Brought to you by Toni Linenberger
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9/23/14

 

 

 

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Julie Kenner is releasing all three books in her Blood Lily Chronicles into one boxset! You can get your hands on all three books for just $4.99 for a limited time only, so if you love urban fantasy, make sure to get your hands on it today!

 

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About TAINTED (Book 1)

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner) …

“Can I just say that dying sucks?”

So begins the first installment of the Blood Lily Chronicles, an urban fantasy romance which introduces readers to Lily Carlyle, a tough-talking bad girl who’s been chosen to save the world, and Deacon Camphire, the darkly sensual man whose words seduce her, but whose actions suggest he’s hiding secrets of his own.

“A wonderful balance between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. A casual, catchy first-person point of view peppered with slightly more four-letter-words than the genre usually bears, mingled with a kick-ass heroine and a dangerous, smoking-hot hero makes for an excellent read.” The Discriminating Fangirl

When Lily Carlyle set out to kill a child molester, she never expected to die and be resurrected as an assassin. Especially not as an assassin charged with fighting the forces of darkness in the ultimate battle of good against evil. It’s the key into heaven, she’s told. And in light of her sins, without that key, she’s doomed to an eternity of suffering.

But even in the demon world it’s sometimes hard to tell your ally from your enemy.

And when Lily finds out the truth . . . well, there really will be hell to pay.

Amazon| Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

About Julie Kenner

Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.

Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.

J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

 

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Bitchy Bertha answers a question posed to the Agony Aunt at Express Uk:

Dear Bertha,

I know you will tell me the truth. I’m too terrified to make love to my partner in case she gets pregnant. When she and I first got together in 2009, we both agreed that we didn’t want children. (I already have a 23-year-old son from a deeply unhappy teenage relationship.) But recently, I’ve caught her looking at fertility and pregnancy stories on the internet. Now she’s saying that she may have changed her mind. She insists she’s still on the pill, but how can I trust her when she’s clearly going back on her word?

Sincerely,

Scaredy Blue Balls

 

Dear Blue Balls,

Have you never heard of condoms? If you want to have sex with a woman, or many women for that matter, but don’t want children (or STDs) USE A CONDOM!!! It’s within your partners right to change her mind, just as it’s in your rights not to father a child, but why place the burden of birth control on her?

Secondly, grow a pair and sit down and talk with her. How long do you actually think this sexless relationship is going to last? If she really wants children – or if she wants children more than she wants you, then you best get to saying goodbye. If you truly do not want more children then be a man and tell her that. Say “I am not willing to raise any more children. I love you, but I do not want children. If you want children I’m going  to free you from our relationship so that you can pursue a relationship that includes children.”

All this moping around, wanting sex but not trusting your partner is bull shit. Grow a pair and communicate man. And use a damn condom.

 

Sincerely,

Bitchy Bertha

 

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Brought to you by Toni Linenberger
Blonde Betty reviews
The Illustrious  Leader of the Intrepid BBs
9/16/14

 

TD&P RDL Banner

 

We are so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for the TALL, DARK, AND PARANORMAL Box Set with 10 full-length Paranormal Romances by 10 bestselling authors! This box set is only $.99 for a limited time! Go grab your copy NOW!

TD&P Box Set -Side

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes ** Kobo ** Smashwords

 

ABOUT Tall, Dark & Paranormal Box Set:

***Ten Thrilling Tales of Sexy Alpha Bad Boys – from some of the hottest names in paranormal romance, this $.99 limited-time boxed set has something for everyone, from werewolves to vampires, ghosts to demons, and witches to wizards. With over 825,000 words in these ten full-length novels, you’ll spend hours falling in love with each of these wickedly hot heroes.***

 

CRESCENT MOON by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling AuthorLori Handeland…

A cryptozoologist travels to New Orleans to investigate whispers of a wolf in the Honey Island Swamp.

 

FOREVER FREED by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling AuthorLaura Kaye…

A reclusive, empathic vampire falls in love with a woman he planned to kill, and must fight his ancient guilt, bloodlust, and an old vampire rival who threatens everything he holds dear.

 

SINS OF THE FLESH by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling AuthorCaridadPineiro…

Mick Carrera is a mercenary hired to eliminate problems, but the genetically engineered woman with the superhuman powers is nothing like what he expected.

 

SPELLBOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Opal Carew…

What is Lucinda, a tenth level wizard, to do when Destiny pairs her with a man who is utterly domineering, overwhelmingly masculine, incredibly irresistible and, according to her most trusted friend, extremely dangerous?

 

SPELL BOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling AuthorStephanie Julian…

A warrior born to defend. A young witch in need of protection. A dangerous desire neither of them expected.

 

HAUNTING A COWBOY – Brand New from USA Today Bestselling AuthorRandi Alexander…

When a ranch foreman hires a ghost whisperer to handle the spirit that’s haunting him, the attraction between them is…supernatural

 

HUNTRESS FOR HIRE by USA Today Bestselling Author Terry Spear…

He’s bound to get her killed, so why does the huntress desire the vampire-turned hunter more than life itself?

 

DEAD SEXY by USA Today Bestselling AuthorPaige Tyler…

Can her love save him from a curse worse than death?

 

ASMODEUS: DEMON OF LUST by Bestselling AuthorSara Humphreys…

When Kai Kelly discovers an unusual ring in the attic it leads to much more than she bargained for. She may not realize what she has in her possession, but the boys in Hell sure got the message.

 

BEAUTY AND THE BEST by Bestselling AuthorJudi Fennell…

Reclusive artist Todd Best hasn’t produced anything since the death of his wife…until aspiring romance novelist Jolie Gardener enters his life and turns it upside down.

TD&P Front Cover

Add it to your Goodreads Today!

 

About The Authors:

HandelandLori Handeland is a two time RITA Award winner and the New York Times bestselling author of the paranormal romance series, The Nightcreature Novels, as well as the urban fantasy series, The Phoenix Chronicles and the historical fantasy series, Shakespeare Undead. She also writes western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author PhotoLaura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink, Heroes, and Hearts of the Anemoi series.

 

 

 

 

 

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PineiroNew York Times and USA Today bestseller Caridad Pineiro is a Jersey Girl who just wants to write, travel, and spend more time with family and friends. Caridad is the author of over 40 novels/novellas and loves romance novels, super heroes, TV and cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

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Opal CarewNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Opal Carew is the author of erotic romance stories in which she makes offerings of hope, success, and love to her readers. As Amber Carew, she writes futuristic, urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and contemporary romance.

 

 

 

 

 

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JulianNew York Times bestselling author Stephanie Julian writes sophisticated, sultry romance for adventurous readers. She is happily married to a Springsteen fanatic and the mother of two sons who introduced her to the joys of Slipknot, Warped Tour and never-ending headaches.

 

 

 

 

 

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook

 

Randi Alexander author picUSA Today bestselling author Randi Alexander writes smokin’ hot romance with heroes who’ll have you begging to ride off into the sunset with them. Her emotional love stories sweep you off your feet, so prepare yourself to be rode hard and put up satisfied on the sexier side of happily ever-after!

 

 

 

 

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SpearUSA Today bestselling Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal romance novels and a medieval Highland romances series. Heart of the Wolf was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly‘s Best Book of the Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TylerPaige Tyler is a USA Today Bestselling Author of more than fifty books, including the new action-packed paranormal/romantic-suspense X-OPS and SWAT (Special Wolf Alpha Team) Series, both from Sourcebooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sara HumphreysSara Humphreys is an award-winning bestselling novelist of paranormal and contemporary romance. The mother of four teenage boys, Sara has been married to her college sweetie for twenty years. She believes in true love, great sex, and happily ever afters.

 

 

 

 

 

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook

 

FanellAward-winning, best-selling author Judi Fennell loves to laugh and loves love, so it’s no surprise there’s a little bit of each in every book she writes. Check out her fairy tales with a twist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt from Dead Sexy by Paige Tyler

 

“I had a great time tonight,” Simone said.

Drake grinned. “Me, too.”

She caught her bottom lip between her perfect white teeth and chewed on it thoughtfully as if unsure what she wanted to say next. It was probably an unconscious gesture, something she did whenever she was thinking, but to him, it was sexy as hell and all he could think about was kissing her.

Surely, one kiss couldn’t hurt. He desperately wanted to. He hadn’t kissed a woman in so long. It would be nice to see if he still remembered how.

Before he could stop himself, Drake tilted Simone’s face up to his and pressed his mouth to hers.

She tasted just as sweet and delicious as he thought she would. Her lips were soft and pliant under his as she kissed him back, her tongue eagerly seeking his out.

Drake groaned and slid his hand into her hair, deepening the kiss. Simone sighed into his mouth, running her hands up the front of his shirt to grasp his shoulders. The feel of her touch was like a tonic to his deprived soul and he let out another groan, deeper this time.

He ran his free hand up her side and around to her breast, cupping it through the soft material of her dress. He couldn’t stop himself and apparently, Simone didn’t want him to. She moaned and arched against him. He could feel the heat of her pussy through their clothes as she pressed up against his hard cock. Damn, she felt good.

Drake drew her bottom lip into his mouth and gently suckled on it before slowly kissing his way along the delicate curve of her jaw. Simone clutched his shoulders and tilted her head back. He eagerly trailed a path of hot kisses down her neck, then back up, his mouth finding hers again. Simone looped her arms around his neck, pulling him in even closer as their tongues met.

Down the hall, a door slammed, reminding him where they were.

Drake dragged his mouth away from hers, his breathing ragged as he tried to regain control. He had to get it together because he was about five seconds away from doing something really stupid. Like taking her to bed. “I should go.”

Her lips curved into a sexy, flirtatious smile. “Or you could stay.”

God, how he wanted to. But as much as he’d love to spend the rest of the night exploring every inch of her body, he couldn’t take the chance he might go zombie on her right in the middle of sex. Talk about coitus interruptus, And it had already been almost four days since he last turned, which meant he was already pushing his luck.

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Brought to you by Toni Linenberger
Blonde Betty reviews
The Illustrious  Leader of the Intrepid BBs
9/16/14


 

Boarded by Love by Toni Aleo

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: September 8th, 2014

Jude Sinclair here, hockey player for the Bellevue Bullies and lover of all ladies. Hockey’s in my blood, and not to sound full of myself, but I’m good at it…really good. The draft is within my reach—it’s mine to take—but that’s not the only reason people know my name. They know me because of my way with women. They know the score, and I aim to please. I just tend to stay away from repeat performances. In other words, I don’t do relationships beyond my family and friends. I’m happy with life. However, I should warn you that my story and how I see it playing out is about to change due to a certain redhead on campus.

She’s beautiful. Stunning. Breathtaking.

She’s my game changer.

He’s trouble from the moment I see him. I don’t know what I’m thinking, but from the moment I meet his gaze, I’m his. It’s a scary feeling.

I’ve never trusted anyone outside my aunt and uncle—and even that took months. I didn’t have it easy growing up. My mom was usually strung out, and she didn’t give me a second thought. Drugs and the men who paid her were more important to her. It was horrible, but I’m stronger today. Because of my past, security is what I need most. Money assures me that I can take care of myself today, tomorrow, and next month. I don’t want to ever be hungry or go without again, so I work hard for every penny.

Oh, by the way, I’m Claire Anderson. I’m a hard-studying sophomore at the University of Bellevue, dancer for the school dance team, and a burlesque dancer at a club, but that’s my secret.

You may think you know how our story ends, but you have no clue. It’s not easy falling in love… or living happily ever after. At first it may seem so, but when is anything worth having ever won without a fight?

Especially when you’re boarded by love.

 

Purchase:

AMAZON | B&N

______________________________________________________
About the Author
 

Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series: Taking ShotsTrying to ScoreEmpty Net, Falling for the Backup, and Blue Lines.
When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel.
She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog. Read more about Toni here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Brought to you by Toni Linenberger
Blonde Betty reviews
The Illustrious  Leader of the Intrepid BBs
9/15/14

 

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Thanks Kate and Toni for having me today! I am excited that TODAY is my release day for my romantic suspense series, Hot Pursuit.

I enjoy writing contemporary, but I switched for Hot Pursuit from romantic comedy to romantic suspense. I’ve been asked: Was it hard to switch from funny to suspenseful? The answer is no. It’s like finding the perfect outfit in your closet. Sometimes you want jeans and a T-shirt, sometimes you want a fancy dress and heels. Romantic comedy tends to be ‘thinner’ on the emotions and more about actions. With romantic suspense, it’s all about the emotions. Everything’s more intense, more focused. Character development is deeper in a completely different way, which makes for some very heated moments between Anna and Grif. It’s definitely got a little more spice than I usually write!

Please join me today for my Facebook Release Party. Many author friends are stopping by all day long (from Vi Keeland to Carrie Ann Ryan to Jenna Jacob. Even Barbara Vey!) offering fabulous giveaways and prizes. Join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/848703125141485/

 

 

A fun weekend at a friends wedding in Denver takes a bizarre twist for Anna Scott when her rental car is pulled over due to an “anonymous tip”. In her trunk…one dead body linked to warring crime families in Denver and New York. It should be easy for an innocent woman to be cleared for an innocent mix-up. But was it a mistake? The police aren’t so sure, and neither is the crime boss who wants vengeance for his son-in-law’s death. You see, Anna Scott didn’t exist a couple of years ago, she knows way too much about criminal procedures and about talking to cops. Anna Scott has a secret, and this twist of fate could not only expose her, but place her and anyone close to her in danger.

Jake Griffin is playing a dangerous game. He’s spent the last few months undercover in the Moretti crime family. Anna Scott is a big problem. Moretti assigns him to find out who she is, what she wants, and to kill her if she’s a threat. Jake needs to keep his nose clean and focus on taking down Moretti, not a sexy woman who is a complete mystery. He can’t stop thinking about her; her knowledge, her name, her dangerous associates, her fear, or the bone deep desire every time he sees her. Nick’s at war with the whole world over one alluring, yet vulnerable woman, and he can’t seem to stop taking dangerous chances where she’s concerned. The most dangerous of all might be trusting her with the truth.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Pursuit-1-Romantic-Suspense-ebook/dp/B00MVK5VTM

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/465595

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hot-pursuit-1-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hot-pursuit-1-jennifer-zane/1120171122?ean=2940046094114

Also available for pre-order on Apple.

 

Join Jennifer Zane’s mailing list to keep up to date on the Hot Pursuit series:

http://www.jenniferzane.com

 

RELEASE DAY PARTY!

Stop by Jennifer’s Facebook Release Day party with amazing author friends (Debra Holland, Vi Keeland, Jenna Jacob, Carrie Ann Ryan and more…) for great giveaways and prizes all day long. To join on the 15th, go here: https://www.facebook.com/events/848703125141485/

 

Excerpt: Copyright 2014 Jennifer Zane

This woman, Anna Scott, followed the lawyer with her eyes, but otherwise remained devoid of emotion. She didn’t look like she was on drugs—she definitely wasn’t amped up on meth, and if she was on some kind of downer or hooked on pain meds, she’d be unconscious or glazed over, not quiet and focused. I didn’t think she was in shock, even if Peters wondered just that. She just looked…in control.

I recognized the two detectives, Gossing and Werbler, who took seats on the other side of the table. They were good men and good detectives. If this woman had shot Bobby Lane, they would wheedle it from her.

Werbler began. “Do you know Bobby Lane?”

The public defender nodded at the woman. Anna Scott cleared her throat. “No.”

“Paul Moretti?”

“No. You know I’m from New York. I don’t know anyone here.” Her voice was soft, but deep with intent even though the speakers in the wall.

“Ever been to Denver before?”

“No.”

“Ever been to Scorch?”

“If it’s in Denver, then obviously I haven’t.”

“Come on, Ms. Scott, give us something to work with here, because otherwise I’m willing to believe you killed Bobby Lane.”

Anna Scott looked between the detectives. “You’re the good cop and you’ve drawn the short straw for bad cop. It’s not going to work. You know my name and all the other information about me you’ve been able to pull up on the computer in the past two hours I’ve been sitting here. You no doubt know I’m in town for the weekend with a friend for his sister’s wedding by seeing our hotel rooms were reserved for the wedding party.” She swallowed deeply, licked her lips. Why did I find that really hot?

“Boyfriend?” I asked Peters, keeping my eyes on the other room.

He shook his head. “Two hotel rooms, so I don’t think so.”

“Are you sure you don’t want some soda?” Werbler asked, pointing to the can.

“I’m not touching that can so you can get my fingerprints.”

Werbler’s mouth fell open, but he shut it quickly.

I lifted an eyebrow at her knowledge. She was a surprise. And a delight. I watched as the detectives shifted in their seats.

“Is she a lawyer?” I asked Peters.

“Records say architect. Runs her own business. Works from home.”

An architect that knew about the law.

“I flew in last night at eleven thirty, which I’m sure you know. Passenger records are easy enough to obtain, which I’m sure you’ve done. So being on a plane somewhere over Nebraska at the time of death with over one hundred other people is a pretty solid alibi.”

“Are you saying you know when he was killed?” Gossing asked. “Does that mean that you were involved, but maybe didn’t pull the trigger? Getaway driver, perhaps?”

The detectives were trying to fluster her. They’d made grown men cry before, but their attempts didn’t appear to be working now. Her hands hadn’t moved, her skin wasn’t flushed in anger. Nothing.

“I saw the man, you said Bobby Lane was his name? I saw him in the trunk of the car with the two traffic officers for about ten seconds. Rigor had set in because he was curled up in the fetal position. I don’t have to be an ME to know that means he’d been dead for at least twelve hours.” Anna tucked her hair behind her ear. Her first sign of movement. Her nails were short with a simple manicure. No wedding ring.

“Not a doctor? Parents? Anyone a doctor?” I asked Peters, my eyes focused on Anna.

I saw Peters look at a folder on the desk out of the corner of my eye. “Says her mother died when she was six, father when she was eighteen. No record of how. No siblings. No living relatives.”

I saw a small smile play at the corner of the public defender’s mouth. I could tell she was enjoying this. So was I. Holy hell, it was like watching a teacher scold two recalcitrant school boys. But I never had a teacher who looked like Anna Scott.

“Even if I had somehow shot him,” she continued, “I couldn’t have lifted him up from wherever I’d done it to place him in the trunk. I’m not big, or strong enough, to do it.”

I couldn’t tell with her sitting down, but she wasn’t more than five-five. Bobby Lane was a big man, well over six feet and hadn’t exercised in his life. The extra fifty pounds he’d carried around his middle was proof.

“Maybe you killed him when he was standing in front of the trunk and he collapsed into it after you shot him.”

“No blood. No bullet hole in the trunk. No GSR on my hands.”

“So you’re willing to test for gunshot residue?”

“I am.”

I had to know more. She was like a puzzle I had to solve. “Any information on IQ, medical records, being institutionalized?”

“What, you think she’s a psychopath? Sociopath? Schizo?”

“Doubtful, but she’s very smart, very knowledgeable…familiar with all this.” I waved my hand at the room around us. “How can she look so innocent and wholesome and be so…well versed in police proceedings? In death?”

“Ted Bundy looked pretty wholesome back in his day.” Peters shrugged. Not all answers were available. Some detectives had to dig for it. Sometimes they never learned all the answers. Peters was well aware of this. “All I know is that she acts like she’s got a stick up her butt.”

I cocked my head, watched her closely. “She acts like it. Act being the key word.” I looked at her eyes. Flat. Unfeeling, but focused. “She’s…scared. She’s hiding behind, what’s the word?” I snapped my fingers. “Aloofness. As if this isn’t affecting her. I bet she’s shitting a brick on the inside.”

Anna took a deep breath and I enjoyed watching her breasts rise and fall. Calm as can be, she continued. “As for the car, I put my rental agreement in my carry-on when I left the lot at the airport last night. I assume you checked with the company and know that car isn’t mine. Since I have an alibi, and the car isn’t mine, the only explanation is that my car is still in the lot at the hotel.”

It was the detectives’ turn to take a deep breath. The public defender tapped her pen on the table.

The answer clicked into place for me. She was right. She’d been in the wrong car.

“Valet,” I said.

“What?” Peters asked.

“The valet.” I pointed at her. “No way this woman parks her car in a dark hotel lot after midnight when she got in. She’s too smart to do something as dangerous as that. She flew in with a friend. I’m guessing he has his own rental since he’s part of the wedding party. Probably has wedding stuff she doesn’t have to do. A different schedule. He’s not her boyfriend. You said two rooms.” I paused, considered her through the glass. “She doesn’t trust him enough to drive her—definitely not a boyfriend or anyone close then. If he drove his own rental and they got separated from the airport to the hotel, she wouldn’t chance being alone in the lot. So she valets the car. She’s in complete control of everything. She has to be. She’s handling Gossing and Werbler like it’s their first day at the Academy.” I stood and paced in front of the window. “Fuck, it’s so simple. The valet gave her the wrong car. What kind is it?”

“Ford Taurus.”

I gave a quick bark of laughter, turned to look at Peters. “There are a million of them out there. I’m right, aren’t I?”

Before Peters could answer, Werbler spoke up. “Miss Scott, your rental is indeed in the parking lot of your hotel. It seems when you gave your ticket to the valet this morning he brought you the wrong car. They said you had a burgundy Taurus.”

“Maroon.”

“Excuse me?” Gossing asked, leaning his elbows on the table.

“My rental car is maroon, not burgundy.”

“You couldn’t tell the difference when the valet gave it to you?” Werbler wondered.

She arched one elegant eyebrow. “I’m not suggesting the car in question and my rental car are two different colors. What I’m stating is that the valet you questioned is clearly color blind since he doesn’t know the difference between the two. Perhaps he isn’t the most reliable of sources of information. How many cars did he valet this morning? How many were a Taurus like mine? You’re just wasting my time with this line of talk as you’re both smart enough to have already validated everything by my rental agreement with the car company ”

Maroon and burgundy were the same to me, but I was no artist, so what did I know? I couldn’t help but grin at her don’t-fuck-with-me tone and glanced over at Peters. The way she looked, all fresh and innocent, the way she dressed, all tame and soft, screamed prissy. But she wasn’t, because that type of woman did nothing for me. Annoyed the shit out of me. Anna Scott was…an anomaly. I read people. I was good at it. It was my job to be good at it. Saved my life a time or two. But I couldn’t get a bead on her. Which made her a challenge, and I loved a good challenge. And if said challenge happened to make me wonder what she was wearing beneath her prim little outfit, all the better.

I’d wager her appearance was all for show. Some kind of outward shell she showed to the world. Beneath, she’d wear soft lace and satin. Would her skin be as silky soft as it looked? Would her nipples be as pale pink as I imagined? I shifted against the table. “You’re right, this is interesting.”

“You’re telling me I’m sitting here in a Denver police station being questioned for murder because a valet didn’t look at his ticket and gave me a supposed burgundy Taurus instead of maroon,” Anna Scott stated matter-of-factly.

Werbler and Gossing shifted once again, embarrassment keen on their faces. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Then I’m free to go.” It wasn’t a question.

She glanced at her lawyer who gave a quick nod. The woman hadn’t said a word. It seemed Anna Scott didn’t really need legal council, just the protection one afforded her by law. The protection of keeping her mouth shut until she’d gotten her ducks in a row to defend herself.

“Yes, you are,” Gossing told her. “After you submit to a GSR test.”

“All right.” Anna Scott shifted her seat back, the metal scraping against the linoleum floor and stood. I was right, about five-five. Standing, without the table to shield her, she looked…fragile. Even with her shoulders back, her dark hair like a waterfall, her chin tilted in a way to make her look like she had a stick up her ass, she was lovely. Almost innocent of the world, which was the strangest statement since she’d obviously had a run-in with cops before, regardless of what her record said. My mouth went dry just taking in my fill. I took a sip of my now cold coffee. Winced at the miserable taste.

Her thumbs brushed slightly against her skirt, but other than that she was still. No smile, no sparkle in her eyes at her victory over the police. I’d be dancing a jig after getting myself out of a possible murder charge. That, or I’d need new pair of pants. I moved closer to the glass for a better look. She was damaged. Something had happened to her, but I didn’t know what. Hadn’t we all? Anyone who made it to adulthood had to have something happen to them. It’s how you survived that mattered. And it appeared to me that Anna Scott was surviving. And that was it.

A strange emotion settled in my chest, one I hadn’t felt in a long time. I tamped it down. No way was I going to feel something, anything, for this woman. The fact that she looked so alone—so aloof surrounded by so many—made me want to pull her into my arms and tell her everything was going to be okay. To protect her. I shook my head at my crazy thoughts. Women like her and those protective feelings only brought me trouble I didn’t want.

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