Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Beyond The Limit

With: Cindy Dees

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Team Reaper has a new mission…Train the first female SEALs

Navy SEAL Griffin Caldwell is not happy with his team’s top-secret mission, training the first female SEALs. Griffin’s determined to prove that that his trainee Sherri Tate—a former beauty queen no less—doesn’t have what it takes to join the world’s most elite warrior’s club. Until he sees what she’s capable of, and even this hard-nosed SEAL has to admit she’s tough as nails. What he won’t admit to is the attraction sizzling between them.

Navy media officer Sherri Tate is more than just a pretty face. When she’s given the opportunity to achieve her dream of becoming a SEAL, she won’t let anything stand in her way, not even her arrogant trainer, who is too sexy for words.

When a dangerous mission lands Sherri and Griffin in the cross hairs of the world’s most feared terrorist, it’s going to take everything they have to come out with their lives—and hearts—intact.

Praise for Cindy Dees:
“A pulse-pounding adventure that will keep readers enthralled.”—RT Book Reviews for Hot Intent
“A well-crafted plot with plenty of action, love and danger...make this a must-read romance.”—RT Book Reviews for Undercover with a SEAL

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixty books, 2-time RITA winner and five-time RITA finalist, Cindy Dees writes military romance and romantic suspense. A former U.S. Air Force pilot and part-time spy, she draws upon real-life experience to fuel her stories of love on the edge. She resides in eastern Texas. Cindy loves to chat with readers, and all her social media links are on her website,

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I want him to kiss me
            Maybe she should kiss him.
            Must. Not.
            She arched into him, pressing against him as night settled gently around them.
            He started this. Why shouldn’t I finish it?
            Her stare locked with his as she lifted her chin the last few millimeters into kissing range. His breath mingled with hers, light and hungry.
            This is a terrible, terrible idea.
But she couldn’t think of anything she would rather do in the whole wide world than be right here, right now, surrounded by this man, crushing her breasts against his chest, about to kiss him.
Her mouth opened slightly. She ran the tip of her tongue across her suddenly dry lips. Time stopped for a long moment, as she fought a losing battle against the desire raging between them.
He tilted his head down in sudden decision, his mouth capturing hers in no uncertain terms. His dynamic presence exploded around her…or maybe that was erotic attraction exploding inside her.
Their kiss was hot and wet, a carnal thing complete with tongues and sucking and groans from deep in her throat that startled the hell out of her. This was no tentative hello, no cautious introduction. This was lust and raw, raging hunger. Apparently, Griffin was as direct about his desires as he was about his opinions.
It made him even more irresistible. He saw what he wanted and went after it. No hesitation, no doubts. It was so damned alpha of him.
She crawled all over him, turned on like mad, doing her best to suck his tonsils out of his throat. His left hand slid down her spine until he gripped her behind, pulling her snug against his groin, making no secret of how turned on he was by her.
She rubbed the junction of her thighs against that promise of sweet, sweet release, relishing the zinging pleasure ripping through her. She wanted sweat and the slap of thrusting bodies, to be filled by his hot flesh, to drive him out of his mind. She actually purred a little in the back of her throat at the thought of it—
Whoa. When did she turn into a cat in heat?
Apparently, when Griffin Caldwell kissed her.
Yeah, but what a kiss.
It was sexual and frank, and frankly fantastic.
And then, just like that, he tore his mouth away from hers. Stumbled back. He jammed his hands in his pockets, and she saw through the fabric they were balled in fists. His face abruptly looked carved from stone, his eyes glacially cold.
The cool, night air swirled around her, damp and misty, chilling her to the bone.
“That’s why women can’t be in the SEALs,” he rasped.
            She registered shock first.
            Then disappointment.
            And then came outrage, flowing fast and hot through her veins.
            Had that kiss been all about humiliating her? She’d been ready to leap into bed with him, damn him!
            She glared furiously at his shadowed face and said low and angry, “You think because you deign to bestow a kiss upon me, I’m going to collapse at your feet, swooning? You think because I have sexual desires I can’t be a soldier? You think because I find you moderately attractive I can’t keep my mind on the job?” Her voice rose with each question. “Just how freaking shallow do you think I am?”
            His mouth clamped shut and she caught the ripple of muscles along his jaw.
            “You’re the one who kissed me,” she flung at him. “How shallow does that make you?” As her fury gathered steam, she stepped forward and poked him in the chest. “I don’t think women in the SEALs are the problem, Caldwell. I think misogynistic male chauvinist pigs in the SEALs are the problem.”
            “Sherri. Calm down.”
            “Don’t tell me to calm down! You keep your hands, and your mouth, and…and,” she fluttered her hands at him, “all those muscles…to yourself, mister. I’m a professional soldier, and I’m here to do a job. You either get on board this train or stay out of my way. Got it?”
            “No,” he ground out. “I don’t.”
            She glared at him, speechless with anger.
            “No matter how fancy you slice it, Sherri, no woman has what it takes to be a SEAL. You’ll never have what it takes. You have no place on the teams and never will.”
            There it was. The truth had finally been spoken aloud. The SEALs didn’t want women and would do everything in their power to keep women out. And on a more personal note, he didn’t want her.
            Her anger drained away as quickly as it had flared, leaving behind only a dagger of hurt buried to the hilt in her heart.
She said soberly, “What are you going to do when I prove you wrong, Griffin?”
            Frustration gleamed in his gaze as clear and bright as Venus hanging low on the horizon.
            She continued implacably. “The day of the female SEAL is coming—soon. If not me, then some woman a lot like me, is going to make it past all the obstacles you throw up in her path. Where will that leave you? Will you be in…or out?”
            He threw up his hands and turned away from her, but she continued battering at his ramrod stiff back. “Where will that leave you, Griffin? Will you be part of the SEALs then, or will you be obsolete? Are you going to let your prejudice and archaic attitude drive you off the teams?”
            He whirled around so fast she lurched back from him reflexively. “My team is my family. My life, dammit.”
            He brushed past her, striding away into the darkness. She called after him as he practically ran from her, “Then you’d better get used to the idea of women. We’re coming for you. I’m coming for you, Griffin Caldwell.”

Excerpted from Beyond the Limit by Cindy Dees. © 2019 by Cindy Dees. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

To Serve and Protect Was Never More Personal

Congratulations to "Carol T.", the winner in Margo's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize.

BROTHERS IN BLUE, four heroes who met at the police academy and became lifelong friends. The dropout, the straight arrow, the movie star and the maverick. All share a passion to serve and protect, each in their own unique way.

But what happens to this passion to serve and protect when the women they love with all their heart is the intended victim?

Like Brad Collins, a police officer dropout turned bounty hunter of Book 1, ON THE SURFACE when he realizes his one true love, Jenny Reynolds is in danger…because of him.


“Make no mistake.” The chief took off his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose. “Your reputation precedes you or I wouldn’t be giving you the time of day right now. You’re the one who needs to remember you no longer carry a badge.”

Brad flinched as the verbal jab hit home. His brothers from the department had him spoiled. That was for sure. There was no way around it. As far as anyone else in law enforcement was concerned, he was no longer one of them.

“This guy is a true bad ass if there ever was one.”

His glasses replaced, the chief leaned forward. “You don’t have to define bad ass to me. I’ve seen Donahue’s rap sheet. It’s as long as both my arms. That doesn’t change the fact you still haven’t given me probable cause.” The glasses came off again. He slid them to the top of his head. “Plus, a second fact remains you should have checked in here with us when you first got to town.”

“I was only here, temporarily, to get a line on the fugitive’s location. I didn’t expect to stick around so long.” There were a lot of things he didn’t expect, none of which he cared to dwell on now.

“You don’t have Donahue’s exact location at the present time either?”

Brad shook his head. “I just know he has expressed plans to come up here. That’s why I’m asking you to send an officer over to the nursing home to assure Etta Reynolds’ safety.”

“Not much to go on. Your hunch that woman is in danger.”

You don’t know the bastard like I do. Brad flattened his palms on the Chief’s desk and leaned forward. “Why take a chance? I understand this sleepy little burg of yours isn’t exactly a high crime region. That doesn’t mean it can’t be.”

He began to share the latest on Donahue’s crime spree when the chief cut him off. “Give me credit for doing my job. I requested a copy of the most recent report from your old department. We’ll take care of Etta. You take care of Donahue.”

And Jenny. “Thank you, sir. I’ll do my best.”

Back in his car, Brad made short work of getting out to Rest Easy. He’d hardly lowered his hand after knocking when Jenny opened the front door.

“He said he’d be back up here tomorrow with the first load.” Without preamble, she repeated much of what she’d told him on the phone.

“I got that.” He stuffed his fists in his pockets as he stepped inside.

If she didn’t need the formality of a cordial greeting, he’d do without it too. If nothing else, this sure beat biding his time. Doing nothing but ruminating about the woman he couldn’t seem to get out of his mind. Or any other part of him for that matter. Body. Soul. You name it. Good, bad or indifferent, he was thoroughly committed to one Jenny Reynolds.

Whether she could stand to be in the same room with him or not.

Then there’s Vince Miller, straight arrow police officer working undercover, from Brothers In Blue Book 2, ON THE FORCE when he realizes the love of his life, Sydney Raines, may well be dead…because of him.


Vince pressed his foot down harder on the gas pedal as he fought to block out everything but the highway in front of him. A simple survival tactic as blind faith propelled him on. If he let his mind go where it wanted, all thoughts of Sydney would be front and center. He didn’t want to deal with that much pain just now. To focus on the road was his best option. Straight, flat, predictable.

Until they got to the turn off to the hospital, more specifically, the morgue.

Terror and sadness, rage and impotence stabbed at him from all directions, tearing him up and threatening to destroy his heart. Beside him, Andy Raines wasn’t faring much better.

“It’s not supposed to be like this.” He blew his nose then used the same handkerchief to wipe the tears from red rimmed eyes.

“It’s a hazy connection at best, but right now it’s the only connection we’ve got.” Vince didn’t share the details of the other victims. Not yet anyway. “I just hope to hell I’m wrong.”

“Children bury their parents. Not the other way around.” He coughed into one elbow then dabbed at his eyes again.

Vince kept his lips tight and jaw clenched. The right thing to do was respond. Offer some words of…what? Wisdom? Sympathy? Commiseration? Pity he had nothing to give as they traveled to possibly identify a Jane Doe dead body as someone they each loved more than life.

“I read you the report. There’s no positive ID. Yet.” Vince’s voice was about to break. He swallowed hard, then tried again. “I wouldn’t have gotten you into this at this point, but I thought it would be helpful.”

“To have next of kin on site. Just in case.”

“Yeah.” He spit out the word. For the first time it dawned on Vince the next of kin wasn’t him.

Face in his hands, Andy let out a couple of wretched sobs.
Vince gripped the wheel, shaken to his soul. “There’s a chance it’s somebody else.”

His companion lifted his head, pulled in a heavy breath then coughed. “You’re a damned idiot if you believe that, son.”
Vince choked down a mass of emotional junk. “Then I’m a damned idiot. Humor me.”

“Consider it done. You idiots need all the help you can get.”

To serve and protect was never more personal


He sought vengeance only to discover love.

Blurb: Wrongly convicted ex-con and recent parolee Jenny Reynolds wants to forget her tarnished past and focus on a brighter future. One that begins with a return to the small tourist town where she grew up. The restoration of her family’s once proud Rest Easy Bed and Breakfast is the only thing on her mind. Fleeing an ex who refuses to let her go, what she doesn’t need to complicate her already problematic life is another man. Enter handsome handyman Brad, a man who seems to care as much about restoring the B and B as she does. A man who soon becomes ready, willing and able to steal her heart. A man, as it turns out, with more than a few secrets of his own. A dropout from law enforcement, the real Brad Collins will use anyone and anything to fulfill a personal vendetta. When two pasts collide and danger threatens, their budding love for each other may be the first casualty.

Losing her job and reputation is nothing compared to the prospect of losing her life

Blurb: Top notch CFO Sydney Raines is devastated when her coveted job working for a high-profile conglomerate is yanked out from under her. Determined to restore a mangled reputation, she finds her second chance when the owner of an upscale art gallery hires her as his personal assistant. Straight arrow cop Vince Miller is assigned to crack an international art theft ring. Working undercover, he never counted on meeting Sydney Raines, let alone falling in love with her. Then an unexpected twist in the case reveals the identity of a serial killer, along with the shattering realization that Sydney could be the psycho’s next victim.

Reader’s Choice Giveaway: 
I’m pleased to offer one commenter a format of choice, e-book or print copy, of either Brothers In Blue Book 1, ON THE SURFACE or Book 2, ON THE FORCE  (Print books available in the US only.)

Please visit me at these locations as well.

FaceBook     Twitter     Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

Bio: Award winning author Margo Hoornstra writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, always providing that happily ever after for her characters. A big city girl turned country woman, Margo enjoys hiking and walking around the wide-open spaces near her home, especially in the fall, hates to cook and loves to read.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Exclusive Excerpt: Defending Harlow

Giveaway Alert!


Lowell “Black” Lockard, former Navy SEAL, has watched his fellow Mountain Mercenaries settle down with the women of their dreams, but he’s convinced he doesn’t need love. Then he gets a call from Harlow Reese—a chef at a local women’s shelter—and begins to reconsider his decision.

After being continually harassed by a local band of punks, Harlow asks Lowell to give the women of the shelter lessons in self-defense. She doesn’t expect him to take such a special interest in her safety, but he insists on escorting her to and from work, never taking no for an answer. Not that Harlow minds the personal touch…especially when it’s coming from her former teenage crush.

Despite her long history of bad dating luck, seeing Black again makes Harlow rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Easy on the eyes and hard to forget, the man has morphed into an alpha stud. And Harlow may be exactly the type of woman Black is looking for. Making her feel safe isn’t only a duty; it’s a pleasure. But the threats are escalating. The motives are a mystery. And as the danger burns almost as hot as their passion, there’s much more at risk than their hearts.

“Thanks for walking me to my car,” she told Lowell when she clicked her door locks.

“You’re welcome. What time are you getting here in the morning?”

Harlow bit her lip. “Well, I usually try to get here around five. That gives me time to prepare breakfast and get some fresh bread or biscuits baking before everyone gets up and going. Edward’s been bringing doughnuts and stuff, but I like to offer a variety of things for everyone to choose from.”

“Then I’ll see you here around five.”

“That’s early,” she told him.

He grinned. “Yeah, but it’s fine. I usually get up around four thirty to work out. I’ll just sleep in a bit, meet you here, then go home and start my run.”

“Really? You get up at four thirty every morning?” she asked.

“Yup. Guess all those morning workouts in the Navy stuck with me. I usually can’t sleep past six, even when I go to bed late. You?”

“Me what?” she asked.

“Are you a morning person?”

“Well, yeah. But I’m not getting up to work out … obviously.” Harlow gestured at herself as she said the last part.

“Why obviously?”

“Duh, Lowell. Look at me. Do I look like I work out?”

He moved so fast, she didn’t see him coming until he was right in front of her, his hips against her own, pressing her back against her Mustang. “You look like warm nights and beautiful sunrises.”

Harlow stared up at him. “I don’t know what that means,” she whispered.

“It means whatever you’re doing, just keep on doing it,” he said in a low, husky voice.

Harlow didn’t know where to put her hands, so she rested them lightly on his chest. “Oh. Okay.”

“And you should know … not tomorrow, but the day after … I’m picking you up at your apartment at four in the morning. Is that going to be an issue?”

Harlow widened her eyes in shock.

“Four? Why so early?”

“It’s a surprise, remember?” he said.

“I’m not sure about this. Nothing’s open that early.”

“Trust me.”

“I do, it’s just…” She stopped herself from saying anything else and shook her head. “Fine. At least I know it’s not a date, because no one goes on a date at four in the freaking morning.”

He grinned at her and, ignoring her commentary, said, “Text me when you get home.” Then he reached around her for the handle of the car door.


“So I can make sure you got there all right.”

She wrinkled her nose and asked, “You aren’t going to follow me home? I mean, you’re being all protective and stuff, so I just assumed.”

Lowell stared down at her for a long moment before grinning again. “Oh, I’m following you home. I just wasn’t going to tell you.”

Harlow rolled her eyes, not sure if he was kidding or not. “Whatever. Go home, Lowell. You’ve done your bodyguard duty for the night.”

“I’ll see you in the morning. Drive safe,” he said softly. He closed the door behind her and headed for his Mazda.

Don’t read anything into his behavior, Harlow warned herself. He was a SEAL. He rescues women for a living. Just because he’s going to ignore your demand and follow you home anyway doesn’t mean he wants anything more. Besides, you don’t date … remember?

Knowing she was losing the battle to keep herself emotionally separated from Lowell, Harlow drove home, watching his headlights in her rearview mirror … and feeling comforted and safe the entire way.


Author Biography
Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Delta Force Heroes, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website,, or find her on Facebook at

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Bleak Nights

Now that I’m approaching forty, there’s one big topic among my female friends: Kids. Particularly kids that do not (yet) exist. 

Some of my friends don’t want kids and feel pressurized by their parents to provide them with grandchildren, and while I sympathize with them, the women I really feel for are the one’s craving for a child. 

One of my friends is currently desperately trying to get pregnant before it’s too late. Another one has it even worse: She and her boyfriend broke up after seven happy years, because she wants a baby and he doesn’t (or not yet at any rate). She then dated another guy, who would have been happy to start a family with her, but she ended the relationship, because she realized she didn’t love him.

Her story – and her miserable face when she told it to me – have been haunting me ever since, and I started asking myself: If I had to choose, which one would I pick? The man I love, or a baby?

I’m not sure I came to a conclusion, and I’m very grateful I don’t actually have to make the choice (I have both a wonderful husband and an even more wonderful child), but the topic still troubles me and has found its way into my latest book, Bleak Nights.

In Bleak Nights protagonist and successful thriller author Brooke chooses option two, the baby. She’s determined to conceive it in the natural way, but doesn’t want to share custody, so she comes up with a plan: she’s going to kill two birds with one stone, using her research trip to Finland to seduce a smart, attractive and healthy man, and hopefully return home pregnant.

Teppo Vuorikoski not only meets her criteria, but comes with an unexpected bonus: As an ex-convict, he has some very interesting stories to tell, providing her with ample inspiration for her next novel.

But getting pregnant doesn’t always happen if you want it to, and as time goes by, their attachment surpasses anything she has bargained for, until Brooke starts questioning her secret project. Would he forgive her if she told him the truth? 

Then one night, Teppo's past catches up with him in the form of an old enemy seeking revenge and Brooke finds herself a main character of what could be one of her thrillers…

Pre-order Bleak Nights here:
Or join my (international) giveaway and win one of 30 free copies.

You might also want to read the previous books in the standalone series:

White Nights is currently FREE here:

Check out Dark Nights here:

About the Author:
Jenna van Berke loves Scandinavian mysteries, Nora Roberts, Margaret Atwood and everything in between.
Working in the hotel industry, Jenna has encountered innumerable honeymooners, cheating husbands and infatuated co-workers, providing her with ample inspiration for her romance and romantic suspense novels.
She moved to Finland several years ago with her husband and child.

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