghanistan with a life-altering injury, Jake is wrestling with his own demons. He doesn’t have the time or patience to deal with the likes of Maddie. They’re like oil and water and every time they’re together, it’s combustible. But there’s a thin line between love and hate, and it’s not long before their fiery arguments give way to infinitely sexier encounters.

When Jake receives devastating news about the last remaining member of his unit, the darkness he’s resisted for so long begins to overwhelm him. Scared to let anyone close, he pushes Maddie away. But she isn’t about to give up on Jake that easily. Maddie’s fallen for him, and she’ll do anything to keep him from the edge as they both discover that love is a battlefield and there are some fights you just can’t lose.

Pre-Order BEDMATES in ebook or paperback, releasing 10/4/16

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Add to your Goodreads

 
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Click here to take you to the first TWO chapters from BEDMATES!

  nicholechaseAbout Nichole Chase: Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, The Accidental Assassin, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, The American Royalty Series and several short stories. Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, two rescue dogs, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.
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Release Blitz w/Giveaway: Pirate Heiress by Chloe Flowers

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Pirate Heiress

by Chloe Flowers A Pirates & Petticoats Novel Publication Date: September 15, 2016 Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Action & Adventure
Pirate Heiress Cover

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Amazon (99c or #FREE with #KindleUnlimited): http://amzn.to/2cFG3vg
Synopsis: A beautiful pirate, a vengeful sea captain and a secret treasure…will love save them or destroy them?A high seas, nautical, historical, pirate romance filled with action and adventure, mystery and intrigue, and a quest for hidden treasure! Reluctant pirate Stevie Savauge is on a quest with her family to find a secret treasure hidden by her great-great-grandparents, the two notorious pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack Rackham. When her eight-year-old twin siblings are kidnapped and the ransom demand is a merchant ship called the Seeker, Stevie must find the courage to conquer her fears and fight for those she loves. Italian-born, French privateer Drago Viteri Gamponetti (Gampo to his men) has coveted the Ahern merchant fleet for years. He knows if he takes one, the others will come to its aid. He sets a trap in Jamaica, determined to capture the fleet. When Captain Conal O’Brien discovers that the pirates work for his sworn enemy, he doesn’t resist capture. What better way to locate Gampo’s secret stronghold than to sail right into it? But these brigands aren’t who they seem to be, and if Conal’s not careful, he’s going to lose his heart as well as his ship to the woman determined to possess both. pirates-petticoats-graphic

EXCERPT

PIRATE HEIRESS by Chloe Flowers
CHAPTER ONE
Letter from Anne Bonny to her father William Cormac: 3 March, 1718 Dear Father, I bid you farewell. I know you disapprove of my choice for a husband. True, he is but a simple sailor. However, I refuse to marry any of those milksops or fortune hunters who continue to darken our door. I love James Bonny and he has sworn his life to me. I ask nothing more from you than your prayers for my health and well-being. Your daughter, Anne July 1811 What the hell. His sister was about to marry his best friend this evening, so he could deal with a cold bath. Conal dragged the copper tub from the pantry closet and poured in several buckets of tepid water. He’d located a piece of lye soap, so at least now the bath would be well worth the effort. The galley stove had been allowed to wane to the lowest of coals, and he, Conal O’Brien, the captain of this vessel, had neither the time nor inclination (or rather patience) to heat the water for his bath. Better to just duck the head down and get it over with. Like pulling out a tooth or a wood splinter, cold water plunges were best done quickly. As he expected, the water was brisk, the soap elusive, the suds painful to his eyes, and the whole notion of soaking in a cold tub remained annoying, to say the least. Yet as always, Conal’s stubborn tendency to fight being bested by anything, including the temperature of his bath, won out in the end. He had to hold his breath longer than he’d have liked, but there were areas that needed extra attention, thanks to Gampo and his damned crew of pirates. If he were honest with himself, it really wasn’t entirely the attack by Gampo that had spurred the extra scrubbing, although his coat had been torn and his breeches stained with grime from helping a mate adjust a ship’s gun. Rather it was the thought of his mother’s look of disappointment that made it necessary to repair his appearance before attending his sister’s wedding. Although they weren’t here, his parents would expect him to see his sister married properly while representing the O’Brien family proudly. He scrubbed a little harder. If anyone had asked him a few months ago if his best friend would marry again, he’d have laughed. Women were too hard a concept to understand, for one. They were weak, silly, helpless and emotional, making them more of a burden than anything else. Aside from the women in his family, females in general weren’t to be trusted, at least not the ones he usually ran across while anchored at port. Suffice it to say that the less he trusted women, the better off he remained. No, the notion of marriage didn’t appeal to Conal in the least, unless...he thought for a moment. If he found a woman more like his sister Keelan, he might consider it. She was as good or better with a blade than any man on his ship. She was quick-minded and independent. He’d never met another woman, save his Aunt Risa, who belonged on the deck of a ship more. Conal’s vessel, the Seeker, had to drop anchor farther out in the harbor due to a thick cloud of fog obscuring everything beyond a couple hundred paces. He’d had to row a canoe back to his ship to bathe and change. His cousin Brendan’s ship, theReward, was docked at the pier, providing a more convenient access to the town’s offerings. In fact, Brendan was probably already back at the tavern and looking like the handsome devil he was, boots polished and collar starched. He would be damned if his cousin would find fault in his mien this day. Brendan always seemed to find a loose chain in Conal’s armor where appearances were concerned. But not today. He’d already trimmed his beard and polished his boots to a glowing shine. Even now, propped against the chair, they reflected the low glow of the lantern swinging overhead in time with the active motion of the water. He leaned over and grabbed for the linen cloth draped over the edge of the tub. After wiping his face, he braced his hands on the rim and pushed himself to his feet. When he raised his head, his nose nearly clipped the barrel of a pistol. A faint acrid smell of gun powder assailed his nostrils. Eyes focused on the cold, grey metal, he was careful to avoid any sudden movement. He raised his gaze to peruse the person holding the weapon, a brigand wearing a wide-brimmed hat pulled low. Beneath the hat, a brightly colored scarf covered his hair. Behind the gun bearer stood a second figure, armed as well. “You have my attention,” Conal said evenly. The one holding the pistol stood between him and the lantern, but from what he could see, the intruder was tall but slight in build. If it weren’t for the pistols, he wouldn’t have hesitated to lunge for both of them. The closer man must have been thinking along a similar line of thought, because the pistol shook slightly. “This ship has been taken,” he said. “If you value your life and the lives of the crew that remain, you will yield.” Conal’s stomach twisted. How had he missed the sound of battle aboard? Granted, all but the watch and a handful of men still making repairs to the damaged sails and yard arms had been allowed to go ashore to attend the wedding celebration, but he should have heard a shout or a pistol shot even down here in the galley. How many of his men had lost their lives? “Do you yield?” The intruder tightened his hold on the pistol. Conal cursed under his breath. “I yield. What are your demands?” He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes. The voice sounded too...soft. A woman, perhaps?
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Stevie swallowed and gripped the pistol handle more firmly. Her arm was beginning to tire from holding it for so long, but she didn’t dare lower it. The mountain of a man in the tub looked as if he could crush her head like a grape with one hand, and her younger brother’s with the other one. More often than not, she could look an average man straight in the eye. However, with this one, her head would barely reach his nose. He cocked his head, still awaiting her answer. His eyes narrowed before sliding down to her soft doeskin boots and back up again. She should have stayed more in the shadows; she would have been a bit more intimidating that way. “Stevie,” Remi whispered from behind her, bringing her attention back in line. What was the question? Oh, yes. Demands. “You’ll relinquish the ship and all its cargo,” she said, barely able to keep the tremor from her voice. Her gaze paused at the gold ring on the man’s finger. If they were going to become pirates, she might as well start acting like one. She took a deep breath and drew her shoulders back a little. “Let’s start with your ring,” she said, holding out her hand. The man’s jaw clenched and the knuckles gripping the tub’s edge whitened. What thoughts were flying around in his head? He was contemplating his chances of overpowering her and taking her pistol; she could see that in the way his gaze shifted back and forth between her and her younger brother. If he had a weapon, and if it had been a one-on-one situation instead of one against two (with guns), he likely wouldn’t have paused to contemplate it this long. He would have defended himself. She eased a step back, careful to keep her pistol well within a lethal range. “Please don’t try it,” she said. “I’d prefer to save my shot.” His eyes widened and his brows raised in surprise. She’d been right in her assumptions, then. She usually was. Her intuition annoyed her brothers no small amount, and they always avoided her when they wished their thoughts to remain...theirs. Only one of them could hide from her, but he was a gambler and so it was expected, otherwise he wouldn’t be a very good gambler, would he? The man twisted the ring from his finger and tossed it to her. She placed it on the only finger it would fit—her thumb. Keeping her focus on their hostage, she moved behind him to the stack of clothes on the galley table and removed the dagger and pistol next to them. She’d have to keep a close watch on him; he looked like the type of man who’d rather fight against the odds than give himself over. They needed to get him up on deck with her other brothers before she fainted from the trauma of this whole episode. She was far from her cozy little room off the kitchens of her brother’s gaming house. Before they’d boarded the ship, Uncle Bernard had given her a brief lesson on managing a pistol, but it still terrified her to hold it. “Get dressed,” she said, with as much authority as she could muster. He reached for the linen rag. Stevie felt her eyes widen. She was wrong. Very wrong. The top of her head would barely reach his chin, let alone his nose. Wide, thick shoulders took up most of the space in the galley. His muscles rippled as he moved. A long scar trailed from the top of his shoulder to the middle of his ribcage. A fighting man. A very strong, very muscular, very handsome, very naked man. She should shut her eyes, avert her gaze, something...but to do so would be foolish right now. She’d never seen a naked man as perfectly proportioned as this one. To be honest, she’d only seen one other naked man (other than her terribly immodest brothers while growing up). Remi’s mortified expression from the doorway prompted her to roll her eyes and give him a pointed look he interpreted perfectly. She’d changed his diapers when she was eight. She’d also lost her virginity after falling foolishly in love with a gambler who’d promised her a life of travel and luxury. The next day, after losing everything he had as well as several hundred dollars in credits to the house, he disappeared and never returned. Lesson learned. Men would tell a woman anything to sway her attentions to the bedroom. Their captive turned toward her and reached for his clothes. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth and she could barely swallow. He had a chiseled chest with a faint layer of fine, light brown hair that darkened to a burnished auburn as it trailed past his navel to his...his... Oh, my. When she turned her attention back to his face, his expression was rather mocking. “Satisfied, little rabbit?” he asked. So he’d already guessed she was a woman in men’s clothing. She assumed he was talking about her perusal, which she wasn’t about to address. No need to give him a burst of confidence right now. Her mouth was still dry. Instead, she asked a question. “Little rabbit?” She looked nothing at all like a rabbit. Her ears, along with her hair, were covered. “You look as if you’re ready to jump out of your skin. Perhaps you’re afraid of me?” He leaned toward her. Yes. “No.” She barely managed a response. Her attempt at laughter was pathetic at best. “Well...little rabbit...you should be.” He jerked on his clothes. A pair of shiny cordovan boots stood next to the tub, and he pulled them on while he muttering obscenities about someone named Brendan. That task complete, he stood up straight, crossed his arms over his very impressive chest and glowered at her. His eyes were a grey-green with a golden band around the pupil, reminding her of a tiger she’d once seen in a traveling show. She wanted to swallow, but she was paralyzed. Was this how a tiger’s prey felt just before it became dinner? He’d already figured out she was female. Now he was studying her, calculating the odds on a successful confrontation. If he charged her right now, she’d probably squeal and tumble into a terrified heap on the floor. She pulled back the hammer of her pistol until it clicked to help him with his decision-making process, and hopefully to fortify hers. Still, terror gripped her heart, forcing it to pulse and throb in uneven beats. Until a short time ago, she ran the kitchens in her family’s hotel and gaming house. Pirating was not on her short list of talents. In fact, she was rather pleased she’d pulled back the hammer without accidentally discharging the gun. “Remi,” she called to her brother over her shoulder, inwardly cursing at the way her voice trembled. “If he makes a move toward either of us, shoot him.” Remi’s hammer clicked back. Good. Pointing toward the door with the pistol, she gestured for her prisoner to go topside. Almost soundlessly, he moved in long, sinuous strides through the passageway and up the ladder. He smelled of soap, new leather boots, and a musky scent she knew was all him. The vision of that tiger from long ago crept into her thoughts again as she eyed his movements. Her thoughts jumped to her family up on the main deck. They’d sent her to the galley to see what kind of stores the ship held. No one expected she’d find a man down here, which was a stupid assumption, apparently. The Sauvage family wasn’t used to this kind of life. Sure, her brothers and cousins could recognize a cheat and a thief when they saw one, but that was the limit of their skills when it came to interacting with the more nefarious slice of humanity. They’d spied on the ship for a couple of hours; their chance came when most of the crew departed for shore. The rest stayed topside. Her uncle said the men were probably told to keep watch, but perhaps assuming the dense fog would cloak them in safety, the crew gathered around an upturned crate and played cards, enabling Stevie and the rest of the band to surround them. The crew had surrendered with barely a word. It had been a foolhardy plan. Ridiculous. Dangerous. Crazy. And absolutely imperative they succeed.
【⚓】
Of all the damned, rotten luck. Conal heaved himself up the last two steps and perused the deck. Remus and his watch were all tied to the mizzen mast in the center of the animal pen amidst a couple of pigs, two goats and the cow. The first mate was busy cursing at the goat currently munching on his hat. So much for rallying a rebellion anytime soon. To resist now would be foolish. It was best to wait until a more opportune moment, after they had time to evaluate their captors’ strengths and weaknesses. He glanced at the woman called “Stevie.” She was taller than most women. Her long, slender limbs moved fluidly, like a dancer he’d encountered once when he was in Arabia. It was hard to draw his gaze from her face. Dark, exotic lashes framed the grey eyes beneath delicately arched brows, and her curves were in all the right places. Even the long vest she wore couldn’t hide her form. She had a French heritage. Her English was flawless; so she was probably American. Women weren’t usually wanted, needed or appreciated aboard a ship. There were always exceptions, like his sister and aunt, but in general, having a woman aboard brought bad luck. Chances were that she was important to at least one other person in their group, or else she wouldn’t be here. Taking her hostage would be his first move when the time was right. Surrounding the pen was a group of well-armed men. From what Conal could discern based their mannerisms and stance, they were landlubbers. A couple of members with greenish tints to their faces hugged the rail on the larboard side. Only old two salts stood with their legs braced wide and confident. Those two were definitely seamen. Without waiting for a pistol to poke him in the back, he strolled over to the pen. Stevie and Remi followed, keeping a wary distance. “Is your watch unharmed, Remus?” he asked the first mate. Remus looked up and his cheeks reddened. “Yes, sir. Sorry, Captain.” He added in a chagrined tone, “We just didn’t expect...” The man didn’t need to finish the sentence, really. Even Conal wouldn’t have expected anyone to do something this audacious so close to Harbour Town in the late afternoon, fog or no fog. Conal scanned their captors. He’d earlier assumed they were pirates, but that seemed incorrect now. There were four other full-grown men, two of which were obviously twins, and all most certainly had to be related in some way. Along with light eyes and hair the color of black coffee, there were similarities in build and stature, as well as in certain facial features. The only exception was one of the grizzled sailors, who looked to be about sixty. Remi stood next to Stevie, and in the light of day, it was more obvious he was still a boy, maybe thirteen or fourteen. Conal was an idiot for allowing those two to take him without a fight. Pistols notwithstanding. A tall, trim man about Conal’s age strode forward, a scowl on his face. “What’s this?” “Remi and I found him in the galley,” Stevie said. “Hiding?” “Bathing.” The man’s eyes widened and he spun to face the two. Stevie just shrugged. “Why didn’t you call for help?” “Quite honestly, Victor, there wasn’t time,” Stevie said. “We found him in a vulnerable situation and easily handled it on our own.” Victor rubbed his forehead before brushing a dark lock of hair from his eyes. “Adrian, toss him over with the rest.” Adrian strode toward him and Conal swallowed. He was normally the tallest in the room, but this one had him by almost a head. Stevie touched Victor’s arm. “Wait, we might need him. He’s their captain.” A quick flicker of relief crossed Victor’s stern features before he turned his attention back to Adrian. “Never mind. Make a sweep of the lower decks instead.” Adrian gave Conal a shrug followed by a humorless grin, then headed toward the ladder. An angry shout came from the water below on the port side of the Seeker. “At least toss over the oars, you sons of bitches!” Conal started to walk toward the voice, but at Stevie’s raised pistol he stopped. “What have you done with the rest of my men?” Victor answered. “We sent them off in longboats.” He grabbed two oars, walked to the starboard side of the ship and heaved them overboard. “You half-masted, verminous dawcock!” came the reply from the water below. At least the men had oars available to row them to shore, although there was no guessing how long it would take to get to them. Conal doubted there were any swimmers among the crew on the longboat. It would take some time to paddle with their hands to where the oars floated on the opposite side of the ship. Meanwhile, Victor moved Conal near the mizzen close to the other men then bound his hands and hobbled his legs in irons, effectively depleting his mobility. The pirates gathered together and the two old seamen began assigning tasks, and it wasn’t long before they were in an argument. “The anchor has to be brought up before ye can do that, ye dim-witted dog.” “I know that! But we need feet on the yards and arms on the sheets if we’re going to get underway, you vermin-ridden old goat.” Not only did their captors walk the deck like lubbers, they didn’t even look like pirates. There were no missing appendages except for two fingers gone on the oldest salt’s left hand. There were no visible scars, and for the most part, none of the younger men showed the effects of sun-darkened skin or scurvy. Curious indeed. goodreads-badge-add-38px

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ABOUT CHLOE FLOWERS

Chloe Flowers
A Parrothead at heart, Chloe’s love for pirates began with Peter Pan and continued with Pirates of the Caribbean and ghost stories about pirates from the Outer Banks. She listens to Celtic music while she writes. When life gets too serious, she reads Calvin and Hobbes comics. She lives in Ohio with her tall, dark and handsome husband, three children and two rambunctious dogs, Indiana and Luke, who are named after her two favorite action heroes. Descended from a family of cooks and gourmet chefs, Chloe is a true foodie and along with working for fortune 500 companies in marketing and teaching MBA students strategic marketing, she also ran a gourmet cookie company. Cooking for a crowd runs in the blood, so her fridge is always full. She deals with stress by baking pies (just ask her college roommates what it was like for them around exam time). Her idea of a perfect day? Sailing on the caribbean with her family, sun in her face and wind at her back, and finishing the day in the kitchen making a fab gourmet meal and sipping a glass of wine. The Pirates & Petticoats Series is about spunky heroines and the scoundrels who love them.

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