Brent Keiser, a certified genius, and forensic accountant work for the FBI mostly because of their awesome retirement plan. Growing up homeless with a ditzy mother can make a guy be a little obsessive in the saving for the future department. But just once, he'd like to get out in the field, maybe actually fire a gun or chase after a bad guy like the other agents. Although, solving crimes with his calculator is statistically much safer, and he'd live to enjoy that house on the beach he saves for each payday.
Sara Chapman used to be a card-carrying member of the Hollywood rich kid pack, but after serving community service, she said goodbye to her spoiled friends. Seeing the plight of the homeless up close and personal gave her a new direction. But that doesn’t deter the annoying paparazzi. Her parents were the famous ones, not her. Sara’s only recent claim to fame was for having the most embarrassing public break up in the history of the entire world. Unfortunately, they don’t give Oscars for those, so she is trying to keep her head down and to stay as far away from single men as possible.
But then Sara becomes unknowingly tangled up in Brent’s money laundering case against her father. When it becomes hard to tell the good guys from the bad, she turns to Brent for help. While on the run for their lives, the built, nerdy accountant with magnificent abs, transforms into her personal superhero. Opposites in almost every way, will Brent see her as his Kryptonite or his Lois Lane?
Other Books in the Heartbreaker Series:
A Heartbreaker Novel, Book 1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Published: August 2017
Dani Botelli has vowed to step out of her demanding movie star mother’s shadow and is determined to start a new chapter in her life. But two men vying for her attention are making for double the trouble. There’s Jake, her police detective almost-ex who wasn’t so hot as a husband but still has the hots for Dani. And as usual, he needs her intuition and visions to help him solve a crime. Then there’s her high school crush, Michael, a former NFL pro who’s now her mom’s hunky lawyer.
Working alongside Jake, while keeping her special gifts under wraps, is proving to be more dangerous than Dani realized. She needs to stay out of harm’s way—and out of Jake’s flirtatious path—long enough to find out if Michael is the one. But will her hard-to-explain hunches be the secret that comes between them?
Falling in love can leave anyone feeling a little exposed…
Archaeologist Gabby Knight has been living under an assumed identity to steer clear of her mobster father’s enemies. But when she suspects her father of plotting to steal a priceless statue buried in New Mexico, she risks everything and sets out for the desert to beat him to it—and to save him from making a grave mistake. Breaking into a secluded cabin to wait out a blizzard, she’s not worried about visitors. It’s not like anyone would be traveling in this kind of weather…right?
Wrong. Detective Jake Morris has been ordered to take an overdue vacation, so he’s looking for some quiet time in the isolated retreat. But getting clobbered over the head by an auburn-haired firecracker wielding a cast-iron pan wasn’t the relaxing start he had in mind. Using a lot of charm and a little help from his prophetic ex-wife, Dani, he soon discovers who the sexy intruder really is.
Serving justice is in Jake’s blood, so he can’t help but join Gabby on her quest to protect the statue and catch a thief. To properly do his job, Jake knows he can flirt but better not fall. After all, what kind of future could a cop and a mobster’s daughter hope to have?
Tamra Baumann is an award-winning author of light-hearted contemporary romance. A reality-show junkie, she justifies her addiction by telling others she’s scouting for potential character material. She adamantly denies she’s actually living vicariously in their closets. Tamra resides with her real-life characters—her husband, kids, and their allergy-ridden dog—in the sunny Southwest. Visit her online at www.tamrabaumann.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/author.tamra.baumann.
Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, October 30, 2018
Time and setting: Present Day, Connecticut
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Book Length: 364 Pages
Heat Level: 1 Flame
Rating: 4.25 Gold Crowns
After a brutal assault leaves Steffi with puzzling memory lapses, she returns to her coastal Connecticut hometown to rebuild her life the best way she knows how: with her hands. But starting a remodeling business with one longtime friend puts her in the middle of a rift with another. Worse, being hired by her ex-boyfriend’s mother forces her to confront old regrets.
Public defender Ryan Quinn wasn’t shocked when his wife left him, but he was floored when she abandoned their daughter. With his finances up in the air, the newly single dad returns to his childhood home in Sanctuary Sound. The last person he expects, or wants, to see working on his family house is Steffi Lockwood—his first love who shattered his heart.
Although Steffi and Ryan are different people now, dormant feelings rekindle. But when Ryan’s concern for Steffi’s mental health prompts him to dig into her past for answers, will what he learns bring them together or tear them apart for good?
Meet Steffi Lockwood the Heroine from Jamie Beck’s The Memory of You
Thank you so much for inviting me to talk about Sanctuary Sound, I'm Steffi Lockwood. I admit, it is strange to be back in my sleepy hometown after spending so much of my youth wanting to escape to something bigger and, in my mind, better. But life in Hartford didn’t live up to my dreams. I wouldn’t say I left because I got attacked, but it was a wake-up call for all the ways that life wasn’t really making me happy. One night while watching my favorite HGTV show, I got inspired to quit my construction job and return home to start my own home renovation business with my childhood friend, Claire, a designer.
While I enjoy the quiet beauty of our small coastal Connecticut town and am happy to reconnect with Claire, my dad, and my brother Ben, my homecoming isn’t all roses and sunshine. Although my mom died long ago, I can’t help but miss her when I’m at my dad’s house on Lilac Lane. I’m also dealing with some kind of brain fog, most likely from the many concussions I’ve suffered, including the last one I got when attacked. Then there’s the rift between Claire and our other dear friend, Peyton. We used to call ourselves the Lilac Lane League and were the closest of friends. I really relied on that sisterhood (having only brothers, myself). Now I’m trying to remain neutral, but that’s not easy when I have to live and work with Claire, and she’s still brokenhearted because her ex ran off with Peyton. But the biggest regret that follows me around town has to do with memories of Ryan Quinn, my high school sweetheart—the greatest guy in the world that I was dumb enough to ghost in college.
Like I mentioned, when I was younger, I thought I wanted a bigger life. I didn’t want to be like my mom, who married and died young without ever seeing anything of the world. I wanted adventure, and to get that, I had to break free from town and from Ryan. Fast- forward to now, when his mom just hired me to convert her porch to a family room. I didn’t know she needed to expand her house because Ryan’s marriage imploded and he’s just returned from Boston with his young daughter, Emmy. Let me tell you, ours was not a pleasant reunion. I did my best to apologize and be polite, but there’s only so much shaming I can take before I push back. Still, I’m not the same young girl I was back then and I’d love a chance to make amends with Ryan. His daughter is a real spitfire who makes me laugh, too.
Whatever happens with Ryan, I know I can take care of myself and make a success of this business, especially once this stuff with my memory heals. If I can also help my friends repair their relationship and win Ryan’s forgiveness, too, I’m going to try. At the very least, I can be the kind of friend to his daughter, Emmy, that his mom was to me when I needed one. Wish me luck!
The Memory of You Excerpt
“I do understand, Emmy. Better than you think.” Steffi took the partially folded tarp and snapped its final fold on her own, then crouched to Emmy’s eye level. “I wasn’t much older than you when my mom died. I missed her so much it felt like the whole world turned into a dark black hole. Most days I wanted to jump right through that hole and follow her to heaven. I was so angry that she left me like that, even though she couldn’t help it. But I kept all those feelings tight inside, like a ball right here.” Steffi pointed at Emmy’s stomach. “Holding all that stuff inside hurt, but it made me feel strong. It seemed better than crying, for sure. Then a girl named Claire moved in across the street. She was very sweet and sporty, and I liked her right away. I was lucky because she was patient with my moods. And at the end of our street was another girl our age, Peyton. Peyton was popular, but it turns out she was kind of lonely, too, for other reasons.
“Anyway, somehow that summer we all started spending time together. We gave ourselves a name—the Lilac Lane League—and we started a journal, because Peyton liked to write. We wrote down our dreams and the things that made us mad, and the things that made us laugh. Our crushes, first kisses, all that stuff. Little by little, that knot in my stomach unwound because my friends made me less lonely. That’s how I know the fastest way to feel better is to make a new friend.”
“You’re my new friend.” Emmy’s voice sounded small and shaky.
“I am your friend, but you also need a friend your age. I know you miss your old gang, but try to make one new friend here, too. I promise there are nice girls. I grew up here, after all, and I’m nice.” Steffi smiled and brushed some of Emmy’s curls off her face.
Ryan decided to enter the conversation now, before Emmy broke down in front of Steffi or put her in a more difficult situation. He exited through the kitchen door and crossed the partially framed porch to get to the yard. “Hey there, ladies.”
Emmy snapped her gaze at him, and he saw the panic in her eyes. His daughter’s fear of him speared his chest like a sword. He’d failed at his marriage, and his daughter was paying the highest price. He couldn’t fail her, too. He dropped to his knees and opened his arms. She flew into them in a heartbeat.
He hugged her and swayed, like he’d done when she was so much younger. Steffi quietly retrieved her toolbox and took it to her van.
“Emmy?” Ryan asked once they were alone. “I’m sorry this is such a hard time for you. I want to help you, but I don’t always have all the answers. I do know one thing, though. You can’t call people names and expect to make friends.”
She cried against his chest, each tear falling like acid raining on his heart. “Oh, sweetie, it’ll be okay. We all make mistakes. The important thing is to apologize and try to learn from it.”
“You always say that,” she muttered into his shirt.
“Because it’s the truest thing I know.” He kissed her head.
“So why can’t you and Mom apologize and make up?”
He hadn’t expected that question, although maybe he should have. “It’s not that simple.”
“You always say that, too.”
If a conversation with her took this much work at this age, he could barely imagine dealing with her in her teens. “You’re all dirty from helping Steffi. How ’bout you go inside and clean up before dinner? I need to talk to Steffi for a second. Then I’ll come in, and we can figure out how to apologize to Katie Winston.”
Emmy nodded while swiping her arm under her runny nose. “Okay.”
She wandered into the house just as Steffi came back from the van to get the rest of her personal things. He stood to speak with her. “I heard part of what you said to Emmy.”
“I know you don’t want me to speak for you, but I just—”
“It’s okay. Thank you for making her feel like she can confide in you. I should’ve listened to you the other day.” He crossed his arms and blew out a long breath. “I’m in over my head doing this on my own.”
“You’re not on your own. You’ve got your parents. But even if you were, I know you can do it. She loves you. She wants to make you happy and proud.”
He nodded, although he knew he was screwing it all up.
“Well, I’d better take off. Benny’s expecting me for another training run.”
“You guys are disciplined. I haven’t had a chance to get in a good workout in three months. Pretty soon I’m going to be too soft.” He patted his gut. Granted, he was still pretty fit. He could probably keep up with Steffi for a few miles, anyhow.
“I’m sure your mom would watch Emmy if you need to hit the gym or the mean streets of Sanctuary Sound.” She tipped her head, grinning. “My brother might even like some male company now and then. He gets sick of my singing.”
Ryan laughed. “Well, you were good at a lot of things, but singing wasn’t one of them.”
“You didn’t used to complain.” She hit his arm.
He grew quiet for a second, remembering the many times he’d listened to her terrible rendition of Lifehouse’s “You and Me” in the car or on the patio. “No, I never did mind those private concerts.”
The air between them turned sweet and thick with fond memories. Holding hands, soccer footwork challenges, the first time he’d copped a feel, and the light in her eyes when he had. The images almost made him want to take hold of her hand again; his heart beat with that hot desire like it had at seventeen.
“Dad!” Emmy called from the door, breaking the spell.
“You’d better go,” Steffi said with a wistful smile before she turned and walked back to her car.
He watched her go and waited … waited … Just before she got to her van, she peeked over her shoulder at him again, and everything seemed a little bit brighter.
National bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than one million copies. She’s a 2017 Booksellers’ Best Award finalist, and critics at Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking as well as hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family. Fans can learn more about her on her website, www.jamiebeck.com, which includes a fun “Extras” page with photos, videos, and playlists. She also loves interacting with everyone on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JamieBeckBooks.
Publisher & Release: Grand Central Forever Romance, November 6, 2018
Time and setting: Regency, London
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Length: 465 Pages
Heat Level: 1 Flame
Rating: 4.25 Gold Crowns
One minute, London banker Quinn Wentworth is facing execution. The next, he's declared the long-lost heir to a dukedom. Quinn has fought his way up from the worst slums, and now he's ready to use every dirty trick he knows to find the enemy who schemed against him.
Jane Winston, the widowed and pregnant, crosses paths with Quinn while her father is preaching to the prisoners. Believing his days are numbered, Quinn offers her marriage as a way to guarantee her independence and provide for her child. Neither thinks they'll actually have a future together.
He's a wealthy gutter rat out for vengeance. She's a minister's daughter who must turn a marriage of desperation into a proper ducal union. Are they doomed from the start or destined for a happily-ever-after?
Also includes the bonus novella Once Upon a Christmas Eve from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt!
When his carriage wheel snaps in a snowstorm, Adam Rutledge, Viscount d'Arque, is forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he's ever met.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve read a novel by Grace Burrowes, glad I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley for this one! I appreciate the opportunity to read and review My One and Only Duke prior to publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.
I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this romance and found the plot interesting. The ultimate villain in this work was a surprise, which is always a joy. The suspenseful scenes are well-written and very exciting, keeping me on pins and needles. Ms. Burrowes has the ability to make common day occurrences interesting, and she does this in My One and Only Duke with her usual expertise.
Jane Winston is a delightful Heroine. She is such a sensible woman and takes things in her stride. Her patience with her father is admirable, and her ability to give the hero what he needs is touching.
Quinn Wentworth makes a great hero. He is a warrior determined to protect his family, even if it costs him his life, and it almost does. He quickly sees Jane’s value and adds her to the loved ones he needs to keep safe.
I enjoyed the gently, growing relationship between Jane and Quinn and they are perfect for each other. While this novel didn’t have quite as much sexual tension, it was still a satisfying love story between two individuals who certainly need and deserve to find love. I loved the affection between the pair, and the unhurried tender moments.
If you enjoy Regency romance with all the elements that appeals to lovers of this historical period, then you will like My One and Only Duke. I look forward to reading the next book in this fascinating series. Happy reading!
Maddie Jennings possessed a unique skill exploited by her father. As a scam artist, he used his daughter’s talent for reading people. Her job—profile the mark for honesty. When her father’s fortunes improve, he enrolls her in Miss Emma Willard’s School for Young Ladies where she begins a progressive education in both academics and society. For two years, Maddie thrives under the tutelage of those who encourage her to challenge the culture’s views of acceptable work for women. This happy life ends when her father unexpectedly withdraws her, taking her with him on a desperate flight from deadly repercussions for a scam gone wrong.
Maddie soon realizes she and her father are being pursued by both the Pinkerton Agency and the vindictive Sicilian family, but she knows little more of her father’s most recent crime. When a heart attack takes his life at a small station in Idaho Territory, she must change her identity, take the money, and run for her life. On the north-bound train to Ketchum, Maddie meets a young doctor, David Reynolds, who is also running from something-a woman he can never possess. Maddie, now trapped in her false identity by the indiscretions of her father, can neither afford to reveal her true nature nor allow her attraction to the doctor to distract her from the need to simply survive.
This is a stand-alone novel and the fourth in a series called The Sawtooth Range.
Other Books in the Sawtooth Range American Frontier Romance Series:
The Sawtooth Range, Book 1
Published: June 2016
She was a doctor seeking justice for her town. He was a lawman who had turned in his badge after failing to protect the innocent.
DREAMS OF AN EDUCATED WOMAN
Kat Meriwether left her hometown of Snowberry in Idaho Territory as a tomboy with a saucy reputation as a fighter of bullies, but she returns as an educated woman polished by four years in Boston. Throughout those years she's kept her mind on her studies, avoiding romantic entanglements that might hinder her from achieving her goals.
NIGHTMARES OF AN EX-TEXAS RANGER
Jonathan Winthrop, is a haunted man, running from his own tormented past. Snowberry offers him a chance to start over, but lawless men are changing the once peaceful town, and innocents will die without a defender.
LOVE CAN ALTER THEM ALL
Young medical school graduate, Dr. Kat Meriwether, doesn't like what she finds upon returning home, but she also finds a good man whose sense of justice is as strong as hers. Together they would find not only their unmistakable callings, but an undeniable love.
In this thrilling and romantic conclusion to Kat's Law, Dr. Kathryn Meriwether must deal with a Cholera outbreak threatening the residents she cares for in Snowberry, Idaho, a killer not armed with a gun as the one whom ex-Texas Ranger Jonathan Winthrop pursues into the Sawtooth Range, but just as deadly and unpredictable. Once again, each will handle the crisis with the skills they've been given, but ultimately will find a greater strength in facing their future together. A high valley promise will unite them as an undeniable force to meet the challenges of their frontier home.
Avalanches, isolation and snow blindness were stark realities for those daring to remain in Idaho’s Sawtooth Range through the harsh winter months. For city dweller, Lena Sommer, the warnings seemed exaggerated.
In the fall of 1886, Lena leaves behind a life fraught with disappointments and loss only to arrive in Sawtooth City and find the man she’d pledged to marry has been killed. To return east is unthinkable; to stay is ill-advised, but she resolves to remain and manage the man’s lodging house despite the warnings. More than her stubborn nature influences her decision. From her first glimpse of this mountain valley, she falls captive to its wild beauty. Feeling she has at last found a hearth to call her own, she eagerly puts down roots. Sharing her love of literature with her lodgers before a warming fire, she builds a family of lonesome souls, where dreams awaken.
However, one man stands apart, disturbing her peace with ominous warnings to leave before winter comes. Evan Hartmann knows from personal loss that winter snows bring to these mountains both unimaginable beauty and death. He is also a man conflicted, because as much as he’d like for Lena to leave the mountains, his heart longs for her to stay.
Maddie Jennings pressed back against the brick wall, taking in a sharp breath and swallowing hard. She removed the pin from her hair and pulled off her wide-brimmed hat, taking a moment to slow her hammering heart before lifting a gloved hand to the corner of the building. She peered across the street once again. Everything about the man screamed out to her, lawman. The bulge just below his hip kept his oilskin duster from falling close to his body as it should. He wore a gun strapped down to his thigh, probably a Colt.
She discerned him to be a man who paid particular attention to his appearance, but not so much as to be mistaken for a dandy or a gambler. His black hat, free of trail dust indicated he’d traveled by rail as she and her father had and not on horseback. That deduction was further confirmed by his boots which appeared polished. He wore the hat low on his brow, shadowing keen eyes that swept the crowded train platform, the look of a man on the hunt.
Maddie let out the breath she’d held, again flattening herself to the wall until the rough brick edges dug into her back. Into what scam had her father become embroiled this time? She had to get back on the train—fast.
Minutes later she collapsed onto the seat beside her father, telling him of her observations.
"Are you certain, Maddie? Maybe he was a policeman. Maybe he was out of uniform.” She detected the desperate tone to his words. “Your imagination sometimes. . . "
Irritated by the implication she had read him wrong, Maddie interrupted him, her tone terse. "Yes, Father, I am quite certain."
"But what makes you think he’s a Pinkerton agent?" A vein bulged above his stiff white collar. Nervous fingers fiddled at the starched fold pressing against his neck. "More likely he’s a simple local constable. Surely, not. . ."
She shot back, "I saw his badge when he showed it to the conductor. Is that proof enough?" He knew better than to question her in this, the talent she'd cultivated under his instruction. What she now saw written conspicuously on her father's face lifted fine hairs along the back of her neck. Maddie gnawed the inside of her lower lip, regretting her harsh response.
In her head, she heard the polished voice of Miss Emma Willard, almost as though the woman sat beside her. A lady never lets her face or body betray her emotions in public. With a breath that drove her ribs against her corset stays, she squeezed her eyes shut and drew her hands into her lap, her facial expression again impassive.
She leaned in close to her father, her voice low. "I heard his description of the man he’s searching for. The name was Alex Carlisle."
This was the name her father had assumed with his latest money-making scheme, Carlisle, a name he wore like his expensive Brooks Brothers overcoat. He'd told her it sounded more at home with the names of those with whom he was rubbing elbows and, not coincidentally, soliciting funds.
He turned, facing her, his complexion paling. "At least they haven’t discovered my real name."
"We don’t know that!" With another ragged breath, she reined in her anger.
All the years of mysterious deals that moved their fortunes like ships on unpredictable seas seemed to have brought them into the face of a storm that would capsize them at last. She wanted to rage at him, demand the truth, something she'd rarely asked of him before. But this was not the time for explanations. She pulled her lips into a thin line and said with a calm she did not feel, "Father, you must alter your appearance." When he didn't respond, she reached for his hand, squeezing it hard. "Did you hear me? There’s no time to delay. The agent appeared to be heading toward this train."
He continued to stare at her as though she was unrecognizable to him; his mouth opened and closed twice, no words, just the mechanical workings of his jaw.
Maddie reached for the top button of his traveling coat as she said, "Father, get ahold of yourself. It isn't like you've not done this before." She helped him extract his arms from the sleeves. His traveling valise lay beneath the seat. With a grunt, she tugged it onto the seat between them.
Expressionless, her father sat beside her. His lack of responsiveness caused her to lay her fingers upon his sleeve, speaking each command as though he were a child. "Father, find the wash room, use your shaving kit, and shave off your mustache and beard."
He gripped the valise handle, his knuckles white. Grabbing for her hand, he pleaded, "I'm sorry, Maddie, so sorry. I never thought...I thought that..." His mouth twisted as if conjuring the words from the air above them.
His stuttered apology only increased her anxiety. Father never apologized. Maddie forced a smile to her lips, giving his shoulder a gentle nudge. "We can talk later. Now go!"
He hesitated and her smile faded. "Go."
She drew another painful breath, convinced the corset had cinched on its own. Think, Maddie. Devise a plan, then execute it. She reached for her father’s black silk topper and flattened it. Next, she hid it under the coat draped over her arm. With her eyes squeezed tight, another wave of anger surged. This part of her life was supposed to be over, and yet here she was trapped in her father’s schemes yet again. He’d promised her he’d not involve her again. Promises, no matter how sincere, wouldn’t save them now. As much as she felt revulsion for being forced into this, love for him compelled her to act. She bit her lip, rose to her feet and stepped into the aisle—in a moment transformed to an accomplice.
About the Author
Samantha St. Claire is the pen name of an author of historical fiction who made the cross-over to romance with The Sawtooth Range series. With roots that go deep into pioneer heritage, the American West is a perfect calling for her lyrical style of writing that evokes the romance of a time when courage and strength of character were skills for survival.