Saturday, January 22, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Find the Girl


The tent door flutters in the warm breeze, opening towards the silent woods beyond. A silk eye mask lies on top of the empty sleeping bag, blood-red spots ruining the cream fabric…

When a woman disappears from Forest Pines campsite, Detective Morgan Brookes scrambles a search party. Sara Fletcher has never missed a lunch date with her best friend and when Morgan finds a large rip in Sara’s tent, she knows that something terrible must have happened. About to lose hope after hours combing through the acres of dense forest, the excited bark of a tracker dog leads Morgan to female remains, partially covered by leaves and dirt – but the bones don’t belong to Sara.

Morgan trawls through missing persons files until she finds three cold cases with chilling similarities – three other victims dating back twenty years who were taken from campsites while they slept, by a killer the police called the Travelling Man. The post-mortems indicate he kept them alive for 72 hours, meaning every second is crucial to find Sara alive.

Morgan’s team is terrified that this twisted murderer has returned. But Morgan also can’t ignore the fact that a merciless killer from her own past has recently escaped from prison… Could they be chasing the wrong man? If she’s correct, how deep will she have to dig to save Sara and other innocent women like her before time runs out for them all?

A completely unputdownable, heart-in-your-mouth crime thriller. Fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Rachel Abbott will be glued to the page!

Title:   Find the Girl
Author: Helen Phifer
Series:  Detective Morgan Brookes #5
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Mystery & Thrillers 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   265
Date of Publication:   January 19, 2022
My Rating:   4 Stars

Why did a campsite owner give Sara Fletcher a obscure location? Did that factor in to her disappearance? What is more is that when Detective Morgan Brookes begins her investigation, she quickly discovers blood that proves that something dreadful has happened. Will Sara be found alive? At first Morgan is nervous when a tracker dog discovers female remains. However, the remains prove decades old, leaving Morgan with hope that they just might have a chance to find Sara.

Why are remains in the same dense forest where Sara went missing? Could there be a connection? Determined to find answers, Morgan starts with digging into cold cases, looking for said possible connection. She does indeed find a case from twenty years ago where the kidnapping and murder at least three victims happened at campsites. Why now if the cases are connected?

Meanwhile, Morgan is more than bothered that someone from her own past has escaped from prison recently. Not sure if this is the same person they are now looking for, but Morgan cannot help but be concerned. 

Find the Girl is the enthralling fifth book in the Detective Morgan Brookes series. With exceptional characterization and a thrilling story, this book was impossible to put down. I have loved this book from the beginning, with One Left Alive being the exciting start to a compelling series. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingals Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, her children and grandchildren, her friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.

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Friday, January 21, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Love at First Spite

Title:  Love at First Spite
Author Anna E. Collins
Publisher:  Graydon House
Genre:  Romance 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   320
Date of Publication:   January 4, 2022
My Rating:   4 Stars

In this delightful, breezy romcom, interior designer Dani decides to get revenge on her cheating ex the only way she knows how: by building a spite house next door.

They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancĂ©’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.

That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on- and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…

Chemistry and building a tiny home are two things that bring Dani Porter into a growing relationship with Wyatt Montego. Dani's motives are not pure. In fact, miffed at her cheating ex, she maneuvers a new build right next to his home. Wyatt is an architect and ends up being the best man for the job. How will Dani and Wyatt get along, especially as their attraction proves impossible to resist?

Also, what of Dani's feelings about her ex-fiancĂ©? Will this new build give Dani the closure she needs or will she find herself overrun by confusing feelings, nevermind the complications that come along with a new build? Meanwhile, what about Wyatt? Is he all business as he seems or will Dani be able to push crack the armor that surrounds his heart?

All while the build goes on it becomes all too clear that Dani is more than drawn to Wyatt. This is an easy, entertaining read from beginning to end. I loved the story of revenge being turned into mch more as the enemies to lovers trope is a fun one to read.

Many thanks to Graydon House and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
Chapter 1

My white dress trails me as we make our way across the small clearing to where the others are waiting. The heavy fabric rustles against the ground, a few leaves catching in the hem, but I ignore them, concentrating instead on what’s ahead. All eyes are on me.

“Are you sure?” my cousin Mia asks at my elbow. My partner in crime.

I glance her way. I’m nervous, but I don’t want to be, and the simmering excitement in her expression reassures me. This is the right choice.

“Hundred percent,” I say.

She smiles and squeezes my hand. “You’ll rock this, I know it.” She lets go and steps away to assume her position with a wink. “See you on the other side.”

Then it begins.

I take off at a sprint. The paintball arena is at least a football field in size and strewn with steel drums, crates, and sandbags. A few larger structures in the middle resemble a small-scale Old West town complete with porches and a saloon sign. The guys Mia and I’ve been teamed up with run that way, while she and I head for the trees along the sides. The large pines tower stoically above the fray, and I choose one of the largest trunks for my first cover.

“Did everyone else go the other way?” I call out to Mia but get no response. Wasn’t she behind me?

I peer around the trunk only to catch the whisp of her braid beneath her helmet as she dives for shelter by a tree trunk twenty yards in front of me.

“Don’t be a baby, Porter,” I chastise myself, before following her. It’s a thirty-minute game of most-hits-win, so she’s got the right idea: it’s go time.

As fast as my skirts allow, I jog in the direction of the rapid pops and ka-splats of active battle, paintball gun at the ready. The staff told me I’d be at a disadvantage playing in my wedding dress, and they had a good point. But then again, I didn’t come here expecting to leave in virginal white.

I barely get my finger on the trigger before two shots in succession hit me squarely in the chest, and a green stain blooms before me. It hurts less than I anticipated, but I still freeze too long and another round easily finds my shoulder. Blue paint drips off the white lace of my sleeve.

Oh yeah? That’s how it’s going to be?

Something akin to glee bubbles up my chest and I let out a loud cackle. All righty, then. Shouldering my gun, I aim at the culprit—some kid a full foot shorter than me— and one, two, three splotches of paint hit his belly.

“Yeah!” I shout, as he hightails off. Adrenaline pumps through my arms.

“Dani, over here!” Mia runs sideways behind me from the cover of a fake building to a stack of boxes. “I’ll shield you.”

Yeah right. She already looks like she’s wrestled with a rainbow.

I consider darting the opposite way, to a smattering of hay bales, but Mia sounds increasingly desperate. I hike up my skirts and do my best to make myself small before jumping to safety next to her.

Back up against the boxes, I peek around the corner. “Two of them,” I say, still breathing hard. “On my mark.” I count down with my fingers and, on three, we spring out, guns leveled at opponents who don’t see us coming. I’m a vengeful angel, gliding through the sky—at least that’s what I picture until my toe catches the hem of my dress and I stumble forward into a mouthful of dirty straw.

“Take that!” Mia shouts from a distance, accompanied by a fresh round of shots volleying through the air.

“What the fuck?” a deep voice yells out.

Another voice: “We’re on the same fucking team.”

I lift my face off the ground. Mia is backing up toward me, pursued by our imagined foe who’s indeed wearing the same beat-up Timberlands I spotted on our teammates earlier.

It’s fair to say they’re about as excited to be paired with us as my taste buds are about the straw. I spit out the horse fodder and push myself up.

“We should have never teamed up with them,” the first guy complains. “That one wants to get hit, and this one…” He gestures at Mia.

She exhales as if he’s punched her.

“What?” I say, moving to stand between him and my cousin. “This one, what?”

“Dude, come on,” the second guy says. “Let’s just play.”

“Well she’s not exactly agile, is she?” guy number one sneers.

“Ha, that’s funny.” I bob my head a few times and train my gun on him. “What do you think, Mia?”

She appears at my side. “I think someone’s about to get pummeled.”

His eyebrows jerk behind his protective goggles, but that’s all he manages before we shoot.

And shoot again.

Who needs a team? The sight of them running away is totally worth losing for.

Excerpted from Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins, Copyright © 2022 by Anna E. Collins. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.


Anna E. Collins is a Seattle-area author who writes stories about the lives and loves of women. Once upon a time she was a teacher, and she has a master’s degree in educational psychology. LOVE AT FIRST SPITE is her first novel.

Social Links:
Twitter: @AEC_Writer
Facebook: @aecollinsbooks
Instagram: @aeccreates

BLOG TOUR - Falling for the Baldasseri Prince


Two feuding families…
one redeeming love. 

Vet Francesca has started a new life in the Baldasseri’s kingdom. But she’s hiding a sensational secret—she’s really a Visconti princess! And the Viscontis have been feuding with the Baldasseris for generations… When handsome Prince Vincenzo Baldasseri brings his dog in for treatment, there is a powerful connection between them from the get-go! Dare Francesca reveal the truth? And is their love strong enough to overcome all their obstacles?


Title:   Falling for the Baldasseri Prince
Author:  Rebecca Winters
Publisher:  Harlequin Romance
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   256
Date of Publication:   January 25, 2022
My Rating:  4 Stars 

Francesca is about to treat Prince Vincenzo Baldasseri's precious dog. As a vet, she intends on things being strictly business. However, she finds herself more than drawn to the handsome prince. There are two strong reasons that she cannot even think of acting on it. For one thing, he is engaged - to her cousin. More importantly, she is actually a Visconti princess and the two families have been feuding for decades.

It doesn't take Francesca and Vincenzo long to realize how very much they like one another. In fact, when Vincenzo reveals that his engagement was called off - and that it was an arranagement that did not include personal feelings - Francesca's resolve to resist her growing feelings weaken. However, how will they get past the feud that neither of their families intends on letting go?

This clean romance story of forbidden love showed two hearts destined to be together. both finding a way to overcome the obstacles facing them. This enjoyable story was a quick read from start to finish, with a lovely tale of love that did indeed bring two families together.

Many thanks to Harlequin Romance and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:

Much as he’d wanted to take her to a restaurant, he didn’t want to create publicity until the news of his broken engagement had circulated and died down. For now, this kind of excursion would have to do. Despite saying goodbye to Karl, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this relaxed and happy. She’d made all the difference.

Once he’d driven her to the apartment complex, he shut off the engine and turned to her. “I want to thank you for helping me get through this day.”

“To be honest, it helped me too,” came her unexpected response without looking at him. “I find I’m attached to all my patients, especially ones that look like my last dog. Karl headed the list. Daniel says I need to toughen up, but I have a feeling there’s no cure for it.”

Every word out of her mouth enchanted him. He had to see her again. “Since you told me Daniel asked you to watch some videos on the Biosphere Reserve, I thought you might be interested in meeting the biologist who used to work with Dr. Zenger. The conservation board is meeting Tuesday evening at the information center here in Zernez. The chief ranger of the park will be speaking.”

“I would absolutely love it!” she exclaimed without hesitation. “I was envious when Daniel told me Dr. Zenger helped take care of some of the animals up there. What time does this meeting start and I’ll drive over.”

“Seven o’clock. The information center consists of three buildings. The meeting will take place in the Planta-Wildenberg castle. I’ll look for you there.”

“Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity, and for the dinner.” She started to get out of the car.

“It was my pleasure. See you there.”

He waited until he could see she was safely inside her apartment, then he left for home with a new excitement. Only three more days before he saw her again.


Rebecca Winters lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. With canyons and high alpine meadows full of wildflowers, she never runs out of places to explore. They, plus her favourite vacation spots in Europe, often end up as backgrounds for her romance novels because writing is her passion, along with her family and church. Rebecca loves to hear from readers. If you wish to e-mail her, please visit her website at:

Thursday, January 20, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Christmas Vendetta


Is she a mistaken target…or next on an enemy’s hit list? 

Sandy Lynn Forrester's Christmas holiday takes a terrifying turn when someone breaks into her home and attacks her roommate…thinking it's her. But no one believes that an imprisoned man from Sandy Lynn's past is behind the attacks—except for her high school heartbreak, ex-cop Clay Danforth. Can she trust Clay to keep her safe in the Ozark wilderness long enough to stop a ruthless criminal’s vengeance?

Title:   Christmas Vendetta
Author:  Valerie Hansen
Series:  Emergency Responders #4
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
Genre:   Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   November 30, 2021
My Rating:  4 Stars 

Sandy Lynn Forrester and Clay Danforth knew each other as teenagers. Although they had romantic feelings for one another, Clay joined the Air Force and at some point Sandy Lynn eloped with a man named Charles Hood. The marriage was a disaster as Charles was extremely violent. Violent to the point that Sandy Lynn eventually found the strength to press charges and Charles was imprisoned. At this point in time, Sandy Lynn's roommate Enid was attacked while sleeping and it soon becomes evident that Sandy Lynn herself was the intended target.

Sandy Lynn is torn. For starters, she is in a state of constant worry while Enid is recovering in the hospital. Clay is now the neighbor to Sandy Lynn and Enid and heard the commotion. Clay was able to save Sandy Lynn after she tried to stop the attack on Enid. As a former policeman, Clay easily displays enough authority to scare the attacker off. However, as things start to unfold it is soon discovered that Clay was indeed once a policeman but left the force due to being falsely accused. Although he does not have official capacity he is determined to stick by Sandy Lynn, especially when it seems Enid's attacker is determined to get to Sandy Lynn one way or another.

Although I am new to this series, this book did perfectly well as a standalone novel. I had no trouble connecting to the characters and to the story itself. The obstacles facing Clay and Sandy Lynn were addressed, all while their feelings for one another began to grow. I would like to read the next book in this series as this one was a quick read.

Many thanks to Love Inspired Suspense and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
Excerpt, CHRISTMAS VENDETTA by Valerie Hansen

The lack of explanation from Clay caused her to glance over at him. Instead of paying attention to her, he was frowning and looking in the car mirrors.

Sandy Lynn whipped around as far as her seat belt would allow. Since the snow had stopped, more people had ventured outside, evidently to take advantage of the respite. The street was crowded. “What? What do you see?”

“Probably nothing.”

“Okay,” she drawled, “then why are you making scary faces?”

“I’m not.” Clay flashed her a lopsided smile. “This is my normal face.”

“Maybe it’s the black-and-blue eye socket that makes you look odd,” she said, not believing that excuse for an instant.

Again he stayed silent. She felt the car begin to accelerate. The tires slipped in the slushy street, and they fishtailed several times before Clay got it under control.

“Okay. That does it. What is going on?”

“We’re being followed,” Clay said as he sped up, sliding again and again. “I’m heading for the police station.”

“Finally, something that makes sense.” Bracing with her left hand on the dash, her right gripping the over-the-door assist handle, Sandy Lynn did her best to anchor herself on the seat.

Clay turned corner after corner until she was unsure of their position. “I thought you said—”

A hard smack jolted her car and snapped her head back against the support at the top of the seat. She wanted to shout orders at him, to tell him how to get them out of this situation, but truth to tell, she didn’t have a clue.

Prayer would be good, she reasoned, if she had the words to pray or knew what to ask for.

Survival leaped into her thoughts as she called out wordlessly to her heavenly Father.

The car was hit again. Clay righted it.

A harder smash followed quickly.

Clay hollered, “Hang on!”

They went airborne, diving nose-first into a drainage ditch.

Sandy Lynn saw his head snap forward just as the airbag engulfed him. The passenger side of the dated vehicle was not equipped with crash protection, so the seat belt was the only thing keeping her from flying through the shattering windshield.

Breathless and shocked, she just sat there, wondering if this was as bad as it was going to get or if their pursuers were going to stop to finish them off. E


Valerie Hansen resides in the rural Ozarks where she writes the books of her heart, primarily for Love Inspired Romance and Suspense. She is married to her childhood sweetheart and has worked as a teacher's-aide, EMT, fire dept. dispatcher, dog breeder, commercial artist, dulcimer builder, Veterinarian's asst., 4-H leader, Sunday School teacher, antique restorer and certified Storm Spotter, etc. See for more!

BLOG TOUR - Buried Cold Case Secrets


Recovering her missing memories could be the key to solving a murder. 

Searching for her best friend’s remains could help forensic anthropologist Melanie Hutton regain her memories of when they were both kidnapped—unless the killer gets to Melanie first. For her safety, Melanie must rely on Detective Jason Cooper, who still blames her for his sister’s death. Can Jason set the past aside to solve the cold-case murder…and shield Melanie from the same fate?


Title:   Buried Cold Case Secrets
Author:  Sami A. Abrams
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
Genre:   Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   December 28, 2021
My Rating   5 Stars

Melanie Hutton is a forensic anthropoligist who has been thrown together with detective Jason Cooper due to difficult circumstances. In their quest for love they have quite a bit to overcome. Not only is Melanie's struggling memory a huge hurdle, but as things start to work out both of them must navigate feelings of hurt, anger and resentment. Can they let those feelings go long enough in order to develop a foundation of forgiveness and love?

As Melanie struggles to settle into Valley Springs after being away for many years, she is determined to solve the cold case of her best friend's murder. However, there are a lot of things about the events of those times that Melanie simply cannot remember. What she does remember is the grief, the pain, the loss. As Melanie tries digging into the case, an attempt on her life is made, leaving Jason responsible for protecting her. However, he was also the brother of Melanie's best friend and Jason still blames Melanie for his sister's death.

The clash between Jason and Melanie has a lot of ebbs and falls. On the one hand, the killer is quite bold and refuses to let Melanie out of his crosshairs. Thus Jason is forced to stick even closer to her, all while dealing with feelings of resentment. However, the quandary is that Jason and Melanie are drawn to one another even despite the ever-present danger and long ago feelings of mistrust.

What is Melanie missing and will she be able to remember enough details in time to help the killer be caught before it is too late for her? Will Jason be able to remove the negative feelings he is fighting and allow himself to accept his tender feelings for Melanie?

What a riveting book! Utterly impossible to put down. Action, suspense and romance make for a wonderful blend in this exciting story.

Many thanks to and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
Excerpt, BURIED COLD CASE SECRETS by Sami A. Abrams

“Does it still hurt?”

She jumped.

“Didn’t mean to startle you. Guess I have a habit of doing that.” Jason rested against the neighboring tree.

Several deep breaths later, she forced a smile. “It’s okay.”

He narrowed his gaze and studied her a moment. “Well? Does it?”

“A little.” Truthfully, a lot, but Jason didn’t need to know that. “I, uh, wanted to thank you for watching out for me today.”

“Just doing my job.” The muscles in his neck and shoulders tensed.

“We both know it’s more than that.” She wiped her hand down her face. “Jason. We’re going to be working together for the foreseeable future. Do you think we can call a truce, at least while we do our jobs?”

His jaw twitched, and he remained silent.

She’d asked a lot, but the strain between them had to stop. She watched him for a few minutes then shook her head.

“Never mind.” She pushed from the trunk and limped to the hole in the ground. Her lead-filled heart threatened to drop to her feet. To think that fifteen years ago, she’d had a crush on him. He’d teased her and Allison, but he’d never allowed others to speak unkind words to them. If only she could return to those carefree days. The days before she had died on the inside and her friend had died for real.

Someday, Allison, I’ll find your body. I promise.

She swiped the wetness from her cheeks and lowered herself into the grave. The movement mimicked her mood. She picked up her trowel and searched for more bones.

An hour later, Melanie’s headache had become unbearable, causing her stomach to roil. Just what she needed, to lose her lunch in front of Jason. Scanning the grave, she spotted the paintbrush she used for delicate work. She grasped the handle, but dropped it. She tried again, but her fingers refused to cooperate. Her eyelids grew heavy. Something was off. She sat on the edge of the hole.

“Jason, help.” Her words were slurred. She struggled to stay upright. The trees in front of her blurred and swayed.

He kneeled down and came face-to-face with her. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know.”

“Help me out here. What’s the last thing you did?”

“I—I…” She struggled against the gray cloud jumbling her thoughts. “Took a break a while ago. Only digging since.”

His gaze flew to a spot behind her.

She wilted into him. Her vision tunneled, and darkness closed in.

“Keith! Grab the cooler and her bag!”

Jason’s frantic voice registered, but her body had shut down.

His warm arms lifted her. Her head bobbed and landed on his shoulder.

Her cheek bounced against his chest in cadence with the pounding of his feet on the path.

His rhythmic breathing was the last thing she heard before the world went dark.


Two-time Genesis winner Sami A. Abrams and her husband live in Northern California, but she’ll always be a Kansas girl at heart. She enjoys visiting her two grown children and spoiling their sweet fur babies. Most evenings, if Sami’s not watching sports, you’ll find her engrossed in a romantic suspense novel. She thinks a crime plus a little romance is the recipe for a great story. Visit her at 

BLOG TOUR - New Year Kiss With His Cinderella


From a midnight kiss…to a reunion in the ER! 

When Dr. Carter shares a New Year's kiss with a captivating stranger, he doesn't expect a reunion. Then he walks into Saint Dolores’s ER the very next day…and discovers she’s his new colleague! Awkwardly, their smoking-hot attraction hasn’t gone away! But for Carter, life has meant staying mobile, and he can’t simply lay down roots. Yet there’s something about Nurse Avery and Nashville that’s starting to really feel like home.


Title:   New Year Kiss With His Cinderella
Author:   Annie O'Neil
Series:  Nashville ER #1
Publisher:  Harlequin Medical Romance
Genre:  Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   256
Date of Publication:   December 28, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

Avery is a nurse and she gets the kiss of her life when the ball drops at New Year's. Although she is sure to never forget the kiss, she certainly never expected to meet the sexy tranger again. However, when Dr. Carter shows up in her ER, those strong feelings soon will not be able to be denied. However, they both have baggage and despite their super strong attraction, one that simply cannot be denied, Carter has very sensitive circumstances that pretty much negates any chance at a happy ending between them. Avery has her own issues and it is those very issues that led to her first meeting with Carter. 

How can the pair deal with their attraction on a professional level while at the hospital, all while navigating difficult personal circumstances? That is what readers will discover in this highly emotional story. In fact, it was the story that was secondary to the brewing romance that really snagged my attention. I love how this story dealt with serious illness as well as family drama, and how everything was able to be resolved in a more than believable manner. This is one of those stories where it was more than easy to become emotionally invested in the characters. This sensitive medical romance was an excellent first book in what promises to be an endearing series.

Many thanks to Harlequin Medical Romance and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:

“You’re that confident, are you?” she asked, her tongue dipping out for a quick swipe along her lips.

She was warming to him. Good.

The guy who’d climbed on the bull after her had been thrown off and someone else was climbing on. Carter would glue himself to the bull if that’s what it took to stay on the longest. But it wouldn’t take that. Back in Texas, he’d called his riding paying the bills. His sister had called it sheer stupidity. They’d both been right.

“Never met a bull who didn’t take to my winning personality.” He tipped the brim of his hat to her.

Her eyes didn’t leave his. “If you win my money, I’m not taking it.”

“And I’m not letting you walk away empty-handed.”

She frowned. “I guess you’d better come up with something else, then. I don’t steal prizes that aren’t mine.”

He held his hands out, then ran them alongside his body. “Apart from my guitar, this is the only other thing I’ve got on offer.”

He wasn’t actually broke. He wasn’t a thief, either. That role in the family was already taken.

A loud roar from the crowd filled the air as another contender climbed aboard the longhorn.

She tilted her head to the side, and he took the few moments she was assessing him to do the same. Skin that looked so soft there probably wasn’t a thread count high enough for it. A body that rocked the hell out of her double-denim getup. A pair of cowboy boots that definitely weren’t just for show. Goddamn she was sexy.

“Well, then,” she said. “I guess you’d better get on up there and show me what you got.” When she met his gaze, he was pretty sure he wasn’t only seeing neon lights flaring in her eyes.

She put out her mittened hand. They were going to shake on it, apparently.

Carter smiled. Progress. She liked him, too. Enough to want to see him show his stuff atop a mechanical bull anyway. Maybe she merely wanted a good laugh. Either way, he could work with that. Not that he’d be seeing her again, but…it was New Year’s Eve. The bit of him that believed in destiny, that hoped that fate wasn’t something only poets spoke of, wanted her appearance in his life to signify something more than a chance meeting. Yet another moment in time that would slip through his fingers when reality reared its head and cut things short. Again.

It surprised him how much he wanted her to be a sign of good things to come. Needed it, even. Perhaps if he won that kiss…

He put his thumb and index finger on the tip of her thumb. “May I?”

She didn’t say anything, but she didn’t refuse. Just watched, mesmerized, as he tugged off her mitten, slowly, so that when their hands finally met, it would be flesh on flesh.

The atmosphere changed. The sounds of the crowd dulled and somehow, the way the world can sometimes, everything stilled so that it seemed like it was just the two of them out here in the middle of Nashville with nothing but a few flakes of snow between them.


Annie spent most of her childhood with a leg draped over the family rocking chair and a book in her hand. Novels, baking and writing too much teenage angst poetry ate up most of her youth. Now, Annie splits her time between corralling her husband into helping her with their cows, listening to audio books whilst weeding and spending some very happy hours at her computer writing.  

Review - The Starless Crown

Title:   The Starless Crown
Author:  James Rollins
Series:  Moon Fall #1
Publisher:  Tor Books
Genre:   Science Fiction
Format:  Audiobook ARC
Narrator:  Nicola Barber
No. of Pages:   560
Date of Publication:   January 4, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars


An alliance embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the secrets of the distant past and save their world in this captivating, deeply visionary adventure from #1 New York Times bestselling thriller-master James Rollins.

A gifted student foretells an apocalypse. Her reward is a sentence of death.

Fleeing into the unknown she is drawn into a team of outcasts:

A broken soldier, who once again takes up the weapons he’s forbidden to wield and carves a trail back home.

A drunken prince, who steps out from his beloved brother's shadow and claims a purpose of his own.

An imprisoned thief, who escapes the crushing dark and discovers a gleaming artifact - one that will ignite a power struggle across the globe.

On the run, hunted by enemies old and new, they must learn to trust each other in order to survive in a world evolved in strange, beautiful, and deadly ways, and uncover ancient secrets that hold the key to their salvation.

But with each passing moment, doom draws closer.


She may be young. Her sight might be restricted, but her vision is clear. An apocolypse is coming and she will do her best to warn as many as possible, even if it means her very life. On the run she is not alone. In fact, there are others who are running, even if for different reasons. One is a prince determined to prove himself. Another is a thief who has escaped the bond of prisons. Then there is a soldier who thought he left war for good. These prove to be a team of misfits who might be the last chance for this world.

Nothing is safe for this unlikely team. They do have some advantages, including magic and alchemy, but will even those special things be enough?

Who are the players in this exciting story by James Rollins. Meet Nyx, fourteen years old with near blindness but visions and dreams that foretell the end of the world. Then we have Rhaif, the thief that is now part of the small group. There is also Prince Kanthre, second born son of a king and Graylin sy Moor, former knight and a man who has been in exhile. Unlikely combination to be sure, but their options are few and life on the run is soon paired with the need for trust and mysteries that need unraveling.

Listening to this book was very intriguing. I chose to listen to it for a few hours each day so that I could absorb myself in this unique world. While the characters most certainly led different lives before, now they must work together towards a common goal, facing danger at every turn. James Rollins did a fabulous job of bringing everything together, page after page, all while setting up excellent world building, thus setting readers up for what promises to be an enthralling series.

Many thanks to Tor Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers. His writing has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold more than 20 million books. The New York Times says, “Rollins is what you might wind up with if you tossed Michael Crichton and Dan Brown into a particle accelerator together.” NPR calls his work, “Adventurous and enormously engrossing.” Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets matched with stunning suspense. As a veterinarian, he had a practice in Sacramento for over a decade and still volunteers at local shelters. Nowadays, Rollins shares his home up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with his two golden retrievers, Echo and Duncan. He also enjoys scuba diving, spelunking, kayaking, and hiking. Of course, he loves to travel and experience new places around the world, which often inspire his next globe-trotting adventure.

As a boy immersed in the scientific adventures of Doc Savage, the wonders of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and pulps such as The Shadow, The Spider, and The Avenger, James Rollins decided he wanted to be a writer. He honed his storytelling skills early, spinning elaborate tales that were often at the heart of pranks played on his brothers and sisters.

Before he would set heroes and villains on harrowing adventures, Rollins embarked on a career in veterinary medicine, graduating from the University of Missouri and establishing a successful veterinary practice. He continues to volunteer his time and veterinary skills in support of the local SPCA. His hands-on knowledge of medicine and science helps shape the research and scientific speculation that set James Rollins books apart.