Review | Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker

The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.

When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

First and foremost, this book took me by surprise because I had it in my mind that it was more of an anthology and not an ongoing story, so that set me a little off kilter. At the beginning of the story we are introduced to a litter of fox kits who desperately want to hear a scary story, so they go to see someone known as the storyteller. Over the course of one night the storyteller tells them stories about a pair of foxes and their adventures.

I did really enjoy the writing style in this, especially because between each story we get an interlude between the kits and the storyteller and I did like how all the stories came together at the end. I think a younger reader looking for something a little scary and adventurous would really enjoy this book and find it to be a fast and enjoyable read.

Happy reading!

Review | The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill

Bestselling poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of poetry and prose exploring Hindu mythology and legend.

Let her be a little less human, a little more divine
Give her heart armor so it doesn’t break as easily as mine

Meet Paro. A girl with a strong will, a full heart, and much to learn. Born into a family reeling from the ruptures of Partition in India, we follow her as she crosses the precarious lines between childhood, teenage discovery, and realizing her adult self. In the process, Paro must confront fear, desire and the darkest parts of herself in the search for meaning and, ultimately, empowerment.

Nikita Gill’s vivid poetry and beautiful illustrations have captured hearts and imaginations–but in The Girl and the Goddess, she offers us her most personal and deeply felt writing to date: an intimate coming-of-age story told in linked poems that offers a look into the Hindu mythology and rich cultural influences that helped her become the woman she is today.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have loved everything I’ve ready from Nikita Gill so far and this one was no different. I’ve had it since release, but was holding on to it for the perfect time. I am both sad and happy that I put it off, simply because it ended up being so beautiful. I loved Paro’s story as she grew up and dealt with so many joys and hardships, things were done to her that she didn’t understand and had to process. At pivotal points in her life she was visited by divine entities who told her stories/lessons. Paro’s voice is beautiful to read through as she ages from baby to adolescent to adult and all the lessons she learns not just from her nightly visits, but from her life experiences and the people around her.

I didn’t know much about Partition in India or Hindu mythology and appreciated the insight shared on both in this book. It’s hard not to keenly feel for Paro, especially with Gill’s expertly written poetry and prose.

Happy reading!

Blitz | Brooklyn Kings Box Set by L.K. Shaw

Brooklyn Kings Box Set (Books 1-3)
L.K. Shaw
Publication date: June 24th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Arranged Marriage
Enemies to Lovers
Forbidden Friends to Lovers

Get the first three books in the bestselling Brooklyn Kings series and watch these sexy and dangerous men fall to their knees before their queens.

The Devil I Don’t Know – he’ll marry her, but only for the alliance with her Irish family. Or so he thinks
The Enemy in My Bed – he’s captured his enemy, but soon discovers she’s anything but
The Beast I Can’t Tame – he’s loved her from afar, but a family secret comes to light that may destroy any chance he has at her

Goodreads / Amazon / Bares & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

Certificate of Marriage.

“Sign.” He holds the pen up in front of me.

I stand frozen, unable to move. With my signature, everything is final. There’s no undoing any of this.

I can’t do it.

There’s a flash of movement and then blinding pain. Tears spring from the impact of Grand-da’s hand across my face again. On its heels is a roar of rage. I turn my head in time to see my grandfather pinned against the wall, clawing at my husband’s hand wrapped around his throat.

“I don’t give a fuck how powerful you think you are. If you ever touch my wife again, I’ll slit your throat and bury your body where no one will ever find it. Do you understand?” he growls.

Grand-da’s face is turning deep purple. He manages a short nod…and my husband releases him. He coughs and chokes and desperately tries to suck in air. Utterly disregarding the man gasping for breath, my husband turns, and in a blink, he’s standing before me. He towers over me, and I have to crane my neck to look up at him. A shadow of brutality lingers in his eyes. He reaches out, and despite myself, I flinch…again. He merely picks up the pen my grandfather dropped and holds it out to me.

“Our marriage is a business arrangement, so I understand your being opposed to it. Neither of us wants this, but one thing I can promise is that I will never lay hands on you in anger.”

I shiver at his gruff tone. Wait. If he doesn’t want to be married to me either, then why did he do it? My eyes travel over his shoulder to latch onto my grandfather, who’s still rubbing his neck and glaring at me. Next they move to the massive man who remains lurking in the corner. He’s staring at Grand-da. His continued silence and steely glare unnerve me. There’s an alert readiness in his body, as though he’s waiting to dive into action and defend his boss. At last, I turn my gaze back to my husband who’s still holding the pen in his hand.

I take him in again. His dark hair is swept back off his forehead, his eyebrows a sharp slash over eyes that bore into me. A chill dashes across me at their intensity, and I could almost lose myself staring into them. They’re the color of my father’s favorite cognac. Despite the ferocity he displayed only moments ago, they seem almost gentle now.

In a move that surprises me, I reach out and take the pen. Our hands brush. Before I change my mind, I scribble my signature on the line above my printed name. I can feel my husband’s eyes on me. He takes the pen from my fingers, his skin gliding along mine. Goosebumps travel up my arm. Confused over my reaction, I hastily take a step back while my husband—Emilio—signs his name next to mine.

He rolls up the certificate and tucks it into the inner pocket of his suit. It’s final. I’ve signed my life over to a stranger. A man who, only moments ago, showed me how brutal he is. Despite his promise, I don’t know if I can trust him.

Dear God, what have I done?

Author Bio:

LK Shaw is the bestselling author of sexy, sinful suspense. She resides in South Carolina with her high maintenance beagle mix dog, Miss P. An avid reader since childhood, she became hooked on historical romance novels in high school. She now reads, and loves, all romance sub-genres, with dark romance and romantic suspense being her favorite. LK enjoys traveling and chocolate. Her books feature hot alpha heroes and the strong women they love.

Want a FREE short story? Be sure to sign up for her newsletter and download your copy of A Birthday Spanking, a short story set in the Doms of Club Eden world! http://bit.ly/LKShawNewsletter

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Blitz | Sleigh Bell Serenade by Shanna Hatfield

Sleigh Bell Serenade
Shanna Hatfield
(Winter Wishes, #2)
Publication date: January 19th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He keeps his heart heavily guarded.
She meets everyone with a friendly smile.
Will the attraction sizzling between them pull them into the space between their two worlds?

Burdened by too many responsibilities, Bowen Jensen struggles beneath their overwhelming weight. Between raising his teenage sister, running their family ranch, and managing Sleigh Bell Tours, he barely has time to sleep, let alone do something just for himself. He can’t even recall his last date. Then a chance encounter with a beguiling woman leaves him pondering if there isn’t more to life than trudging through one lonely day after another.

Juniper Haynes appears to have it all with a successful real estate career and a picture-perfect life. In reality, she’s tired of dealing with demanding clients, wary of her so-called friends, and secretly longs for the peace she finds at her sister’s mountain home. After a magical New Year’s Eve kiss with a cowboy she barely knows, she realizes true happiness might only be found outside her comfort zone.

Can Bo and Juniper find the courage to embrace change and explore the possibility of a future together?

Find out in this sweet winter romance full of small-town charm, memorable characters, laughter, hope, and love.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“What a mess,” the woman said, brushing at her coat with the napkin Sassy handed to her. “I’m not usually such a klutz.” She gave up dabbing at the cider soaking into the white cashmere and looked to Bo again. “Thank you for catching me before I fell. I’m Juniper, by the way. Juniper Haynes.”

“Juniper,” Bo mumbled, finally managing to gain a miniscule amount of control over his tongue. However, his heart pounded so fast and loud, it echoed like a bongo drum in his head.

“That’s an awesome name,” Sassy said, with the enthusiasm summoned by a teenager impressed by someone older and more worldly. “I’m Sassy, and this is Bo Jensen.”

Juniper’s smile widened as she looked up at him. Even with her high-heeled boots, she barely came up to his chest. Then again, at six-four, he tended to tower over a lot of people.

“Sassy and Bo. It’s so nice to meet you. Thank you, again, for catching me. Happy Christmas Eve.” Juniper turned away and took a lopsided step, but her foot slid on a patch of hidden ice. She would have fallen if Bo hadn’t caught her a second time, his arms looping beneath hers from the back. She tilted her face upward and offered him a look of gratitude.

Something that felt like an electrical current trailed up his arms, threatening to short circuit what few working brain cells he had left.

Words.

He needed words.

To speak—to say anything—but nothing seemed to be able to work its way from his overloaded brain to his mouth. The sharp elbow Sassy jabbed into his side didn’t help any more than her questioning glare to rattle something loose.

Bo stared at the woman, fascinated.

Juniper.

What an intriguing name for an entirely captivating woman.


Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes sweet romances rich with relatable characters, small town settings that feel like home, humor, and hope.

Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

When this farm girl isn’t writing or indulging in rich, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. She also experiments with recipes, snaps photos of her adorable nephew, and caters to the whims of a cranky cat named Drooley.

To learn more about Shanna or the books she writes, visit her website http://shannahatfield.com or find out more about her here: linktr.ee/ShannaHatfield

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2023 | Challenges for the Year

Hey everyone! Since we’re still in January I thought it might be a good time to talk a little bit about the challenges I’m planning on doing this year.

As I said previously I am pretty being soft in the goals department for 2023 but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to set some challenges or participate in some things.

First things first, even though I haven’t done a post on it in a while, I am still doing my TBR card game, it’s just something that Rich and I do every month, and I’m trying to catch up by taking care of previous picks.

I’m of course participating in BooksandLaLa’s Buzzwordathon, I’ve already finished my pick for January so we are off to a good start.

Also because I enjoy making him participate, Rich picked out 25 books off my TBR shelves to go into a jar. I’ll pick one a month at least and try to get it off the TBR. He also picked me 23 to read in 23 just for fun. Again, it’s not a hard goal or anything, but it will be fun to look at the list at the end of the year to see how many I completed.

Other than that I may participate loosely in some readathons, but nothing is going to be set in stone until I see how I’m feeling at that time. I want to enjoy my reading this year and be kind to myself when I maybe don’t feel as well.

Though I’m not technically doing 12 picked by 12 friends, feel free to leave me a comment with a recommendation!

Happy reading!

Blitz | Aspen Cove Series by Kelly Collins

One Hundred Reasons
Kelly Collins
(Aspen Cove, #1)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

A woman who wants to leave.
A man who has to stay.
And a love that won’t be denied…

Nurse Sage Nichols’ life isn’t going as planned. When a favorite patient passes away, Sage abandons her post for a few minutes longer than planned — and just like that, she’s without a job and a paycheck.

But Sage’s patient left her a parting gift: a creaky bed-and-breakfast in the heart of the Rockies. So, determined to sell the rundown property and return to Denver for a fresh start, Sage heads north to the mountains.

When Cannon Bishop’s mother died, he gave up his dreams of leaving Aspen Cove for good and returned to run the family business. As owner of the only bar and son to the town drunk, he’s got no room in his life for a woman. But when Sage Nichols breezes into town, she changes everything.

And if there’s one thing Cannon hates, it’s change.

Recruited by the local doctor, Sage finds herself more involved in small town life than she intended. But the warm welcome she receives from the locals does not extend to the man next door.

Then trust sprouts unexpectedly between them and when Sage’s plan to return to Denver falls through, she is left wondering if her future might lie in Aspen Cove after all.

Sometimes love gets in the way of the best laid plans…

Welcome to Aspen Cove, the tiny Colorado town where fresh starts, hope, and true love live…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

“This feels kind of perfect.”

He adjusted the blanket and pulled her closer. The arm of her chair dug into her side, but she didn’t complain. For the first time since she arrived in Aspen Cove, she wasn’t alone or lonely. It was an odd sensation to be so comfortable with a man who made her temper flare, and her insides turn soft. The most interesting thing was he made her feel something other than empty. She would take rage and passion over apathy any day.

They sat in companionable silence for minutes. Cannon turned toward her and tilted his head. A kiss was coming, and all her questions about his lips would be answered. She leaned in, relaxed her lips and inhaled. Just as the lids of her eyes fluttered closed, she felt him shift.

“I think they’re done.” He rolled to his feet, taking the blanket with him. “Let’s get you inside and warmed up.” He offered her a hand and pulled her to her feet. “I’ll clean this up.” With his arm at her back, he led her to the door.

Sage wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but it was the smart choice. There was no point in starting something that wouldn’t go anywhere. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “Thank you. This was probably the best night I’ve had in a while.”

He held her close, and his lips touched the top of her head in a gentle kiss. “You need to get out more.”

“I do. I really do.”

“Tomorrow night, you should come to the bar.” He stepped back. “It’s karaoke night. Bring Otis.”

“Okay.” She nodded. It would be the first Saturday night where she wasn’t pulling a shift or spending it curled on the couch, watching reruns.

“It’s a date.” He stepped away and started down the stairs.

“Is it?” Did he mean a real date, or was he using it as a figure of speech?

“Just come to the bar.” He disappeared into the night. She watched his outline as he picked up the glasses and bottles by the water and moved toward his cabin.

She giggled as she walked into the house. Suddenly, nothing bothered her. Not her nose. Not the newlyweds going at it like rabbits. Not the thought of being stuck here until the house sold.

A voice from deep down told her she could be happy here if she’d let herself. Flopping onto her bed, she grinned up at the ceiling, thinking of the magical effect that a long hug and light kiss from the right man could have. She wasn’t sure if it was the wine talking or her hormones, but something was telling her to trust Cannon.

Author Bio:

Like FREEBIES? Join the VIP readers at http://bit.ly/KellyCollinsFreeBook for members-only exclusives!

~ Tip: Just hit “FOLLOW” for notifications about deals & new releases! ~

International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly has sold more than a quarter of a million books worldwide, and in 2021 she was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Award Gold Medal in the Contemporary Romance category for A Tablespoon of Temptation.

You can learn more about Kelly at http://www.authorkellycollins.com.

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Review | Why Are You Like This? by Meg Adams

A collection of comics with a millennial take on marriage, adulthood, pet ownership, self-love, and self-care. 

Finally, comics that answer life’s most pressing questions: Is my partner actually upset or just hangry? Whose turn is it to remember the reusable shopping bags? Is it appropriate to put up Halloween décor two months in advance? (Spoiler alert: Yes. Yes, it is.) 

“Opposites attract” has never rung truer when it comes to vivacious extrovert Meg and her level-headed introvert husband, Carson. Carson makes his coffee with only the finest locally roasted beans; Meg microwaves two-day-old joe. Carson is reserved and rarely opens up to friends; Meg ensures everyone in her life—including her mailman—knows about her hemorrhoid. From the joys of marrying your best friend to the bizarre musings of a twelve-pound pup to the humor and heartbreak of anxiety, Meg’s all-too-relatable comics leave no stone unturned. Dorky and downright hilarious, Why Are You Like This? explores what it means to make fun of oneself and find laughter in the little things.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Having seen some of Meg Adams’ comics before I was eager to pick up a whole collection of them. So many of her comics are easy to relate to whether it be regarding her relationships, her pets or her personality. It was a quick and fun read that had me laughing the whole time, while also often nodding in agreement with the comics. I really love how she’s able to communicate things in a short format that is so relatable and humorous.

Happy reading!

Blitz | The Year of Cecily by Lisa Lin

The Year of Cecily
Lisa Lin
(From Sunset Park, With Love, #1)
Publication date: January 17th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

This is the year of Cecily Chang.

San Francisco attorney Cecily Chang is ready to tackle the New Year head on, so she creates a list of resolutions guaranteed to reboot her life—right after her dutiful visit home to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for the Lunar New Year. Cecily prepares to face her critical, meddling mother, nosy relatives, and the chaos and drama family togetherness brings. At least the food will be delicious. This holiday, Cecily vows to remain calm—as long as she doesn’t see him.

Jeffrey Lee deeply regrets how he ended things with Cecily ten years ago, but he felt it was best for her at the time. When he runs into her again during the New Year, he sees it as a sign. Now a successful screenwriter, Jeffrey is determined to win back Cecily’s heart.

But Cecily doesn’t believe in signs or second chances and embraces her new resolutions. This time, Jeffrey won’t give up—and he’s convinced he can write them a new Hollywood happy ending.

Goodreads / Amazon / Bares & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

Having escaped the madhouse, Cecily dutifully made her way down the street to the Lee residence. She knocked on the door and was greeted by Jeffrey’s younger sister Bethany. She was dressed in a soft blue sweater and jeans, with a bandana pulling her hair back.

“CeeCee!” Bethany exclaimed as she enveloped Cecily in a hug. Despite herself, Cecily couldn’t prevent a grin. She’d always had a soft spot for Bethany.

“You’re home for the weekend?” Cecily asked. Last she heard, Bethany was a senior at Columbia, majoring in biochemistry.

“Yep. Where else would I be?” Bethany readjusted her bandana. “Mom needs all hands on deck for the cleaning.”

Cecily made a face. “My mom’s planning a top-to-bottom deep cleaning today too. I’m on bathroom duty. She’s also grumbling because she needs to take me to Walmart later to buy new clothes. But you can’t fight tradition.” She rolled her eyes good-naturedly. It was a New Year tradition slash superstition to clean the house top to bottom, get a haircut, and buy a new outfit. It was all about out with the old, in with the new and generating good luck and a fresh start for the Year of the Pig.

Bethany had no response, just blew out a breath and looked at her expectantly.

“Oh, right. Is Jeffrey around? I need to speak to him.” Speaking of the devil, he appeared behind his sister in the doorway.

“If you’re here to pay me for the Uber, think again.” He crossed his arms, and a stubborn look came over his face.

All right. If he was going to be a hard-ass about this, then so could she. She had plenty of experience dealing with difficult clients.

“It’s out of my hands, Jeffrey. You know that I can’t go into the New Year unless I settle all debts. You wouldn’t want me to start the Year of the Pig with bad luck hanging over my head, do you? You really want that on your conscience?” She gave her most innocent look and blinked disarmingly.

Jeffrey just scowled. “You always were a spoiled brat when it came to getting your way,” he muttered.

Cecily took immediate umbrage. “How dare you!” Such an unfair accusation. Besides, how did he know? They hadn’t seen each other in ten years. Maybe she had her moments, but didn’t everyone?

Jeffrey just raised an eyebrow. “Who was the one who told our moms I scalped her Barbie doll when she really was the one who decided to give it a haircut?”

“Really with that? I was five years old for God’s sake!” Seriously.

An implacable stare from him. “Did you or did you not get a new doll for your birthday?”

“To be clear, the statute of limitations for that has come and gone,” Cecily sniffed. “Not fair for you to throw that in my face now. It’s been thirty years, and I doubt your ability to accurately recall the event in question. Besides, whether or not I got a replacement Barbie doll is irrelevant to the current discussion.”

“And I was the one who got spanked for something I didn’t do.”

She continued to glare, and so did he.

Bethany just looked at them back and forth like she was watching a tennis match. “You two are weird,” she decided with a shake of her head. She walked away and disappeared back into the house.

Jeffrey ignored her. “But if you insist, it was sixty dollars.”

As Cecily dug through her wallet and purse, he added nonchalantly, “Oh and just so you know, Guillermo gave us a four and a half star rating.”

Her head snapped up and she stopped searching for the money. “Why didn’t we get five?”

“You were always so competitive.” He chuckled. He leaned against the doorjamb and put his hands in his pockets.

“Well, why didn’t we get five? We did nothing wrong,” she insisted, with her hands on her hips.

“Go ask him,” Jeffrey suggested, his lips twitching.

Cecily frowned and went back to her purse. Finally, she scrounged up thirty dollars and thrust it at him.

“There you go.”

“Glad I could help you start the New Year with a clean slate,” he drawled. “Happy now?”

She raised a warning brow. “You’re lucky I didn’t ask for a receipt.”

“Your faith in me is touching.

Author Bio:

Lisa has been an avid romance reader and fan since she read her first Nora Roberts novel at the age of 13 after wandering the aisles of her local bookstore. Lisa loves that romance has the power to inspire, and believes that HEAs are for everyone.

Lisa writes light contemporary romantic comedies with a liberal dash of snark and banter. She enjoys delving into the complexity of Asian and immigrant family experiences, and celebrates female friendships in her trademark dry, witty style. As an Asian-American author writing own voices Asian American stories, Lisa hopes that her books will show the diversity of the Asian-American experience, and the importance of every reader being able to see themselves represented on the page.

Having grown up in Pennsylvania and helping out at her parents’ restaurant, Lisa has never bothered to learn to cook. She has two liberal arts undergraduate degrees and a J.D, and in her former life she was an intern, then Legislative Assistant for a PA State Representative. She also worked as a paralegal at a boutique law firm. Lisa is a politics junkie (don’t get her started on the wonder that is The West Wing!), indulges in naps whenever possible, and believes Netflixing in her pajamas and ordering take out qualifies as the perfect weekend.

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Blitz | Blackout Trail by Linda Naughton

Blackout Trail
Linda Naughton
Publication date: January 10th 2023
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic

Doctor Anna Hastings is no stranger to disasters, having spent much of her career as an aid worker in conflict zones around the world. Yet when an electrical phenomenon known as an EMP brings down the power grid, Anna faces catastrophe on a scale she never imagined. She must learn what it means to be a doctor in a world deprived of almost all technology.

As the blackout causes planes to fall from the sky, Anna crosses paths with devoted father Mark Ryan in the chaos at the airport. Mark convinces Anna to travel with him and his seven-year-old daughter Lily to their family’s cabin in remote Maine. There Mark hopes to reunite with his wife, and find a safe refuge from a society on the brink of collapse.

Journeying across a thousand miles of backcountry trails, they will face a daily struggle against nature. Their biggest peril, though, may come from their fellow survivors. As Anna grows closer to Mark and Lily, she resolves to see them safely home. But can she hold onto her humanity in a world gone mad?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I lowered the phone and narrowed my eyes at the blank display. No indicators, no clock —nothing. How could it be dead already? I’d charged it before I left Jess’ house last night, and the damn thing was barely a month old. I scowled. “Oh, come on.”

The nearby baggage carousel ground to a shuddering halt. A collective groan from the other passengers drew my attention away from the useless brick in my hand. Snatches of disjointed conversation reached my ears.

“Can you hear me? I think we got cut off. Frank?”

“The hell? I had plenty of charge left.”

“Moooommy! My movie stopped!”

A growing sense of dread pooled in my stomach. It wasn’t just our baggage carousel that had stopped; they all had. Both the overhead lights and the computer screens showing the baggage carousel assignments had gone dark too. The only light streamed in from the floor-to- ceiling windows lining the perimeter of the baggage claim area. Why hadn’t the emergency lights kicked on?

The automatic sliding doors had also stopped, confounding a gaggle of college kids trying to leave. Beyond the doors, an ominous stillness had replaced the constant bustle of parking shuttles, cars, and taxis creeping along the pickup lane. There should’ve been engine sounds. Horns. Something. Now there were just a bunch of confused and pissed-off people getting out of their vehicles.

Grumbling from the other passengers gave way to a stunned hush. Panic bubbled just beneath the surface. You couldn’t set foot in an American airport these days without being bombarded with reminders of terrorism. Everyone looked at each other, the same question written on our faces: Was this some kind of attack? What should we do? I expected some sort of alert or explanation over the loudspeaker, telling everyone to remain calm, but none came.

A thunderous crash from the opposite end of the terminal had me ducking and covering my head. Metal screeched on metal, accompanied by the tinkle of shattered glass and an ear- splitting grinding sound. A chorus of terrified cries erupted around me. I’ll admit it—I screamed too. I caught a glimpse of a plane fuselage crashing through the airport ceiling before plowing into the ground.

The plane flattened the south end of the building as casually as a child knocking over a stack of blocks, and the resulting fireball sent flaming debris flying in all directions. At the opposite end, the shock wave knocked me off my feet. A rush of hot air stung my face and hands.

People started picking themselves up off the ground. Dozens of survivors made a mad dash for the exits. Their screams sounded distant to my ringing ears. Non-functioning doors proved to be a mild hiccup for the exodus. The lucky ones smashed through or pried the doors open before they got smashed against the glass.

Catching my breath, I rose to a crouch. The putrid smell of aviation fuel mixed with acrid smoke tickled my throat and made my eyes water. Heart hammering, I surveyed the destruction in slack-jawed horror. The rectangular terminal stretched for the length of a football field, and nothing remained of the south half but fiery rubble. Between here and there was a wide stretch where it looked like a bomb had gone off.


Author Bio:

Linda Naughton is a writer, software engineer, paramedic, and mother of two. She’s the author of several novels, gaming products, and the blog Self-Rescuing Princesses. A proud geek and gamer girl, she enjoys TV, movies, video games, and role-playing games. Visit her website at https://lindanaughton.com.

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Blitz | Foxed by Jay Hogan

Foxed
Jay Hogan
Publication date: January 12th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

FOXED: To be thrown into a state of uncertainty—flustered, bamboozled, bewildered, puzzled, vexed.

AKA, me. Jed Marshall. 55-year-old successful classic car mechanic; divorced, mostly closeted, and whose wholly inexperienced bisexuality has suddenly awakened after one smouldering look and said, ‘Damn, who’s the hottie?’ Or words to that effect.

Cue, Nash Collingwood. 53-year-old scarily smart high school principal; out, gay, confident, and sexy as hell. He’s also my daughter’s boss. So, not complicated at all, right? Nash could ignite a bonfire with a single sultry look, comes fully accessorised with a charm offensive Churchill would be proud of, an easy-going flattery that thrills my heart far too effortlessly, and an impressive track record with men many decades my junior.

In short, Nash is everything I’m not, and everything I’ve avoided for roughly my entire life. He’s the hot rod to my sensible family car, that is if you like your family cars with a few dents, creaky suspension, unexpected backfires, and a dodgy stick.

The last thing I need is a relationship—especially with a man. I buried that pipe dream a long time ago and a little loneliness is a small price to pay. The festive season and long summer vacation are on our doorstep. I’m finally getting things right with my family who mean everything to me, and I don’t want to mess that up.

But Nash doesn’t care about my awkward inexperience, or clumsy excuses, or any of my insecurities. Nash only sees me. He wants me. For the first time in years, I feel alive and sexy and a whole lot more than just a good father and grandfather.

I should walk away, but the closer Nash and I become, the more he fills my grey world with colour, and the promise of a second chance at love I never thought possible.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“Hello?” The tentative greeting was followed by a series of knocks on the open hangar door of the workshop.

I leaned forward in my seat but couldn’t quite see who it was.

“Hello? Anyone there?”

Shit. It couldn’t be. But the voice was familiar, too damn familiar, and a warmth curled low in my belly as my heart ticked up.

“Sit.” Rollo waved me down. “I’ll see to whoever it is.” He wiggled out of his chair and headed out into the workshop while I edged toward the door for a look, grateful for a little more time to get my shit together.

But when I saw Nash standing there in tight blue jeans and a black button-down, looking slightly nervous and way too fucking lickable, the warmth in my belly turned into an embarrassing flip. Rollo laughed at something Nash said, and the next thing I knew he was headed back to the office with Nash on his heels, the man’s curious gaze sweeping right and left. The closer they got to where I was standing, the more my stomach clenched.

What the hell was he doing here?

“You okay, Boss?” Jemma suddenly appeared next to me, and I realised my hands were fisted and sweating. “Do you know him?”

“Yes.” I rubbed my palms down the front of my coveralls and gave a half shrug. “A little.”

Jemma shot me a curious look but said nothing.

Rollo walked into the office and waved a hand my direction. “Here’s the man himself. Would you like a coffee, Nash?”

Nash stopped just inside the door with his back to the others and cast an apologetic half-smile my direction. “I don’t want to take up your time if you’re too busy. It’s your call, Jed.”

We both knew he wasn’t talking about the workshop, and with my overall sleeves tied around my waist and only a thin black practically not-there singlet standing between me and the man’s heated gaze, warmth flooded my cheeks. When he was done checking me out, his eyes returned to mine and his mouth curved up in an appreciative smile as he pointed to my cap bearing the slogan Ford Mustangs: Better than Sex. “Nice hat.”

And—oh my fucking god, I was getting hard.

“Boss?” Rollo was still waiting on my answer, which had been far too long coming. “Should I make Nash a coffee or not?”

“What? Oh, um . . .” I flustered. “No, I’ll do it. Maybe you guys could finish smoko outside?”

Rollo and Jemma exchanged a puzzled look, then grabbed their unfinished drinks and promptly left with Jemma casting a final what-the-fuck look over her shoulder. I answered with a shrug and swiftly closed the door, watching through the glass as they exploded into hushed conversation and headed for the outside table and chairs to finish their coffees. When I was sure they were out of earshot, I turned to Nash, who had his palms up, and immediately apologised.

“Jed, I’m so sorry if I’ve fucked up. The last thing I wanted was to make things awkward for you, I . . .” He trailed off, chuckling, and shaking his head. “Well, shit, that’s a damn lie. It was hardly going to be anything but awkward, was it? Crazy principal chases after his reluctant crush? Borderline stalking, at best. I think I just motored straight past undignified and crashed into abject humiliation. I have no excuse other than—” He hesitated, his gaze fixed on mine as he nibbled his bottom lip, before finally continuing. “I wanted to see you again. It’s as simple as that. And if that’s not okay, I’ll leave right now.” His words ran together, and he shook his head like he was angry with himself, his cheeks blazing, his gaze darting sideways to the window.

But I was stuck on reluctant crush. My heart stuttered in my chest as I tried to wrap my head around all of what he’d just said.

I still hadn’t answered when he finally groaned, “Can you just put me out of my misery? And I’ll be gone.”

And with those few simple words, all my noble good intentions to rise above the carnal temptation that Nash Collingwood embodied with fucking bells on flew out the window under jet-fuelled propulsion. Martyrdom clearly wasn’t what it used to be.

And also, he looked way too fucking cute standing there looking a whole lot less confident than usual. This was a Nash I could relate to.

I gave a slow blink and breathed out a sigh. “It’s . . . fine. I’m not sure what good you think it will do, but take a seat.” I headed for the espresso machine, feeling like a tongue-tied teenager. “How do you have your coffee?”

Author Bio:

Heart, humour and keeping it real.

Jay is a 2020 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Gay Romance and her book Off Balance was the 2021 New Zealand Romance Book of the Year.

She is a New Zealand author writing mm romance and romantic suspense, primarily set in New Zealand. She writes character driven romances with lots of humour, a good dose of reality and a splash of angst. She’s travelled extensively, lived in many countries, and in a past life she was a critical care nurse, nurse educator and counsellor. Jay is owned by a huge Maine Coon cat and a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel

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