Friday, September 25, 2020

Hell & Back

 With: Julie Rowe

I’m so excited to have Hell & Back in readers’ hands! This is the last book in the Outbreak

Task Force series and it’s going to be a rocky ride!

Racing to lock down the CDC's deadly virus samples from terrorists, ex-Special Forces medic Henry Lee partners with Ruby Toth on the Outbreak Task Force. But the terrorists always seem one step ahead. As they work side by side, Henry's taken with how Ruby accepts and respects him, instead of pitying him for all he lost overseas, including his leg. Ruby's hiding something, though, and Henry fears she's been leaking sensitive information.

Terrorists have kidnapped her brother, and now microbiologist Ruby Toth faces a horrible choice. If she doesn't give them a vial of Small Pox as ransom, her brother will die. She knows her prickly—yet very hot—boss, Henry, could provide the help she needs. But she joined the CDC to root out insiders plotting to unleash a bio-engineered pandemic, and she can't trust anyone. Not even Henry.

Chapter One

Sunday, May 5, 7:05 p.m.

“I feel like we’re playing a twisted version of that board game Clue,” Ruby Toth said to her family as she examined the list of names her father had just sent to her encrypted-up-the-wazoo phone for the impossible job her parents wanted her to do. Dinner eaten and pushed aside, her parents and her brother, Nate, all sat around the dining room table in the house Nate and she rented.

They were also looking at the same list with a variety of expressions on their faces.

Her mother’s mouth was pinched with irritation, while her father’s eyes had tightened in concern. Nate would have looked bored if his fingers weren’t tapping out a complicated rhythm on the table.

“Only the murder weapons are bombs, bullets, and biological pathogens,” she continued. “And if this list is correct, everyone is a suspect.”

“That’s an oversimplification of the situation,” Nate said, frowning at her. He never was one to pass up the chance for an argument, and Ruby was in the mood to give him one. If only to vent her frustration.

“The problem with finding terrorists and or spies embedded in an organization is that they’re good at deflecting suspicion,” her mother said. She should know—her mother was an analyst for the NSA, while her dad headed up the organization. They ate suspicion for breakfast, skepticism for lunch, and distrust for dinner. “The FBI and Homeland Security have supplied some information on their people’s movements, but we don’t entirely trust it. There have been too many times the Outbreak Task Force’s movements were not only tracked but anticipated by Free America From Oppression.”

The FAFO had already killed dozens of people and tried to start more than one outbreak of a deadly disease. They’d also targeted the CDC’s Outbreak Task Force, injuring and killing people as a result.

“This list represents all the people with access to, or knowledge of, the CDC’s activities,” her mother continued. “We’re not expecting you to investigate them all, but we need you to take a closer look.”

“I’d already eliminated some of the people on this list,” she said. “Why are they back on it?”

“Because information is still getting out,” her father said as he leaned forward. “The longer it takes to uncover everyone feeding the FAFO information,” he continued, “the more likely it is that they’ll do significant damage to the country and everyone in it.”

“How do you know the FAFO is still active?”

“One of our assets in Africa let us know they have put out a call for mercenaries who might have a grudge with the United States. He doesn’t know if anyone responded, but that alone tells us they’re not only active, but planning something substantial.”

“There are always assholes out there with grudges against the United States,” Nate said. “It’s practically written into the Constitution.”

Spying might be the family business, but how would her coworkers react if they found out she was looking for a traitor among them? Especially her mentor and supervisor at her new job, Henry Lee.

Acid ate away at Ruby’s gut. “I hate this,” she muttered. 

“Why?” her mother asked.

“Because I like my job. A lot.”

“Sweetheart, the only people who will be angry with you are the ones we’re trying to find.”

Ruby snorted. “Trust is a funny thing, Mother. I work with a few folks whose trust is hard to earn and impossible to repair if it’s broken.”

“Discovering a traitor in their midst would be doing them a service,” her dad said.

Ruby wanted to tear her hair out. “It’s not that cut-and-dried, Dad. Some of the people I work with were in the military, and they’ve got strong opinions about how a team is supposed to work.” Henry, in all his gruff, grumpy, gorgeous glory, was one of them. His team mentality was all for one and one for all. “My looking at them all as if they’re all guilty until proven innocent isn’t going to go over well.” If he found out he was on her list of suspects, she’d be on his shit list permanently.


Racing to lock down the CDC's deadly virus samples from terrorists, ex-Special Forces medic Henry Lee partners with Ruby Toth on the Outbreak Task Force. But the terrorists always seem one step ahead. As they work side by side, Henry's taken with how Ruby accepts and respects him, instead of pitying him for all he lost overseas, including his leg. Ruby's hiding something, though, and Henry fears she's been leaking sensitive information.

Terrorists have kidnapped her brother, and now microbiologist Ruby Toth faces a horrible choice. If she doesn't give them a vial of Small Pox as ransom, her brother will die. She knows her prickly—yet very hot—boss, Henry, could provide the help she needs. But she joined the CDC to root out insiders plotting to unleash a bio-engineered pandemic, and she can't trust anyone. Not even Henry.

Each book in the Outbreak Task Force series is STANDALONE:
* Viable Threat
* Smoke & Mirrors
* Sleight of Hand
* Search & Destroy
* Hell & Back


Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Giveaway Alert!

If you dare venture beyond Disney’s magic and Miami’s high-rises, you’ll find yourself in

Florida’s untamed wilderness…

When your heart’s involved…

A bush pilot and officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Josh Tanner is one of the tough cops needed to manage the rugged areas of Florida. And the minute he finds Delilah Atwood deep in the woods without a good explanation, he knows something is very wrong…

All the stakes are raised…

Delilah barely escaped her ultra-fundamental militia family years ago. Now she’s back to save her sixteen-year-old sister, and no government man is going to stop her. Josh isn’t going to stand by and watch Delilah risk her life, but unless he can get her to trust him, she may end up being the militia’s next victim.

CONNIE MANN is a licensed boat captain. When she’s not dreaming up plotlines, you’ll find “Captain Connie” on the waterways, introducing boatloads of schoolchildren to their first alligator. She and her husband live in central Florida just a stone’s throw from Ocala National Forest.

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I think I’m nearby. Shine a flashlight, call my name, I’ll find you.

Josh’s text sent a surge of relief through Delilah, and she sagged against the tree, eyes closed. “Oh thank God.” Seconds later, panic hit. Worried he would give up and leave before he found her, she scrambled to her feet, wincing as she accidentally put weight on her left foot. One hand braced against the tree trunk, she shouted his name, waving her flashlight over her head like a shipwreck survivor who’d finally spotted a Coast Guard vessel.

When he raced into the clearing, Delilah launched herself into his arms. He stumbled back a few steps before he caught his balance, wrapping her tightly in his arms, murmuring, “I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”

She pulled back to see his face, and suddenly, her lips met his—or his met hers, she couldn’t tell which—and they were kissing with the kind of desperation reserved for real shipwreck survivors. The kiss went on and on, sensations rushing over her faster than she could sort them out. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer still, nuzzling his neck, sighing as he murmured in her hair and placed soft kisses along her jaw. His grip shifted, and she realized her legs were wrapped around his waist after she’d climbed him like a tree. His hands cupped her bottom, and when she crossed her ankles to get closer still, she winced in pain.

The moment shattered, and he slowly pulled back. She blinked, dazed and not at all sure she wanted the kiss to end. His eyes said he felt the same, but even so, reason had reasserted itself. He brushed her lips once more, then steadied her as she unwrapped her legs and lowered them to the ground. She winced again when her injured ankle touched down. His grip on her waist tightened. “Easy. Go slow.”

With infinite care, he maneuvered her down against the tree, then crouched beside her. He ran his flashlight over her with crisp efficiency before he set it off to the side so it wouldn’t blind them. His touch was gentle as he tipped her head up so he could see her face. “Are you okay? Which ankle?”

She met his concerned gaze. “Left one. And I’m fine. Nothing much injured except my pride.” She couldn’t believe she’d launched herself at him. “Sorry I, ah, overreacted.”

One side of his mouth curved upward. “The forest can be unsettling at night.” Then his grin widened. “But feel free to overreact anytime you want.”

They grinned at each other like idiots for a minute before she remembered she had to keep her distance. But dang, the man could kiss. He removed her boot, and the sharp pain jerked her back to the present. He ran his big hands from her calf all the way to her toes, then carefully rotated her ankle, and she bit her lip to keep from crying out. When he was done, he gently slid her foot back into the boot, tucking the laces inside rather than tying them, since it was already starting to swell.

“The good news is I don’t think it’s broken.” He sent her the lopsided smile that turned her insides to mush. “The bad news is that I don’t think you’re going to be able to walk on it.”

“How far away is your truck?” she asked.

“Not too far if you have two good legs.” He stood and held out his hands to help her to her feet. The moment she was upright, he pulled her into his arms and wrapped her securely against his hard chest again. “I’m so glad you weren’t hurt worse.”

He kissed her again, gently this time, and Delilah slid into the kiss like a warm bath. She absorbed the strength of his arms around her and the beat of his heart thundering against her chest, feeling cherished and protected in a way she never had before. Slowly, reluctantly, she pulled back, and their eyes met and held, awareness buzzing between them like an electrical current. The heat in his eyes sent a low hum through her body. It buzzed through her a split second before he slapped at a mosquito on her cheek. She yelped in surprise, and he grinned. “Sorry. Bloodthirsty little buggers. Let’s get out of here.”

Keeping one of her hands in his, he turned his back and crouched. “Climb on. I’ll carry you back to my truck.”

Delilah was shaking her head no before he finished speaking. “You can’t carry me. I’m way too heavy.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Are you doubting my manly strength?”

The absurdity surprised a laugh out of her. “I would never doubt your manly strength, Officer Tanner.”

“Then climb on, and let’s get out of here already.” He crouched lower. “And stop calling me Officer Tanner.”

Since she didn’t have much choice at this point, Delilah gingerly climbed on. He scooped her up, piggyback style, and set off into the forest. He spun her around a few times as he walked, singing an off-key version of the seven dwarves song. “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s through the woods we go,” then he whistled the rest, making up words here and there.

Delilah laughed and attempted, badly, to sing along, appreciating his attempt to distract her from her throbbing ankle. She took her cue from him and decided to enjoy the ride, the feel of her arms wrapped around his neck, his rock-hard arms supporting her as he strolled through the forest as though she weighed nothing. She was used to thinking her way through life, but with Josh, she was learning to simply enjoy the moment.


Excerpted from Beyond Power by Connie Mann. © 2020 by Connie Mann. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Real or Fake: Creating Settings in Romantic Suspense Fiction

Congratulations to "Elizabeth H.", the winner in Jacki's giveaway!

In one of the scenes from my upcoming military bodyguard romance, Mission: Impossible to Protect, the characters are on the run from members of a dangerous drug cartel. When deciding where they would hide out, the storyline took me to New York City. I then had to decide where they would keep a low profile.

Many times, people on the run hide out in dingy hotels with shady people lurking in the lobby. I decided to shake things up and have Danni and Lars take refuge in an upscale hotel. No reason to sacrifice comfort for safety, right?

Well, their safe haven is compromised, and Danni ends up being kidnapped from the hotel spa. 

As I wrote the scene, I had to decide whether or not to create a fictional NYC hotel or use a real hotel as the setting.

For me, the decision was easy. I believe readers connect to setting just as much as they connect to characters. Using real locations creates instant recognition in readers who may be familiar with the city, attraction, landmarks, or locale. Using an iconic location like the Eiffel Tower or Waikiki Beach or the Seattle Space Needle enables readers to immerse themselves more deeply into the story because it provides a visual.

Since I’ve visited The Carlyle in New York, that is the setting I chose for my scene. If you aren’t familiar with this magnificent location, let me share a few highlights:

o The hotel was designed by architectural firm Bien & Prince and named in honor of British essayist Thomas Carlyle. It was completed in 1931.

o The style of décor is Art Deco.

o Every American president since Truman has visited The Carlyle.

o The 2018 documentary Always at the Carlyle features interviews with Carlyle patrons such as George Clooney, Sofia Coppola, Tommy Lee Jones, Anjelica Huston, and others.


For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me if you prefer fictional settings or real-life 

Here’s a short snippet from Mission: Impossible to Protect, releasing 10.20.20.

Hugging the backstage wall, Danni Knorr crept in the shadows, her SIG tucked into her skirt and her flashlight in her hand. The only light in the wings came from the red exit sign. The band’s frenetic sound matched her heartbeat as it raced to its own crazy-ass rhythm. Espionage beat the hell of spending the day in a biochemistry/physics lab. Undercover as rock star Alex Hardy’s bodyguard, she had discovered a new high. Like drinking expensive French champagne, she got off on danger.

This was a new thing. Before she’d been kidnapped, Danni had never thought about her body more than keeping in shape and healthy. Had never thought of holding a gun, let alone buying one and practicing with targets weekly. Had never realized just how many threats were out there and how little she’d been able to do to save herself.

Honing her body into a fighting machine with Krav Maga had been the first step of taking charge after she had been kidnapped. Then she’d taken classes on tactical awareness. She’d read up on the FBI and various police trainings. She’d even thought about joining the Jenkins Security agency, but Nick Jenkins had turned her down because of her lack of experience. At least he’d been honest with her.

The final step in her “recovery” was ownership of her pleasure. Sex with the famous super stud Alex Hardy was to be the ultimate statement of her proclaimed freedom. She hadn’t yet made up her mind whether to seduce him.

Right now, acting only as his bodyguard suited her perfectly. Guarding the musician after discovering that he was being stalked had been serendipitous. Ever since Jax—the Jerk—her fiancé had left her at the altar for a young woman with more sexual enthusiasm and experience than she had—or so he’d been happy to tell her—Danni had been unable to bite the bullet. There was only one man who’d tempted her to open up and be vulnerable as well as passionate, and sadly, it wasn’t Alex, no matter how much she tried to persuade herself to give him a chance.

About Jacki’s upcoming release ~ Mission: Impossible to Protect

She’s a nerd turned ninja…

Working as a top-secret biochemist, Danni Knorr was kidnapped and almost killed by terrorists who wanted her research. After narrowly escaping with her life, she vowed never to be a victim again. To confront her fears, Danni becomes the kind of woman no one dare mess with, learning martial arts and firearms. She’s traded in her lab coat for a holster, working as a kickass personal bodyguard for a famous rock star. But she’s in way over her head when she stumbles onto drug cartel business—business that could get her killed.

He’s a bad boy hiding a broken heart...

Lars Jenkins is the Spec. Ops Marine rescued Danni when she was kidnapped. In the months that have passed since then, he can't get her out of his head. While she’s hot as hell, she is trouble with a capital T. The woman attracts danger like a magnet—a sexy magnet, which is why Lars stays away from her. He was hurt once and won’t allow it to happen again. But when a friend calls in a favor, Lars finds himself helping Danni once more and the chemistry between them is more explosive than ever.

Stuck together again, the two decide maybe mixing pleasure with business isn’t the worst thing that could happen. The worst thing would be getting killed by the drug cartel hunting them.


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About Jacki Delecki

Jacki Delecki is a USA Today bestselling romantic suspense writer. Delecki’s Grayce Walters Series, which chronicles the adventures of a Seattle animal acupuncturist, was an editor’s selection by USA Today. Delecki’s Romantic Regency The Code Breaker Series hit number one on Amazon. For more information, visit

To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about giveaways join her newsletter found on her website. Follow her on FB at Jacki Delecki; Twitter @jackidelecki.





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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Blind Trust

Congratulations to "Patricia B.", the winner in Debra's giveaway!

I love writing romantic suspense and I’m thrilled to be writing in Elle James Brotherhood Protectors world. I’ve been reading Elle’s books since her first came out and we’ve been friends for years. It wasn’t long until Three C’s Ranch came into my imagination as my world within her world was born.

Three C’s Ranch, aka the Courage and Confidence Center for Women, is a place where women who have been attacked and abused go to learn skills to survive and thrive. Books set at the center are, Defensive Instructor; Montana Protector; Blind Trust; and A Triple C Ranch Christmas Wedding. The next book, Montana Delta Rescue, will be out Oct. 13th. With each new book, I tell another woman’s story of how she moves from surviving to thriving and finds a happy ever after with the love of her life.

Blind Trust

Blinded by a bad date, Cecelia lives and works on a ranch that helps victims of domestic abuse. All she wants is to stay on the ranch, a place where she can find her way around in her perpetual darkness. She has no intention of dating again, especially not Marine Force Recon veteran, Brian “Barbie” Ken, even if his voice is so sexy it makes her knees weak.

Assigned to protect the patrons and workers at the ranch, Brian is fascinated by everything about Cecelia and has made it his life’s mission to take her out on a date. She might be the biggest challenge of his life. Convincing her to leave the ranch will take more than smooth talking after an ill-fated date robbed her of her eyesight. It will take Blind Trust on her part to go out again.

When her cousin ends up in the hospital in San Diego, Cecelia is desperate to visit. Brian offers to drive her. Cecelia agrees to go, taking a leap of faith to leave her familiar surroundings. When a sex trafficker kidnaps Cecelia from the hospital, Brian crosses the border into Mexico to rescue her and bring her home.

Excerpt from Blind Trust:
The fire alarms are going off,” Sam said. “I can see one flashing. But I don’t see any smoke or fire. I’ll call the nurse.”

Someone entered the room and a man’s voice said, “No, don’t call. Everyone will be calling the nurses’ station. They’re busy. The nurses can’t be everywhere.”

His hand closed over Cecelia’s arm. “Come with me,” he said in a calm voice.

“Who are you?” she asked, her voice rising in fear.

“I’m a doctor,” he said.

“It’s okay,” Sam said. “He’s a doctor. Go with him.”

“What about you?” Cecelia asked, looking toward Sam. She put her hand on the doctor’s arm. “We need to get her out of here!”

The man put pressure on her arm, urging her away, toward the door. “The orderly is coming with a gurney to get your friend, and he’ll take her out. Come with me. We have to take the stairs, and I’ll help you down them.” ….

….. He said, “I see an empty bench over there. Come on, I’ll get you seated, and then you’ll have to wait while I go help get the others out.”

She moved where he wanted her to, and then he let go of her and stepped away.

Cecelia turned her head right and then left, listening. The only thing she heard was traffic.
Where am I? Where did he go? And where was that bench he was talking about?

She reached out her hands and found only air.

Now what?

She needed her cane. And it was too quiet here. There were no people that she could hear. There was only traffic.

“Hello?” she called, not even knowing the doctor’s name.

In their hurry to get out of the building, she hadn’t thought to ask.

No one answered, but a vehicle pulled up near her. She reached out with her foot, trying to feel where the curb was, as the vehicle sounded close.

Someone stepped behind her. Suddenly, a man’s hand was on her mouth ……

Available on  Amazon & Barnes & Noble & Walmart

About the Author:

Author Debra Parmley believes "Every day we are alive is a beautiful day," and she likes to give her readers and her story people a story with a happy ending.

An Air Force veteran's wife, Debra is most known for writing military romantic suspense. She also writes contemporary romance, historical romance, dystopian romance, holiday romance, fairy tales, fantasy, and poetry. All of her stories contain some element of suspense.

Founder of Shimmy Mob Memphis, a chapter of Shimmy Mob international, an organization that raises funds for local domestic abuse shelters around the world, Debra is a retired belly dancer. Several of her books feature belly dancer heroines.

A world traveler, Debra often brings home folk tales and music from countries she has visited and has sold travel and set foot in over thirteen countries. She married her high sweetheart, whom she asked out after a five-dollar bet, and she and her husband, after living in five states with two sons, have lived for over 23 years just outside Memphis, TN.

Five of her favorite things are shooting primitive archery with her Mongolian horse bow, shooting long guns, shooting pool, walking on a sandy beach, and hearing from her readers. Each card and letter is a joyful treasure, like finding that perfect shell on the beach.

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I’m giving away one eBook of your choice from my books in the Brotherhood Protectors Series (Elle James world) to one lucky winner.

Giveaway ends 11:59 pm EST September 20th.
Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Saying good-bye with a 99¢ sale!

First, I want to thank Maureen for giving us the Just Romantic Suspense blog for all these years. I know it’s been a huge commitment of time and effort, but we are extremely grateful to her for introducing us to so many wonderful romantic suspense authors and their books. Maureen should be very proud of her awesome accomplishment!

Since this will be my last JRS post, I’m happy that I can say good-bye with a 99¢ sale. Forever Romance currently has FOUR of my romantic thrillers on sale for only 99¢ each, so you can read ALL of them for less than the cost of a latte.

If I’m new to you, here’s a brief introduction to my stories. My romantic thrillers are published by Forever Romance in two series. FBI Heat is more traditional with a team of sexy FBI agents solving high-risk cases. Rogue Security is edgier with unusual plots and shocking endings. Both series include plenty of R-rated, heartfelt romance. All my books are full-length, stand-alone novels. Enjoy the entire FBI Heat series for < $3 and the Rogue Security series for < $5. Happy reading!

RISKY REDEMPTION (Rogue Security #1)

When the trail leads Jake Stone into the carnal underbelly of L.A., the truth is more shocking than he could ever imagine.

HUNTED (FBI Heat #1)

Hot agents on explosive cases!
What's it like to be HUNTED?

 Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Apple


Ripped from the headlines…so close to reality…
Can an ex-SEAL and a kick-ass FBI agent stop the unthinkable?

 Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Apple

WANTED (FBI Heat #3)
Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense

When catastrophe threatens, will Kat and Dillon put the past behind them to save the day and get their second chance at love?

Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Apple

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