Saturday, November 17, 2018



Love comes to the rescue.

Vet school drop-out Tess Grasso dreams of having her own pet therapy business, but she meets one disastrous obstacle after another. There’s no denying she has a way with animals, so in the meantime she puts her skills to use at a local no-kill shelter. Between helping her furry companions and a budding relationship with fellow dog lover Mason Redding, Tess begins to find fresh confidence...

What Tess doesn’t know is that Mason is recovering from an accident, hoping to get back to his pro-baseball career. He’s afraid the truth will ruin everything—and he’s right. But in the midst of hurt and betrayal, a free-spirited stray Husky enters their lives, and teaches them a few things about faith, love and forgiveness.






Tess lifted her mug of tea and carried it into the kitchen and away from the wall of windows and the remarkable St. Louis night skyline. If this were her place, she’d get nothing done in the evenings as she cuddled against that couch, sipping tea, and gazing at the beautiful lights.

“I had no idea a veggie meat loaf could smell so amazing. I’m so hungry, I could eat… Wait, I don’t think you can say you could eat a bear when you’re vegetarian, can you?”

Mason laughed and said she could say whatever she wanted. He was slicing through a cucumber with a gleaming chef knife.

“After we eat, I’ll be good to get back out there and search again.”

“Me, too. I’ve been standing here thinking what it could be like if we succeed. I want the dog. No question. And I know he’ll have a better life. A much better life. But I can’t help but wonder if he’ll want to be here.”

Tess joined Mason at the opposite counter. “He will. I’m sure he will.” Her hand closed reflexively over his forearm in reassurance, and she had to refrain from jerking it away. Seeing his strength was one thing. Feeling it was another.

What would he do if she slid between him and the countertop and allowed her lips to land where they wanted?

She forced a stepped back. “Do you have honey?”

“Yeah. In the pantry.”

His pantry was relatively uncluttered, and she spotted the honey right away. A family-sized box of Cocoa Puffs on the top shelf made her smile.

“What?” He pulled open a drawer and handed her a spoon. “Are you grinning at my juvenile selection of pantry foods?”

“That’s a big box of Cocoa Puffs.”

“Aren’t they a kitchen-pantry requirement?”

“I certainly wished that growing up, but not in my house. At least not unless it was a special occasion. My parents both worked full-time when I was growing up, and I went over to my grandparents’ house every day before school. My grandma’s idea of a quick breakfast is a bread roll with butter and jam or day-old biscotti to dip in her coffee.”

“Somehow that doesn’t make you sound deprived, if that’s what you were aiming for.”

Tess laughed as she squeezed a bit of honey into her mug. “How can I help?”

“I’m almost done, thanks. I have a red on the counter and a white in the fridge, if you’re up for wine.”

“I’d like to try this,” she said, picking a Barolo, “if you like red.”

“Sure.” He pulled a corkscrew from one of the top drawers. “How about you open it while I finish up?”

Mason had a beautiful salad prepared, and a small pot of gravy was warming on the stove. When he opened the oven, she spotted a ceramic bowl of mashed potatoes, another of green beans, and the veggie meat loaf.

As Tess opened the wine, she thought of her grandma. Nonna had taught her never to belittle someone’s effort in the kitchen by equating their work to trouble. “Wow,” she said instead. “Everything looks great. I can’t wait to try it.”

“Thanks. My, uh, slow season is in winter. Cooking is a hobby I’ve wanted to take up for a while. Like I said, before tonight I’d only ever made three different main dishes.”

“You said that, but you didn’t tell me what they are, aside from meat loaf, that is.”

“Want to guess?” Mason grinned as he carried over the salad bowl to a dining table long enough to bring to mind Beauty and the Beast. Mason had set two places, one at an end, the other in the seat adjacent to it. Tess’s heart beat at the intimacy of it.

“Absolutely. Let’s see. You grew up on a farm in rural Iowa, and your family is not Italian, so I’m guessing one of them is not lasagna.”

“You would be correct.”

“Hmm, what’s farmy to cook? I’m trying to picture the Cracker Barrel menu in my head. And before you ask, I only got to eat there when I went to Florida with my cousin’s family on vacation. Okay, let’s see. Chicken and dumplings?”

Mason chuckled. “Nope, though that’s one of my mom’s go-to winter meals.”

“Country-fried steak?”

“If we were playing hangman, you’d have a head and body.”

“Chicken pot pie?”

“And there’s a leg, or is it the arm next?”

Tess clicked her tongue and slid into the open seat next to him. “Pot roast?”

“Well done.”

“Really?” Tess waggled her eyebrows. “Pot roast and meat loaf. Two very hearty meals. Impressive.”

“I bet you hang before you guess the third.”

Tess pierced a bit of salad and silently counted off the meals she’d guessed. “Barbecue ribs?”

“Add the second leg. I can barbecue as well as the next guy, but I wasn’t counting it. Slathering a rack of ribs with some sauce and enjoying a beer while it sizzles over the coals isn’t the same as preparing a meal from scratch.”

“True, I guess.” She pointed her fork his way. “Don’t tell me. I’m going to get this.” She was halfway through a bite of salad when she smacked her palm against the table and hurriedly swallowed. “OMG, I’ve got it. I’ve totally got it. I know your third meal, Mason…” Tess paused. “I know your third meal, but I don’t know your last name. How weird is that?”

Mason sat back in his chair and took a sip of wine, appraising her, his mouth pulled up in the crooked smile that she adored. “With that reaction, this is the all-or-nothing round. Get it right, you win. Get it wrong, that’s the arms, feet, hands, everything, and you’re hanged.”

“I’m okay with that, only what’re we playing for?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that. Something bigger than who does the dishes, that’s for sure.”

Tess agreed with him. “How about winner calls it?”

His gaze dropped to her mouth for two solid seconds before returning to her eyes. “Yes, definitely.”


Author Bio:

Debbie Burns’ writing commendations include a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews for A New Leash on Love, as well as first-place awards for short stories, flash fiction, and longer selections. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and daydreaming, which, of course, always leads to new story ideas. She lives in St. Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine coon cat who everyone loves anyway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



This cowboy is falling hard.
Mason James is the responsible one who stayed behind to run the ranch while his brother, Rock, took off to play professional hockey. Women have used him before to get to his brother—and Mason intends never to get burned again. But after he meets quirky Tessa Kane at his brother’s wedding, Mason discovers he’s ready to take a chance on love.

Tessa Kane is a reporter on the verge of losing a job she desperately needs—unless she’s clever enough to snag a story on the famous Rockford James. But when she falls for her subject’s brother, she’s caught between a rock and a hard-muscled cowboy. What will happen when Mason finds out who she really is?



Author Bio:

Jennie Marts is the USA Today bestselling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. She is living her own happily ever after with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies, in the mountains of Colorado.

Friday, November 2, 2018


PQ2_DDDenise-Swansondangerously delicious-high res

Guest Post

Wait Until Dark 200x300

Wait Until Dark by Kat Martin

P.I. Jonah Wolfe knows trouble when he sees it. So when April Vale storms into his office at Maximum Security, all his warning signs flash red. April’s been accused of murder, except she has no memory of how she woke up in her coworker’s bed--drenched in his blood--shot with her gun. As the campaign manager for the mayor, April’s job is on the line. Even worse, her life may be on the line if she doesn’t figure out who’s trying to frame her.

The clock is ticking and the pair must find the killer... before April winds up dead.


The sound of voices cut through the pounding in her head, dragging her from a dark void into the light of day. As uniformed policemen streamed into the bedroom, April Vale looked down at her naked body and saw a sea of blood soaking the mattress. A naked man lay beside her, a bullet hole in the center of his chest.

A scream tore free as she recognized David Dean, Mayor Rydell’s campaign manager. Then strong arms hauled her upright and a wave of dizziness hit her, making her stomach roll. One of the officers draped a blanket around her bare shoulders and they hustled her over to a chair by the window.

Fighting a fresh wave of nausea, April gripped the blanket, her body shaking head to foot. “What...what’s happening?” She didn’t realize her hands were being cuffed together in front of her until she heard metal clanking and cold bands of steel wrapped around her wrists.

“What’s your name?” The room swarmed with policemen. The one in front of her was stocky and balding, in his early forties. A pair of EMTs rushed into the room and began working over the bloody man on the bed, but his eyes were open and staring at nothing and she knew he was already dead.

April swallowed the bile in her throat and fought to clear her head, but when she tried to remember where she was or how she got there, all she came up with was a blank.

“I don’t understand what’s happening,” she said, trying to keep the blanket around her.

“This will all go smoother if you cooperate,” the stocky policeman said. “Tell us your name.”

“I’m...I’m April. April Vale.” She glanced over at David. The hole in his chest seemed even bigger and bloodier than before.

“Can you tell us the name of the victim?”

Victim. A thick lump rose in her throat, threatening to choke her. “That...that’s David Dean. We work for Mayor Rydell.”

A young officer with black hair slicked straight back from his forehead walked up. “Looks like we’ve got the murder weapon, Sarge. It was right there on the floor next to the lady’s purse.”

April frowned, her mind foggy again. “Wait...wait a minute. What’s going on? I don’t understand.” Her fingers tightened on the blanket, trying to keep it in place over her naked body. “I don’t know how I got here. I don’t remember what happened.”

A gray haired man in a navy blue suit brought the gun over in a plastic bag. She recognized the little .380 she carried for protection.

I’m Detective Sullivan. Does this belong to you, Ms. Vale?”

She took a deep breath. “I think it’s mine. I have one like that. I have a legal permit to carry.”

The EMTs began checking her over, her blood pressure, her vision, whether or not she had a concussion.

“We need to get her to the hospital,” one of them said, “have her checked out, get a blood sample.”

“Hospital? I don’t want to go to the hospital.”

A female police officer walked up just then. “We’ve cuffed your hands in front of you so you can hold onto the blanket. If you cooperate, we’ll leave them that way. If not, we’ll have to cuff them behind your back.”

She closed her eyes. This couldn’t be happening. “You think I shot him? I don’t even know how I got here.”

The woman’s expression never changed. “You need to go to the hospital. We need to make sure you’re okay. If you were drugged, it’ll show up in your tox screen.”

Tox screen. Drugs. Her pistol and a dead man.

That’s when it began to sink in how much trouble she was in. That’s when April’s brain finally started working and she began to figure out what she needed to do--before things got a whole lot worse.

At the sound of the glass front door swinging open, Jonah Wolfe looked up to see a tall, leggy redhead walk into the office.

“I hope she’s looking for me.” Jason Maddox, one of the country’s top bail enforcement agents and one of Jonah’s best friends, had an eye for beautiful women. This one definitely met Jase’s exacting standards.

But being a former undercover police officer, Jonah noticed more than her stunning face and figure. Her hands were shaking as she approached the receptionist desk and her face was pale. He wondered what kind of trouble the lady was in.

“May I help you?” The receptionist, Mindy Stewart, shoved up the tortoiseshell glasses perched on the end of her nose. She was petite and cute, and smart enough not to date any of the confirmed bachelors who worked at Maximum Security.

“My name is April Vale. I’m looking for Jonah Wolfe.”

When Maddox groaned his disappointment, Jonah’s focus sharpened on the redhead. He rose from behind his desk and started toward the front of the office. A waiting area with a dark red tufted leather sofa and matching chairs, oak coffee and end tables, gave the place a western feel that perfectly suited the misfit Texans who worked there.

“I’m Wolfe,” Jonah said when he reached her. “What can I do for you?” His gaze ran over her, taking in her spectacular curves. He couldn’t help hoping she needed him for something a lot more intriguing than his skills as a private detective.

He might have smiled, would have if a TROUBLE sign wasn’t stamped in the middle of the pretty lady’s forehead.

“My name is April Vale. Thank you for seeing me.

“No need to thank me, Ms. Vale. I haven’t done anything yet.”

“I’m hoping you will.” She had the face of an angel and legs that went on forever. But she was a redhead and all that fiery hair just ramped up the warning signs flashing in her big blue eyes.

“Is there somewhere we can speak in private?” April asked.

“Conference room. Follow me.” As he led her down the hall, she caught an appreciative glance from Jax Ryker and Dante Romero, the only other guys currently in the office, but she didn’t seem to notice.

“This way.” Jonah held open the door to a glass-walled chamber with a long oak table seating twenty. April walked in and he waited for her to take a seat.

She smoothed the navy blue pencil skirt she was wearing with a pair of sky high heels. She looked good. Classy but not completely untouchable. “As I said, I appreciate your seeing me on such short notice.”

“Not a problem.” Jonah leaned back in his chair. “All right, April, why don’t you tell me why you’re here?”

She took a deep breath, drawing his attention to the full breasts he’d been doing his best to ignore. Since he never mixed business with pleasure, he shoved the buzz of attraction he was feeling to the back of his brain.

“I work for Mayor Rydell,” April said. “Currently I’m.... I was just released from police custody a short time ago, Mr. Wolfe. That’s...that’s why I’m here.”

Jonah straightened in his chair. “You were under arrest?”

“Officially, I haven’t been charged yet. But the charge could be murder.”

Jesus. He hadn’t seen that one coming. Now she really had his attention. Jonah leaned toward her. “So who did you kill, Ms. Vale?”

Guest Post by Kat Martin:

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought it might be fun to talk about my second favorite holiday (after Christmas, Thanksgiving!

With its glorious red, yellow, and gold colors, Fall is my favorite season of the year. Then in November, on Thanksgiving day, we have a big family gathering. We cook a huge turkey stuffed with old-fashioned dressing and serve it with mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, candied yams, fresh vegetables, hot dinner rolls, and pumpkin or pecan pie for dessert (or both!).

We start in the morning and cook all day, then sit down to a table filled to overflowing with the goodies we have been blessed to prepare. We have kind of an open-door policy for friends and neighbors--anyone who, for whatever reason, hasn’t got a place to go that particular year. It always adds a fun element to the get-together.

Since I love this holiday, I thought I would share a favorite recipe a dear friend gave me. It’s been so long ago, making it every year has become a family tradition. The best part is that every year when I read Sally’s recipe card, see her handwriting in fading blue ink, I think of the friend I haven’t seen in years. Cooking her dish makes me appreciate her friendship all over again.

So here it is. I hope you like it as much as we do.


Cook turkey neck and giblets in pan of boiling water until done (about 1 1/2 hours).

1 can chicken broth

2 cubes butter

1 can sliced water chestnuts and juice

1 small can sliced mushrooms and juice

1 small can of olives (drained)

l whole apple chopped (peeling off or on)

l medium onion chopped

1/2 cup of pecans

3/4 cup of raisins

1 egg (optional)

1 box stuffing mix (cornbread or regular)

Peel cooked turkey meat off neck and set aside. Chop remaining cooked giblets and set aside. (Leave some for turkey gravy.) Pour can of chicken broth into large saucepan. Add sticks of butter. Bring to a low simmer. Add turkey. Add mushrooms and juice, water chestnuts, sliced olives, chopped onion, chopped apple, raisins, and pecans. Beat egg and add to mixture. Simmer until onion and apple are cooked.

In large missing bowl, place both packets of stuffing mix (I usually buy 2 boxes so I can add a little extra to achieve the right consistency) Pour chicken broth/giblet mixture over stuffing a little at a time, stirring as you go. Add thyme, sage, salt and pepper to taste.

When you are finished, stuff your turkey (stuff the old boy, my friend’s recipe card says), or grease 9 x 13 inch backing pan, load stuffing into pan, and bake for forty-five minutes at 350 degrees.

When you take it out, you will have a great, old-fashioned raisin-pecan stuffing for your table that I hope will become a family tradition.

And since it’s November, I hope you will watch for my new digital novella, WAIT UNTIL DARK, the prequel to my upcoming Maximum Security series that starts with THE CONSPIRACY, out January 22nd. Till then, happy Thanksgiving! Kat.

About the Author:


New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, BEYOND CONTROL, hit both big lists … NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST as well as the USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS LIST. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.




For October, Kat Martin is giving away a copy of AGAINST THE NIGHT to two winners (winner’s choice of eBook or print format).

For November, Kat Martin is giving away a copy of AGAINST THE WIND to two winners (winner’s choice of eBook or print format).

WAIT UNTIL DARK — eBook on sale November 1st, but available for pre-order now!

Don’t miss the thrilling prequel to New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin’s brand-new series, Maximum Security!




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