Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) with Mary Ting and THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS

THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS (The Angel Knights #2) by Mary Ting!


About THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS (The Angel Knights Book 2)

When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside. In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him.

There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen.

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Author BioInternational Bestselling, Award-Winning, Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great.
Connect with Mary: 


 Add THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS to your TBR pile on Goodreads!
Teaser of The Chosen Knights (Book 2) by Mary Ting:

“It’s beautiful.” I breathed. How this pendant, which was the size of his thumb, could give off so much light was unfathomable.
“Isn’t it?” Eli agreed, staring intensely at me while taking a step toward me.
My heart pounded mercilessly from his words. A hint of playfulness was behind his tone, especially since he wasn’t staring at his pendant but directly at me.
“Umm.” My face flushed. I changed the subject. “We need to get back to our friends. They’re worried about us, and they might need our help.”
He took another step, followed by my backward step. We continued that way for several steps more until I bumped into a tree.
“They’ll be fine,” he said. “Time stands still when we astral travel. It sounds strange, but we could be here for days, and only seconds will have passed in the present.” Eli stood before me with hunger in his eyes. The nearness of his six-foot-plus strong and masculine body caused fluttering feelings to erupt in my stomach.
“What are you, Eli?” I tried to break whatever was happening between us because God help me, I was falling.
Eli cupped my face tenderly with the palms of his hands. With his eyes deeply set on me, I imagined he could see right through my soul. “I am...everything,” he answered softly but sternly. Then he paused to brush his lips ever so gently on mine. “And you...are my girl with wings.” I was frozen in place, as stiff as the tree trunk supporting my back. The only thing that moved was my chest and my heart racing at the same speed as his. Just before he crushed his lips onto mine, he said in somber tone, “You will be the destruction of me.”


Check out the entire Angel Knights series!

About THE ANGEL KNIGHTS (The Angel Knights Book 1)

Michael and Claudia’s decision to move back to Crossroads was to keep their children safe, but they can’t escape who they are. Their children, Zachary and Lucia, were destined to be demon hunters—Venators. From the age they were able to hold a sword, they were trained to become the best and to ensure they would become leaders one day. 

All is peaceful throughout the land until the Fallen and demons’ presences were felt in the between and on Earth. As the Venators investigate these locations, they will quickly learn how dangerous their lives are. Hearts will be broken. Teammates will lose their lives. And they will face obstacles which will test their faith. 

As danger grows, the fear of fallen angels and demons regrouping has the Divine Elders on pins and needles. Now, Zachary and Lucia, along with Uncle Davin, must prepare themselves—mentally and physically—to live on Earth to investigate where the focal point of evil resides before it’s too late.

Add THE ANGEL KNIGHTS to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

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About THE BLESSED KNIGHTS (The Angel Knights Book 3)

Eli, Lucia's half-demon love interest, has been stabbed with a true-cross dagger and captured by Cyrus, master of the possessor demons.

The Chosen Knights must work together once again not only to save Eli, but also to decipher a clue to find the second missing page of Jacques de Molay's journal. Meanwhile, Uncle Davin informs Crossroads Divine Elders of the danger ahead and learns there is much more to fear.

Countless children are being taken from all over the world to be turned into demons.

Michael, one of the Divine Elders, has no choice but to intervene. The Chosen Knights track down Mortem, the demon who is the key to finding Cyrus, and learn they must travel deep into the pit of a Hawaiian volcano.

When they astral travel to the past in search of a clue and follow Jacques de Moley to Roselyn Chapel in medieval Scotland, what they find will rewrite history.

Out October 28, 2016
Pre-Order this title at these online retailers:


 Add THE BLESSED KNIGHTS to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

CELEBRATE THE REVIEW TOUR WITH A GIVEAWAY!
1 Grand Prize: $20 Giftcard to Amazon
2 Runner-Ups: Digital Edition of Any Backlist Title from M. Clarke or Mary Ting

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Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29270/?


Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) with WHEN A MARQUIS CHOOSES A BRIDE by Ella Quinn

WHEN A MARQUIS CHOOSES A BRIDE by Ella Quinn 

Product Details 
Series: The Worthingtons (Book 2) 
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages 
Publisher: Zebra Shout (August 30, 2016) 

BLURP…Thanks to their large extended family and unconventional courtship, the Worthingtons have seen their share of scandal and excitement. But nothing has prepared them for this... 

The Dowager Lady Worthington isn’t quite sure what to make of country-girl Dorothea Stern. As the granddaughter of the Duke of Bristol, Dotty is schooled in the ways and means of the nobility. But her sharp wit and outspoken nature has everyone in a tizzy. Especially their cousin, Dominic, the Marquis of Merton. 

Prematurely stuffy, Dom was raised by his cheerless uncle to be wary of a host of things, including innovation, waltzing, and most perilous of all: true love. Still, there’s something about Dotty, beyond her beauty, that Dom cannot resist. But the odds are against him if he intends to win her as his bride. Will he choose loyalty to his family—or risk everything for the one woman he believes is his perfect match… 

Author Bio…Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons, began in April 2016. 

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son, two beautiful granddaughters, and a dog. She and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next! 
  
 Website: www.ellaquinnauthor.com 
 Facebook: www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor 
 Twitter: www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor 
 Blog: http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom 


Review 

The only trouble with love is that it stops all other thoughts from forming 

Dorothea has a way for rescuing all that is in need and set this to be a new project for her to work on.  Until now it has involved her family and animals but after Dominic, The Marquis of Merton enters her life, he becomes the biggest endeavor she will ever undertake and in the end will find herself rescued from a fate she did not even know to fear, a marriage without love. 

The first chance to have a London season is offered to Dotty and she takes off for London to share home and hearth with her friend and the amassed menagerie living in her home.  The Season is over whelming and so many suitors catch her eye but only Dom sets her aflutter and creates a sensation of desire she never thought possible.  The fact that Dom appears to be as enamored of her as she is of him is a joyous anticipation of walks, chaste kisses, and discreet hand holding.  When a situation that turned from rescue to compromise occurs, Dom steps up to make a deal of a lifetime with marriage to Dotty.  Others are not as pleased by this situation but when two people are destined to be together no family nor friend can separate the inevitable. What Dom is aware of after all his years of female interaction is that no one worth knowing is one that is a silent partner as a women who stands on her own will always be a partner not a bore. 

With Dotty continuing to rescue everything from kittens to a small boy Dom realizes the way he was raised after his father’s death kept him sheltered and unfeeling, which has not served him in any capacity as an adult.  Now that he has been shown how the less than privileged exist he cannot turn away nor does he want to because help is what he can and will offer to everyone.  The problem is not everyone wants this marriage to take place and those that are trying to stop it are ruthless and will do whatever has to be done to remove Dotty from the scenario.  While everyone is led down one road to figure out who the culprit is Dom knows that the answer may seem uncomplicated but in reality it is more dangerous than anyone knows.  Dom will do anything he has to in order to have Dotty as his wife and the life he longs to live. 

The magic continues with book two in this series with the anticipation of book three rounding out the romantic treasure that is the writing of Ella Quinn. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Chat with Ben Tankard and THE FULL TANK LIFE

If you missed the great chat with Ben Tankard today here is the video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QcoDLfclCY.

These are some questions he took the time to respond to via e-mail as well as on the hangout:

You talk about how our greatest opportunities often come from our greatest disappointments. How did that play out for you?  
My greatest disappointment (injury at basketball camp) actually opened the door for my greatest discovery (Salvation and my gift of music to play Gospel/Jazz). Had I continued as a " benchwarmer " pro-basketballer I might have never written 250 songs that have been able to bless so many people.

If we’re struggling to find our Destiny or divine ETA, what steps would you recommend to discovering that and then how do you (personally) stay on track?  
I believe the answer to that is as close as your hands.  
First - Look in your LEFT hand and mentally place in it the things that make you " Tick  (Happy) " (example: things you love to do, things you are good at, etc). 
Second- Look at your RIGHT hand and mentally place in it the things that make you " Ticked (Angry)" (example: Clutter, traffic, bullying, poverty).  
Now slap your hands together: Somewhere between what makes you "Tick" and what makes you " Tick" is your Destiny (or calling). 
Figure out what that is a get started moving in small steps.  You will make adjustments along the way but be patient, this is a marathon not a sprint and it is more important to enjoy the " ride " not just concentrate on the destination. Once you get there God will change it, and give you the "next" chapter anyway and the whole thing will start over again.  With me it started as basketball and went to music, teaching, flying, Reality TV, and now an author.  I am looking forward to what is NEXT.

What are three things you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis that refuel your tank?  
I attend 12-15 motivational events/seminars a year to create and environment of inspiration for me.  I believe it is important to hang around successful leaders so what is growing IN them can grow IN you. On the " recharge and reset " side of things: we own vacation homes in GA and Florida and take a trip to visit each one at least once per quarter to rest and refuel.  Deep Sea Fishing and wind surfing on the beach is my way of escape.

How did you find the time to write THE FULL TANK LIFE and what did that look like? 
I am a writer by nature and have books on books of personal journals and notes I have written over the years, so when the time was right to write a book it was a matter of pulling from all those inspired moments.

What’s your definition of success?   

To me success is KNOWING what you are called to be and do in this life and taking action on it while including family on your journey. In doing so you will be able to be a blessing to others. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) HEART OF DESIRE by Jenna Jaxon

HEART OF DESIRE by Jenna Jaxon

Follow your heart to find your desire

Miss Katherine Locke is irked to start her third season dancing with the disagreeable Lord Haversham, her brother’s friend and her own arch enemy. After three years out, however, she’s finally interested in the dashing Lord Finley—only to find out her cousin has set her cap for him too. To make the man jealous, Kate feigns interest in Lord Haversham, only to be shocked to find the handsome lord apparently falling for her. With time running out, should she accept his suit and risk falling in love despite herself?

Marcus, Lord Haversham, is in a tight pinch. His estates are failing and worse, he’s just lost three thousand pounds to his best friend, Lord Ainsley. Ainsley’s solution: have Marcus marry his shrewish sister and he’ll cancel his gambling debt plus give him ten thousand more pounds for her dowry. With nowhere to turn, Marcus agrees, praying he can keep word of the wager from Miss Locke long enough to charm her into marrying him. But can he avoid falling in love himself?


About Jenna Jaxon...Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical  and contemporary romance.  She is currently finishing revisions to  her fifth full length novel, To Woo A Wicked Widow, set in Regency England and the first book in her five part series, The Widow’s Club.

Only Marriage Will Do, second book in her Georgian  House of Pleasure series is with the editor. Her medieval trilogy, Time Enough to Love, is being published by Rising Phoenix Publications. Book 1, Betrothal is currently available.  Book 2, Betrayal, will be available later this fall.

Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.


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Heart of Desire by Jenna Jaxon

“Who are you looking for?” Celinda peered in the same direction as Kate.
“That gentleman. The stranger I asked you about just now. Did you really not see him?” Had she imagined the man? “Where did he go?” she muttered.
“I have no idea who you are talking about, cuz.” Celinda snapped her fan open, catching the attention of a gentleman across the room.
“Why are you flirting with Bertie Symmons? We’ve known him since we were eight years old and he cried when his mama wouldn’t allow him to climb a tree.” Kate glared at the young man in question, the son of one of their neighbors in Somerset.
“One has to flirt with old friends sometimes if one wants to dance badly enough.” Celinda touched the edge of the fan with her finger, snapped it closed, and smiled at Bertie, who hastily excused himself and headed toward them.
“I’ve never wanted to dance quite that badly.” Kate sniffed and wiggled her toes in her new green satin slippers. Standing for so long during the early part of the Season took some getting used to. “I do wish I had an inkling of who I wanted to flirt with.”
“As do I.” Celinda laughed. “I have no idea so far this Season. I’m just practicing on Bertie so I’ll remember how.”
“Lady Celinda, Miss Locke.”
Kate whirled around, coming face to face with Lady Hamilton and the handsome stranger she’d been looking for. Lord, but he looked even more attractive up close. He smiled charmingly, revealing white, even teeth in a wide mouth with sensual lips. Her heart threatened to cease beating.
Celinda’s china blue eyes widened, a brilliant smile on her lips. She curtsied, and Kate followed suit, quite unable to take her gaze off the gentleman.
“Ladies, good evening once more.” Lady Hamilton nodded, smiling first at one then the other of them. “May I introduce Lord Finley? He is recently returned from some five years in America.”
Kate’s heart beat so hard her chest hurt. She snapped her fan open and plied it vigorously, hoping she wouldn’t swoon.


Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) with S.C. STEPHENS and FURIOUS RUSH


FURIOUS RUSH by S.C. Stephens

Product Details
On Sale: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Forever

Blurp…The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!

Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father's talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team's newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie's skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she's racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind...


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ABOUT THE AUTHORS. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.



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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) with TILL I KISSED YOU by Laura Trentham

TILL I KISSED YOU by Laura Trentham

PRODUCT DETAILS
File Size: 1351 KB
Print Length: 320 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250077621
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (August 2, 2016)
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Sold by: Macmillan

BLURP… It’s summertime in Cottonbloom, where two lovers find themselves at a crossroads just as things start to heat up. . .

Regan Lovell grew up on the wealthy Mississippi side of Cottonbloom—and now, as mayor, she’s determined to save it from the fate of so many small towns. Part of her plan to help the local economy is the Labor Day tomato festival. If only she wasn’t being undermined by Sawyer Fournette, who’s planning a crayfish-themed celebration on the Louisiana side of the river on the very same weekend. The pranks and sabotage are getting out of hand, and she’s had it with him—no matter how much she enjoyed those stolen hours in his truck bed, so many years ago…

Sawyer knows that Regan's never forgiven him for breaking her heart—but despite his reputation as a low-class swamp rat, he’d never hurt the woman who still secretly drives him crazy with desire. Someone in Cottonbloom has it out for her, though, and Sawyer intends to watch her back…and the rest of her too, if she can ever let go of her distrust. But will a common enemy be enough to unite them—and finally fulfill the promises they made one passionate night under the stars?

AUTHOR BIO… Visit me at www.LauraTrentham.com
Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Northwest Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she majored in Chemical Engineering (in order to avoid becoming a starving artist!) and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She is the author of sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling her kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry in her room that is almost as large as the TBR pile of books on her nightstand.


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DO NOT MISS BOOK 1 AND 2 IN THE SERIES


Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) with I’M STILL HERE (Je Suis Là) by Cléilie Avit

I’M STILL HERE (Je Suis Là) by Cléilie Avit 

Product Details 
Translated by Lucy Foster 
Hardcover: 256 pages 
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (August 23, 2016) 
Language: English 

Blurp…Elsa has been in a coma for five months. With all hope of reviving her gone, her family and doctors are having to face the devastating fact that it might be time to turn off her life support... They don't realise that in the past few weeks Elsa has regained partial consciousness; she knows where she is and can hear everyone talking around her bed, but she has no way of telling them she's there. 

Thibault is in the same hospital visiting his brother, a drunk driver responsible for the deaths of two teenage girls. Thibault's emotions are in turmoil and, needing a retreat, he finds his way into Elsa's room. Seeing her lying there so peacefully, he finds it hard to believe she is not just sleeping. 

Thibault begins to visit Elsa regularly. As he learns more about her through her family and friends, he begins to realise that he is developing feelings for her. And when he talks to her, he can't help feeling that she can hear his every word... 

For Elsa, his visits are like a breath of fresh air. Here is finally someone who speaks to her as if she is a real life person. Who makes her laugh. And who gives her something to fight for... 

And so begins a love story that might just save both their lives... 


Author Bio…Clélie Avit was born and raised in the Auvergne region of France. She works as a physics and chemistry teacher, while also teaching dance. Avit received the Prix Nouveau Talent for I'm Still Here (Je Suis Là), her first novel. 

Review 

Love will not awaken you with a kiss but the desire to be together 

Through an unfortunate accident Elsa has been in a coma for five plus months and while everyone has one by one given up she wants them to know she is still alive and can hear them even though she cannot yet move.  Every day Elsa listens for voices and waits to be talked to by nursing staff, doctors, and family.  One day she hears this wonderful voice that belongs to no one she knows but seems to be an inspiration to her psyche and without the ability to let Thibault know Elsa fears she will lose him in her life.  Thibault is at the hospital visiting a brother who should not be recovering unlike Elsa who he knows is the better person and should be shouting from a glacier.  Thibault chooses to spend his time in Elsa’s room talking to her and at times just lying next to her to provide the human touch he is sure she craves. 

As weeks go by and Thibault moves through his life and visits with Elsa he never stops talking to her about the activities going on or the simple things that make his life function.  Thibault is always anxious to see her and without knowing it Elsa awaits his visits so wishing she could pull out of this lifeless state and do no more than hold his hand.  However, there are serious decisions looming that will forever change the state of Elsa and even her existence as she knows it.  Thibault will fight with all he knows to not let anyone interfere with her care but while he may be falling in love with her he is not anyone that can affect her care.   

The power of love and belief in what can happen is written with dedication and determination is this wonderful read.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) with WHY DO DUKES FALL IN LOVE? By Megan Frampton

WHY DO DUKES FALL IN LOVE? By Megan Frampton

PRODUCT DETAILS
Series: Dukes Behaving Badly (Book 4)
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (July 26, 2016)

BLURP… In Megan Frampton’s captivating new Dukes Behaving Badly novel, we learn the answer to the question:

Why do dukes fall in love?

Michael, the Duke of Hadlow, has the liberty of enjoying an indiscretion . . . or several. But when it comes time for him to take a proper bride, he ultimately realizes he wants only one woman: Edwina Cheltam. He’d hired her as his secretary, only to quickly discover she was sensuous and intelligent.

They embark on a passionate affair, and when she breaks it off, he accepts her decision as the logical one . . . but only at first. Then he decides to pursue her.

Michael is brilliant, single-minded, and utterly indifferent to being the talk of the ton. It’s even said his only true friend is his dog. Edwina had begged him to marry someone appropriate–—someone aristocratic . . . someone high-born . . . someone else. But the only thing more persuasive than a duke intent on seduction is one who has fallen irrevocably in love.


AUTHOR BIO…Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women's fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can find her at meganframpton.com, at facebook.com/meganframptonbooks/, and @meganf.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) with COOL CONTEMPORARY READS (Rafflecopter Set Giveaway)

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Mary Gramlich (The Reading Reviewer) with ONE LUCKY HERO by Codi Gary

ONE LUCKY HERO by Codi Gary

BLURP…The men of Alpha Dog, a second chance program for at-risk teens, work hard and play hard. And when it comes to protecting the women they love . . . nothing stands in their way.

Danielle Hill used to live on the wild side, until a surprise pregnancy forced her to get her act together. Now her whole life revolves around her young son, and she will do anything to keep Noah’s heart protected, even if it means avoiding the Marine who makes her want to be oh so bad . . .

Tyler Best loves his family, his friends, and his life, and he plans on living it to the fullest after nearly losing it. But Tyler didn’t bank on running into a beautiful blond with blazing green eyes and temper to match his. Tyler always thought he wasn’t ready to settle down, but Dani and Noah make him rethink his playboy ways . . .

Only just as these two start to build something, a shadow from Dani’s past comes back to haunt them. But Tyler will do anything to keep her and Noah safe . . . anything.

About CODI GARY…An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.

Where to buy ONE LUCKY HERO

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Dani pointed to the far wall of cages, oblivious to his disgruntlement. “Those are all the dogs whose time here expires. Feel free to take them out into the holding room”—she indicated a white door that had a sign reading holding room— “and do whatever you gotta do.”
Turning her back on him, she squatted down in front of a large cage and opened it. Tyler bent down to see a massive gray dog with black spots and stripes. The dog lifted his head slightly, his floppy ears pricking as she cooed.
“Hey, Fugly, how you doing, bud?” Dani’s hand glided over the dog’s head and neck, and he relaxed back on his side with a whimper.
“What happened to him?” Tyler asked.
“Someone hit him with their car. A yard crew behind them stopped and picked him up, brought him here, but there’s only so much I can do. The X-rays show he needs leg surgery, but my regular doctor is off today, and the prick subbing for him won’t do a damn thing to help.”
Tyler came closer, squatting behind her. The dog lifted his head and met Tyler’s gaze with soft green-gray eyes. Rex’s eyes had been a dark brown, nearly black, but the expression in this dog’s eyes was still the same—filled with trust. This dog wasn’t afraid of humans; he expected them to help him, to ease his pain.
Tyler’s chest clenched. Although he’d trained several dogs since Rex, he hadn’t experienced this pull, this kinship. This big, gray dog was calling to him, and he couldn’t ignore it, no matter how crazy it seemed.
“Release him to me.”
Dani spun his way so fast, she nearly knocked him back. “What?”
“Release him to me, and I’ll run him down to my veterinarian. They’ll go over the extent of his injuries and let me know what he needs.”
Dani stared at him, her gaze wary. “Why would you do that? And what about the dogs you’re supposed to evaluate?”
What the hell was he doing? He wasn’t even sure the dog was trainable, let alone what his injuries were.
But he could still remember Rex’s body as it cooled and stiffened in his arms. There had been nothing he could do to help Rex, but he could help this dog.
“If you will run interference for me with that guy, I’ll drive . . .” Tyler hesitated to call the dog the bullshit name. “I’m sorry; he needs a better name than Fugly.”
Dani laughed, but her voice shook a bit as though she might cry. “The workers that brought him in were calling him that.”
“Not anymore. Whatever his name is, I’ll drive him up there, drop him off, and come back here. If his owners show up, you can give me a call.”
“I don’t have your number.” She closed the cage door and stood up.
“The front desk has it, but do you have your phone on you?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’ll go get it.” She left the room, and Tyler studied the dog. He was probably a good hundred and fifty pounds, which wouldn’t be a problem to carry, but if he had more injuries they couldn’t see, Tyler was concerned about jostling him around and doing more damage. He’d ask Dani if they had a stretcher when she got back.
She came back through the doors and handed him her phone. “Here.”
Tyler stood up, staring at the screen saver of a smiling toddler with his arms wrapped around Dani’s neck. Well, shit, that sent whatever attraction he’d had crashing to the ground. He had three rules for hooking up: Be honest from the get-go, no sleeping over, and definitely no repeats within the same week. And then there were the types of women he steered clear from.
No crazies. No attached or married women. And definitely no single moms.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He had watched his own mom get screwed over enough times to know that if you weren’t ready, just stay far away.
Clearing his throat, he swiped his thumb over to her contacts and put in his information. “Cute kid.”
“Thank you.”
“He yours?” he asked.
“Yes, he’s mine.”
Was it just him, or did she sound defensive?
“How old is he?” Tyler handed the phone back to her, disappointed that she was off limits.
“He’s almost two.” Dani slipped her phone into her pocket. Her curt responses told him she didn’t want to discuss her child with a complete stranger, and he couldn’t blame her.
Apparently, he was just a nosy, interfering bastard today.
“About Fugly. I was going to just carry him out, but I’m afraid of causing more damage.”
“He doesn’t have internal bleeding, at least not that showed up on the X-rays. Most of the impact from the car occurred on his back end. Plus, I gave him a dose of pain meds when he first came in, and it should last him a while.”
“Okay then, you get the door, and I’ll get the dog.”
Dani unlocked the cage again and unhooked the dog’s IV, wrapping the tubing over the mobile pole by the cage. As gently as he could, Tyler reached in and picked up the dog, who tried to thrash for half a second before Tyler spoke firmly. “Stay.”
The dog stilled, and Tyler stood up with him in his arms. “It’s gonna be okay, boy.”
Dani opened the doors as they went, but once they got to the lobby, Lab Coat Guy spotted them and spluttered, “What do you think you’re doing?”
Dani puffed up. “He’s taking the dog to his vet, since you won’t do anything to help him.”
Tyler had to admire the set of balls on Dani as every eye in the room swung on Lab Coat, pinning him with accusation.
“I didn’t say anything like that. I told you his prognosis wasn’t good and he was suffering.”
“And I wanted a second opinion, so we’re getting one.”
Tyler grinned, following Dani out the door. Pausing for half a second, Tyler gave Lab Coat a warning look. “I haven’t had a chance to evaluate the dogs yet. They’d better all be there when I get back.”
Lab Coat swallowed hard, and as she closed the door, Dani laughed. “I think he just pissed himself.”
Tyler liked her laugh, light and tinkling, like Christmas bells. “You’re pretty terrifying yourself.”
“I don’t let bullies push me around,” she said. “Where are your keys?”
“Right pocket.”
When the warmth of her hand pushed into his pocket and grabbed his keys, he couldn’t help his physical reaction. It was just too close to the groin, and the way she pressed with seeking fingers against him was enough to give him a semi. Despite it being October, it was still in the mideighties in Sacramento, and Tyler could feel beads of sweat dribbling down the sides of his face as she continued her search; he told himself it was just the heat getting to him.
Luckily, she hadn’t seemed to notice, and once she found the keys, she unlocked the doors and pulled open the back door of the Alpha Dog van.
“Hang on.” She ran back inside while Tyler waited, the dog’s weight making his arms burn.
Suddenly, she was back and climbing past him into the backseat of the van.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m coming with you. You’re going to need someone to hold onto him while you drive, and besides,” she said, her expression a soft mask of worry, “I don’t want him to be alone and scared.”
Tyler nodded, knowing exactly what she meant. He’d been rescuing dogs his whole life, much to his parents’ exasperation. He remembered the first dog he’d brought home at nine, a skinny black dog with matted fur and a rank odor. When his mom had told him he couldn’t bring the dog inside, he’d teared up and told her, “But, Mom, he’s so hungry and scared.” His mom had caved like a big old softy, and his dad left, coming back with food, bowls, and a collar and leash. He’d named the dog Barney, and he’d been the start of Tyler’s love of dogs.
The fact that Dani appeared to have the same passion made him like her more. Cute, funny, didn’t take shit from anyone? Plus, he’d bet his last dollar she was great in bed.
But the tiny, smiling little boy on her phone screen was like a big fat stop sign. He didn’t do single moms—at least, not when he knew about the kid.
Laying the dog gently into the back, he watched her settle his head in her lap and begin stroking his gray coat. Suddenly, she looked up at Tyler, those green eyes filled with gratitude and . . . Hell, he had no idea, but it was a first for him.
“Thank you.”
Tyler slammed the door to the van without responding, grabbing the keys out of the passenger door.
Tyler Best, bleeding-heart dog rescuer.
He climbed up into the driver’s seat, preparing to take off.
“Really, why are you doing this?” she asked from behind him.

Adjusting the mirror so he could see her, he gave the only answer that made sense. “Why not?”