Alphaville by Christine Warren Blog Tour and Excerpt

Novel Reaction is excited to be participating in the Blog Tour for Alphaville, a new series of books by Christine Warren set in her The Others series.  I have been a fan of The Other series for a number of years, I’m not going to say how many years because that might reveal my true age but we’ll just say more than five and I did have actual print copies before rebuying them so I could have the entire collection in ebook format for those times I binge reread them, which has happened more than once.  Do you reread favorite series?

I am pleased to be able to share with you an excerpt from Baby, I’m Howling For You, which will be available on January 30, 2018. I was lucky enough be receive an advanced copy and you can read my review here.

Chapter One


The valiant old Nissan ran out of gas thirteen miles short of her destination. Renny would ponder the irony of that number some other time. Right now, she needed to run, and run fast.

She jumped from the car the minute it stopped moving, abandoning the vehicle on the shoulder of the two-lane highway. Before she reached the tree line, she was already tearing off her shirt, ignoring the chilly bite of the pre-spring March air. She threw the garment aside and immediately reached for the button of her jeans. She continued to hop forward as she struggled out of the confining denim, but the minute that last restriction fell away, she shifted.

Fur replaced skin, arms became forelegs. Between desperate breaths, humanity slid away, and in the place of the panicked woman, a sleek red wolf began to weave through the trunks of the trees.

Her claws dug through the lingering patches of wet, heavy snow and soft leaf litter to the soil of the forest floor, flinging small clumps of mud into the air in her wake. She needed to put as much distance as she could between herself and her pursuers. She might not have seen them on her tail from the highway, but it wouldn’t take much longer. They were the reason she hadn’t been able to stop for gas for the last couple of hours. They’d already chased her across two state lines and more than five hundred miles, and that was just this time. Somehow, she couldn’t picture them giving up now.

She didn’t bother to think about what she’d left behind on the roadside. If the pack caught up to her, it wouldn’t matter whether or not someone ransacked her car and stole all of her worldly possessions. She didn’t think she’d need a good book or many changes of clothes in the afterlife.

If there was such a thing. Frankly, Renny wasn’t all that anxious to find out.

Keeping her head down and her feet moving, she continued to track north and west from the roadside, calling up the map in her head to guide her in the right direction. The last road sign she’d seen had put the Snoqualmie Pass about twenty-five miles northwest by the highway. Heading directly north instead should put the town center of her destination somewhere in that thirteen-mile range, so she had to keep running. Just a little farther.

Alphaville, or die trying.

The town of Alpha, Washington, had shimmered like a mirage on her horizon for years now. As a pup, she’d heard stories—everyone heard stories—of the northwestern town founded and run by shifters as a haven for those of their kind with nowhere else to go. Wolves driven from their packs, bears with injuries and scars inflicted by careless hunters, lions who couldn’t control their shifts, leopards who needed to change their spots—they all went to Alpha, and they all, eventually, got better.

Surely a town like that could provide a safe haven to one small wolf with a teensy-tiny little stalker problem. Right?

Please, Goddess, let her be right.

Renny’s ears swiveled back and forth as she ran, their extra-large proportions helping to catch and funnel in the sounds of pursuit. And damn it, she thought she heard the first indications of it already. They’d found the car, and even if the muddy snow weren’t perfect for holding tracks, they knew she would have fled into the forest. That was what wolves did, after all.

She poured on another burst of speed, paws barely seeming to skim the cold ground as she flew toward sanctuary. Or what she prayed was sanctuary, anyway. If she was wrong, she wouldn’t live to regret it.

The first staccato bark confirmed her fears. One of her pursuers had picked up her scent trail and was alerting the others to the location. Now it was only a matter of time before they found her. All she could do was run and pray she made it to safety before they all caught up.

If just one came at her, she could handle it. In a fight between a lone wolf and a single coyote, the wolf almost always won, even a smaller and lighter red wolf like her. Which was why Geoffrey had sent five of them after her. No way could she beat those odds. Five trained male enforcers of any species against little ol’ her? She’d need to be a polar bear to survive that.

Branches snapped behind her, urging Renny to move even faster. If the coyotes on her tail weren’t worried about making noise, then they wouldn’t bother choosing a clear path to follow her. They’d plow through anything to take the straightest line right to her. Clearly, her nemesis had instructed them not to mess around anymore.

A sharp yip of anticipation gave her a single instant of warning, and that will to survive made her dip her shoulder and twist into a sharp right turn. She dove into the underbrush, ignoring the clumps of snow that plopped onto her head and the way the thorns ripped through her thick fur to scrape at the skin beneath. She could warm up and lick her wounds later, when she was safe.

If she managed to save herself at all.

The unexpected maneuver may have gained her a few inches of distance between herself and the lead coyote, but that didn’t last. She could feel the enforcers closing in again, harrying her as if she were some kind of prey animal, like a wounded deer on the way to becoming the pack’s next meal.

The comparison fit way too close for comfort.

Buy Links:

 

SOMETHING TO HOWL ABOUT:

Macmillan

B&N Nook

Google Play

Kobo

Ebooks.com

iBooks

 

BABY, I’M HOWLING FOR YOU

Macmillan

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound

Powells

 

Social Links:

Twitter – @ChristineWarren

Facebook– @ChristineWarren

Author Website Filip Chytil Jersey

Baby, I'm Howling For You Book Cover Baby, I'm Howling For You
Christine Warren
Fiction
St. Martin's Paperbacks
January 30, 2018
320

WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps. Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her... Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life...even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels? “Warren is a master of paranormal romance.”—Night Owl Romance

Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray Blog Tour and Excerpt

Novel Reaction is excited to showcase Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray and provide an excerpt for our readers.

Her Secret

by Shelley Shepard Gray

on Tour April 17 – 28, 2017

Synopsis:

Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray begins a new series—The Amish of Hart County—with this suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she’ll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he’s misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

Book Details:

Genre: Amish Fiction
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 272
ISBN: 006246910X (ISBN13: 9780062469106)
Series: The Amish of Hart County #1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 2

Someone was coming. After reeling in his line, Isaac Troyer set his pole on the bank next to Spot, his Australian shepherd, and turned in the direction of the noise.

He wasn’t worried about encountering a stranger as much as curious to know who would walk through the woods while managing to disturb every tree branch, twig, and bird in their midst. A silent tracker, this person was not.

Beside him, Spot, named for the spot of black fur ringing his eye, pricked his ears and tilted his head to one side as he, too, listened and watched for their guest to appear.

When they heard a muffled umph, followed by the crack of a branch, Isaac began to grow amused. Their visitor didn’t seem to be faring so well.

He wasn’t surprised. That path was rarely used and notoriously overrun with hollyhocks, poison oak, and ivy. For some reason, wild rosebushes also ran rampant there. Though walking on the old path made for a pretty journey, it also was a somewhat dangerous one, too. Those bushes had a lot of thorns. Most everyone he knew chose to walk on the road instead.

He was just wondering if, perhaps, he should brave the thorns and the possibility of rashes to offer his help—when a woman popped out.

The new girl. Hannah Hilty.

Obviously thinking she was completely alone, she stepped out of the shade of the bushes and lifted her face into the sun. She mumbled to herself as she pulled a black sweater off her light-blue short-sleeved dress. Then she turned her right arm this way and that, frowning at what looked like a sizable scrape on it.

He’d been introduced to her at church the first weekend her family had come. His first impression of her had been that she was a pretty thing, with dark-brown hair and hazel-colored eyes. She was fairly tall and willowy, too, and had been blessed with creamy-looking pale skin. But for all of that, she’d looked incredibly wary.

Thinking she was simply shy, he’d tried to be friendly, everyone in his family had. But instead of looking happy to meet him or his siblings, she’d merely stared at him the way a doe might stare at an oncoming car—with a bit of weariness and a great dose of fear.

He left her alone after that.

Every once in a while he’d see her. At church, or at the market with her mother. She always acted kind of odd. She was mostly silent, sometimes hardly even talking to her parents or siblings. Often, when he’d see her family in town shopping, she usually wasn’t with them. When she was, he’d see her following her parents. With them, yet separate. Silently watching her surroundings like she feared she was about to step off a cliff.

So, by his estimation, she was a strange girl. Weird.

And her actions just now? They seemed even odder. Feeling kind of sorry for her, he got to his feet. “Hey!” he called out.

Obviously startled, Hannah turned to him with a jerk, then froze.

Her unusual hazel eyes appeared dilated. She looked scared to death. Rethinking the step forward he’d been about to do, he stayed where he was. Maybe she wasn’t right in the mind? Maybe she was lost and needed help.

Feeling a little worried about her, he held up a hand. “Hey, Hannah. Are you okay?”

But instead of answering him, or even smiling back like a normal person would, she simply stared.

He tried again. “I’m Isaac Troyer.” When no look of recognition flickered in her eyes, he added, “I’m your neighbor. We met at church, soon after you moved in. Remember?”

She clenched her fists but otherwise seemed to be trying hard to regain some self-control. After another second, color bloomed in her cheeks. “I’m Hannah Hilty.”

“Yeah. I know.” Obviously, he’d known it. Hadn’t she heard him say her name? He smiled at her, hoping she’d see the humor in their conversation. It was awfully intense for two neighbors having to reacquaint themselves.
By his reckoning, anyway.

She still didn’t smile back. Actually, she didn’t do much of anything at all, besides gaze kind of blankly at him.

Belatedly, he started wondering if something had happened to her on her walk. “Hey, are you okay? Are you hurt or something?”

Her hand clenched into a fist. “Why do you ask?”

Everything he wanted to say sounded mean and rude. “You just, uh, seem out of breath.” And she was white as a sheet, looked like she’d just seen a monster, and could hardly speak.

Giving her an out, he said, “Are you lost?”

“Nee.”

He was starting to lose patience with her. All he’d wanted to do was sit on the bank with Spot and fish for an hour or two, not enter into some strange conversation with his neighbor girl.

“Okay, then. Well, I was just fishing, so I’m going to go back and do that.”

Just before he turned away, she took a deep breath. Then she spoke. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not making any sense.”

“You’re making sense.” Kind of. “But that said, you don’t got anything to be sorry for. It’s obvious you, too, were looking for a couple of minutes to be by yourself.”

“No, that ain’t it.” After taking another deep breath, she said, “Seeing you took me by surprise. That’s all.”
Isaac wasn’t enough of a jerk to not be aware that seeing a strange man, when you thought you were alone, might be scary to a timid girl like her.

“You took me by surprise, too. I never see anyone out here.”

Some of the muscles in her face and neck relaxed. After another second, she seemed to come to a decision and stepped closer to him. “Is that your dog?”

“Jah. His name is Spot, on account of the circle around his eye.”

“He looks to be a real fine hund.” She smiled.

And what a smile it was. Sweet, lighting up her eyes. Feeling a bit taken by surprise, too, he said, “He’s an Australian shepherd and real nice. Would you like to meet him?”

“Sure.” She smiled again, this time displaying pretty white teeth.

“Spot, come here, boy.”

With a stretch and a groan, Spot stood up, stretched again, then sauntered over. When he got to Isaac’s side, he paused. Isaac ran a hand along his back, then clicked his tongue, a sign for Spot to simply be a dog.

Spot walked right over and rubbed his nose along one of Hannah’s hands.

She giggled softly. “Hello, Spot. Aren’t you a handsome hund?” After she let Spot sniff her hand, she ran it along his soft fur. Spot, as could be expected, closed his eyes and enjoyed the attention.

“Look at that,” Hannah said. “He likes to be petted.”

“He’s friendly.”

“Do you go fishing here much?” she asked hesitantly.

“Not as much as I’d like to. I’m pretty busy. Usually, I’m helping my father on the farm or working in my uncle’s woodworking shop.” Because she seemed interested, he admitted, “I don’t get to sit around and just enjoy the day all that much.”

“And here I came and ruined your peace and quiet.”

“I didn’t say that. You’re fine.”

She didn’t look as if she believed him. Actually, she looked even more agitated. Taking a step backward, she said, “I should probably let you get back to your fishing, then.”

“I don’t care about that. I’d rather talk to you.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh?”

“Jah. I mean, we’re neighbors and all.” When she still looked doubtful, he said, “Besides, everyone is curious about you.”

“I don’t know why. I’m just an Amish girl.”

He thought she was anything but that. “Come on,” he chided. “You know what I’m talking about.”

Looking even more unsure, she shook her head.

“First off, I’ve hardly even seen you around town, only on Sundays when we have church. And even then you never stray from your parents’ side. That’s kind of odd.”

“I’m still getting used to being here in Kentucky,” she said quickly.

“What is there to get used to?” he joked. “We’re just a small community in the middle of cave country.”

To his surprise, she stepped back. “I guess getting used to my new home is taking me a while. But that doesn’t mean anything.”

Aware that he’d hurt her feelings, he realized that he should have really watched his tone. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just saying that the way you’ve been acting has everyone curious. That’s why people are calling you ‘The Recluse.’ ”

“ ‘The Recluse’?”

“Well, jah. I mean you truly are an Amish woman of mystery,” he said, hoping she’d tease him right back like his older sister would have done.

She did not.

Actually, she looked like she was about to cry, and it was his doing.

When was he ever going to learn to read people better? Actually, he should knock some sense into himself. He’d been a real jerk. “Sorry. I didn’t intend to sound so callous.”

“Well, you certainly did.”

“Ah, you are right. It was a bad joke.”

“I better go.”

Staring at her more closely, he noticed that those pretty hazel eyes of hers looked kind of shimmery, like a whole mess of tears was about to fall. Now he felt worse than bad.“Hey, are you going to be okay getting home? I could walk you back, if you’d like.”

“Danke, nee.”

Reaching out, he grasped Spot by his collar. “I don’t mind at all. It will give us a chance to—”

She cut him off. “I do not want or need your help.” She was staring at him like he was scary. Like he was the type of guy who would do her harm.

That bothered him.

“Look, I already apologized. You don’t need to look at me like I’m going to attack you or something. I’m just trying to be a good neighbor.”

She flinched before visibly collecting herself. “I understand. But like I said, I don’t want your help. I will be fine.”

When he noticed that Spot was also sensing her distress, he tried again even though he knew he should just let her go. “I was done fishing anyway. All I have to do is grab my pole. Then Spot and I could walk with you.”

“What else do I have to say for you to listen to me?” she fairly cried out. “Isaac, I do not want you to walk me anywhere.” She turned and darted away, sliding back into the brush. No doubt about to get covered in more scratches and poison ivy.

Well, she’d finally said his name, and it certainly did sound sweet on her lips.

Too bad she was now certain to avoid him for the rest of her life. He really hoped his mother was never going to hear about how awful he’d just been. She’d be so disappointed.

He was disappointed in himself, and was usually a lot more patient with people. He liked that about himself, too. And this girl? Well, she needed someone, too. But she seemed even afraid of her shadow.

***

Excerpt from Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

Shelley Shepard Gray

 

Author Bio:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

 

Catch Up With Ms. Gray On:
Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

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The Blind by Shelley Coriell Blog Tour and Excerpt

The-Blind-Release-Week-BlitzNovel Reaction is excited to show you a sneak peak of Shelley Coriell’s The Blind. I am currently enjoying this intriguing read and am loving having the main character be a bomb expert. Below you will find an excerpt to give you a taste of this new release.

Coriell_The Blind_MMTHE BLIND by Shelley Coriell (July 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Apostles #3)

As part of the FBI’s elite Apostles team, bomb and weapons specialist Evie Jimenez knows playing it safe is not an option. Especially when tracking a serial killer like the Angel Bomber. He calls himself an artist—using women as his canvas and state-of-the-art explosives as his brush. His art lives and breathes . . . and with the flick of a switch . . . dies.

As the clock ticks down to his next strike, Evie faces an altogether different challenge: billionaire philanthropist and art expert Jack Elliott, who’s made it clear he doesn’t care for Evie’s wild-card tactics.

Jack never imagined the instant heat for the Apostles’ defiant weapons expert would explode his cool and cautious world—and make him long to protect this woman. But as Evie and Jack get closer to the killer’s endgame, they will learn that safety and control are all illusions. For their quarry has set his sight on Evie for his final masterpiece…

The Apostles Reading Order

The Broken

The Buried

The Blind

_________________________________

At the door to the roof stairs, Jack dug into his pants pocket and frowned. He patted his suit coat and shirt pockets.

The frown reached his eyes.

“What is it?” Evie asked.

“I left my key card in my other suit coat.”

“No worries.” She dug into her bag and pulled out her key card. “I got us covered.”

He waved it off. “Visitor badges don’t allow roof access.”

She swiped anyway. The dot remained red.

Jack dug out his phone and jabbed at the face. He barked an order, then disconnected the call with another jab. “Security will have a man here in ten minutes.” He jabbed at the phone again. “Let me call my maintenance team and see if they can get here quicker.” His face now sported a full-fledged scowl.

“It’s not that big a deal, and there are worse places to be stranded.” Evie wandered back toward the garden. Back home in Albuquerque, she had a potted cactus garden one of her nephews had made her for her last birthday, the perfect type of garden for her as it could stand the heat, was small, and didn’t need much tending.

“As you keep reminding me, a clock is ticking.” More than a hint of irritation edged his words.

She laughed and sat on a bench near the copper-sheeted fountain. “This isn’t about a clock, Jack. It’s about you making a mistake.”

As expected, he strode to her side. “Excuse me.”

She propped her boots on the rock surrounding the koi pond. “You’re the type of guy who doesn’t make mistakes, and it ticks you off that you left your key card in your other coat.”

He watched the fish slide in and out of light dappling the waters before shaking his head and sitting next to her. “I take it you know this because you’re not the type of gal who makes mistakes.”

A laugh ripped from her chest. “Hardly.”

“There’s no room for error in the bomb business,” he argued.

“True. I don’t cross wires while at work, but I’m no stranger to messes.”

This time he laughed as he reached out and plucked a leaf from her hair. “So you get a little ruffled.” He held up the leaf.

She plucked it from his fingers. “Oh, no. I make full-on mistakes.”

“Like?”

“I think we’ll need more than ten minutes.”

“Like?” He kept that intense gaze on her, a man who commands attention and answers. But she didn’t have anything to hide.

She cupped her hands behind her head. Where to start? “Like having an egg hunt with my nephews last Easter in my mom and dad’s house and not being able to track down all the eggs. For three months the house stank until my mom unearthed the last of the rotten eggs, which six-year-old Tommy had hidden in a vent in the laundry room.”

“I call that unbridled enthusiasm.”

“And there was the time just last month when my teammate Finn Brannigan asserted his motorcycle was faster than my truck. Of course I had to prove him wrong, and I did until a cop pulled me over just as I got the speedometer past one hundred. Definitely a mistake, and for the record, we both got speeding tickets.”

“And that’s team bonding.”

She could see why Jack Elliott was so successful in business. He could put a twist on anything he wished. She unlaced her hands and let them fall in her lap. Did he even remember kissing her fingers? Did he sense the jolt his lips had sent through her entire body? “And then there’s last night.”

A vertical line striped the center of his forehead. “What mistake did you make last night?”

She grabbed his hand and twined her fingers with his. Last night he’d been vulnerable when he admitted his hope, his bone-deep desire, that his sister was still alive. Looking at him over their clasped hands, she said point-blank, “I should have kissed you back.”

Jack’s eyes sparked, and she knew he remembered the touch of his lips to her fingers. His shoulders, so wide they blocked the rising sun behind him, bounced in a soft laugh.

“You’re fearless.”

“Does that bother you?”

“No, not at all. I like strong, courageous, independent women.”

“Is that the type you take to your bed?”

“I . . .” He tilted his head, not a single wave of hair falling out of place. “Yes, it is.”

“That’s good to know.” Because knowns were always so much easier to work with. She was about to open her mouth, when the roof access door opened, a harried security guard rushing at them and apologizing for not getting there sooner.

For a solid five seconds, Jack stared at their clasped hands before turning to the guard. “No worries,” Jack said as he pulled her to her feet and walked her toward the stairs, their fingers still intertwined. Derek Stepan Womens Jersey

I Adored a Lord by Katharine Ashe #Excerpt and #BlogTour

Novel Reaction is excited be a part of the Blog Tour for Katharine Ashe’s I Adored a Lord, the second book in the The Prince Catchers series. First let’s get to know a little more about Katherine.

Katharine Ashe author photo finalAward-winning, best-selling author KATHARINE ASHE writes intensely lush historical romance, including How To Be a Proper Lady, among Amazon’s 10 Best Books of 2012 in Romance, and eight other acclaimed novels set in the era of the British Empire. With the publication of her debut novel in 2010, she earned a spot among the American Library Association’s “New Stars of Historical Romance.” She was a nominee for the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Fiction, and in 2011 she won the coveted Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure. Katharine is also a finalist for the 2014 RITA® Award, the highest honor in the romance fiction industry, for How To Marry A Highlander. She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History at Duke University, Katharine writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve high adventure and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit her at www.KatharineAshe.com.

I thoroughly enjoyed my way through I Adored a Lord (your can read my review here) and am thrilled to be able to share with you an excerpt from it.

He was nearly a head taller than she and certainly the most handsome man she had ever stood so close to, with his shirt of close-woven linen and waistcoat of brocaded silk. The whisker shadow of the night before that had scratched her chin had gone; his cheeks were smooth and high-boned, his jaw firm. “You seem remarkably comfortable with all of this.”

“I was at war, Miss Caulfield. There is little that can discomfit me now.”

But that was not the entire truth. He was not at ease as he seemed to study her features now.

“As you can see, I have knowledge that can help you find the murderer,” she said.

“What suggested to you that I have any intention of pursuing such a course?”

“Of course you have, or you would not have brought the body here and bribed the servants to keep it a secret from everybody else.”

“I did not bribe them.”

“You must have. I would have. After you tell the prince, I suppose he will summon the local law to investigate. When it arrives, let me help.”

“I cannot in good conscience allow that.”

“Then allow it in bad conscience.”

“Miss Caulfield—”

“You must allow me to help.”

“And yet I will not, despite my wish to please you.”

“You don’t wish to please me. You wish to thwart me.”

“You are correct. In this at least.” His gaze slipped to her shoulder, then her arms she was hugging to her waist, passing over her breasts as though they were not there. “Your lips are blue. You must retire to the warmth of your bedchamber. I will instruct Monsieur Brazil to send up a maid to build your fire again.”

“Aren’t you concerned that the murderer might realize we have discovered the body and will know that I know about it, and will come after me?”

That muscle twitched in his jaw again, but she did not know if humor or pique inspired it. “Yes.”

“If you keep me close, he won’t be able to get to me easily.”

“Interesting choice of words from the woman who vowed not two hours ago that she would not in this life come close to me again.”

“To solve the mystery of the murderer,” she said, her tongue abruptly dry, “of course.”

“Ah.” A smile caught at the corner of his mouth, the dent peeking out. “Of course.”

“I have plenty to recommend me to this investigation that the local police will appreciate.”

“An expertise in deaths involving medieval armor, perhaps?”

“A female body.”

That stalled him. Again his gaze dropped but this time it more than grazed over her breasts; it lingered. “I will admit I am not seeing how that makes you an expert investigator to murder.” He lifted his eyes to hers. They were decidedly dark and not entirely focused. The night before, his eyes had looked like this when his body atop hers had become aroused.

“I can speak to the women at this party in a manner in which I suspect you cannot. In regular conversation that seems like gossip I can encourage them to reveal information that could be valuable to discovering why this man was murdered and stuffed into a suit of armor. I will investigate this murder whether you or the local police wish me to or not.”

There was a stillness about his contemplation of her that at once made her breathe more deeply and unnerved her.

“You have me against the wall, it seems,” he finally said.

“I do.”

“The moment I have cause for concern over your safety, I will remove you to the village.”

“You will do no such thing. You haven’t the right. I may not actually be a lady, but I am a guest of the prince—”

“Who will do as I advise.” He seemed entirely confident of this.

Suspicion prickled at Ravenna. “Who is to say you are not the murderer, and now that you know I have useful information you won’t dispatch me too?”

“None but me.”

She glanced into the darkness where the butler had disappeared, then back at the tall, dark man who had subdued her quite effectively in a stable the previous night. “This is the part where you pull out the bloodstained dagger, isn’t it?”

“Why wouldn’t I have done it earlier, before Monsieur Brazil knew of your involvement?”

“No doubt you only thought of it at this moment.”

“It seems I am carelessly shortsighted.”

“It does.”

“Miss Caulfield?”

“You are not the murderer?”

“Go to bed.” He grasped her fingers and tucked them around the lamp handle. For a moment his large, strong hand encompassed hers, and she thought that no man who murdered another could possibly have such a marvelously warm, gentle touch. Then he released her. “The prince will call the party together after breakfast. If you truly intend to assist in this—”

“I do.”

“You must have your wits about you.”

“I always have my wits about me.”

“I think I am coming to see that.”

“You haven’t dispatched me because you know you need my help.”

“Do I?” He took a half step closer. “Or perhaps I have not yet dispatched you because, as depraved as I am, when I look at your lips I can feel your body beneath mine in the straw. If I were to do away with you now, that scenario could never be repeated.”  …

 

I missed reading the first book in The Prince Catchers series but I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series.

The Prince Catchers Reading Order:

I Married the Duke

I Adored a Lord

I Loved a Rogue (February 2015) 

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