An Interview With Jeaniene Frost + Giveaway

The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny, #1)

Buy The Book:
In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…  -Goodreads

As readers wait with baited breath for her newest release, a New Adult story entitled The Beautiful Ashes.  WTF Are You Reading? was lucky enough to snag a bit of best selling author Jeaniene Frost's time for the chat below.

WTF:  What made you venture into the world of New Adult while at the same time embarking on a new series?

Jeaniene:  Back in 2007, when I first got the idea for The Beautiful Ashes, the New Adult (NA) genre didn’t exist. All I knew was that my heroine, Ivy, was too old for high school, yet too young to fit the “adult” mold that existed at the time. I ran into a similar issue back in 2006 with Halfway To The Grave. In my original draft, Cat was nineteen, but I was told by my agent that I had to age her up to sell.  Thus, in the published version, Cat was twenty-two, which was still far younger than many heroines in the adult market. With Ivy in The Beautiful Ashes, however, her age wasn’t really flexible. At twenty, Ivy is old enough to make adult decisions and deal with very adult situations, but she’s still finding herself on the inside. The fact that Ivy has to find herself while being thrown into a war between angels and demons, not to mention having a supernatural destiny that she’s unaware of, makes things that much more complicated.

WTF:  Do you find it easier/harder to write NA versus Adult?

Jeaniene:  NA eclipses the time frame between high school and “real” adulthood, or around the 18 – 25 range. So many significant things happened to me during that time period (moving out, first job, getting married, first death of a friend, etc) that I think it’s rife with emotional tension and significance. I didn’t find much difference between writing NA and Adult, actually. Perhaps it’s because, as I mentioned above, my heroine from my debut series was almost the same age as Ivy in The Beautiful Ashes. I do think NA provides a great way to explore all the drama of first loves, first heartaches, and being on your own for the first time, all while not being quite sure if you can handle everything that life throws at you. Who can’t relate to that?

WTF:  Where were you when the inspiration for The Beautiful Ashes struck?

Jeaniene:  Where I usually am when I get my best ideas – asleep. Seriously, ever since I was a child, I’ve had vivid, detailed dreams.  As I teenager, I used to write them down and make little stories out of them. Later, when I turned thirty, I took a vivid dream about a half-vampire woman arguing with a Master vampire man about why she’d left him years ago and turned it into the Night Huntress series.  With The Beautiful Ashes, my dream was about a girl who could see realms just beyond our own, but of course, everyone told her she was crazy.  When she ended up trapped in one, she found out all her “hallucinations” were real and that the other realms she’d glimpsed were inhabited by demons.  I switched things up a bit with that dream to make Ivy’s sister the one who’s trapped in the demon realm.  That way, the setting wasn’t stationary, and it gave Ivy motivation to go looking for a weapon that could take down demons. Of course, the only person who can help Ivy find this weapon is Adrian, a man with ties to the demons and a destiny that’s in direct opposition to Ivy’s.
WTF:  What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Jeaniene:  My favorite part is discovering more about my characters.  When I write, I have a sparse, general outline, much like you get with Mapquest directions.  Those might tell you where to go, but they don’t tell you what you’ll see, feel or experience along the way.  That’s how my writing process is. When I start out, I know the direction I’m headed in, but all the details come to me as I write, not before I write. That makes the journey fun, exciting and surprising for me.

WTF:  You seem to have a love affair with the written word.  When and how did it begin?

Jeaniene:  When I was twelve years old and I read my first romance novel!  Before anyone judges me, there was no YA genre back then.  You had Sweet Valley High, Judy Blume or Nancy Drew, and that was pretty much it. I wanted books with more depth, more emotional highs and lows, and romance novels gave that to me.  Then, I wanted to write something that would make other people feel the same way I had felt when I was reading them. It took me a while, but I hope that I finally did it.

WTF:  Do you concentrate on one project at a time, or are you working on several at once?

Jeaniene:  I have the writing equivalent of tunnel vision, so I concentrate on one project at a time.  Granted, I may have to do revisions on Book C while still writing Book B because with my release schedule, overlaps are unavoidable.  But I don’t write two new stories at the same time. I get very involved with my characters, when I write, so it’s too hard for me to split my attention between different stories/characters except to do the necessary edits.

WTF:  Have you ever solved an issue that you had with one story line while writing another?

Jeaniene:  No, probably for the reason I stated above. When I write, I am fully absorbed in the story in front of me.  I love those characters the most, I love that world the most, and I don’t even want to think about other stories. Then, when I’m done with that book, I move on to the next set of characters/story and abandon the one before it. Call me a literary two-timer *wink*.

WTF:  How does it feel to know that people are now having love affairs with your characters and your stories?

Jeaniene:  It is such a cool thing! Writing sometimes feels like forcing the voices in my head to earn their own living, so knowing that other people connect with these characters the same way that I do is a wonderful feeling.  Otherwise, I’m just a borderline schizophrenic who makes up different adventures for people who only exist in the dark recesses of my mind. I’d much rather call myself an author instead :).

About Jeaniene
Jeaniene Frost Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

For information on Jeaniene's books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit:

The Giveaway! 

Jeaniene is giving away two copies of 
The Beautiful Ashes
If you would like the chance to win,
leave a comment with a valid email address below telling us
your favorite Jeaniene Frost Book or Character.

This Giveaway Ends 8/26/2014

Kensington Books Presents: Kate SeRine's "Ever After"

Ever After (Transplanted Tales #4)Title:  Ever After
(Transplanted Tales #4)
Author:  Kate SeRine
Format:  ERC
Length:  284 pages
Publisher:  Kensington Books
Rating:  5 Stars

Buy The Book:  B&N Amazon Kobo  

To Catch a Thief…

For centuries, Gideon Montrose has served the King of Fairies without question and, often, without mercy. So when the King orders him to apprehend a notorious thief, Gideon obeys. But when he finally gets his hands on the beautiful culprit, Gideon’s in for a shock.

Arabella Locksley is none other than the spirited, unpredictable woman he knew back in Make Believe as Robin Hood — the love of his life whose tragic death destroyed his chance at Happily Ever After.

Now, he has an impossible choice. Betray the woman he once loved, or the king he’s bound to serve?

My Thoughts
The masterful weaver of dreams, authoress Kate SeRine is back, and the fourth offering in her Transplanted Tales series, entitled Ever After, is proving to be just as charmed as its predecessors.
This time around its all about Gideon.

That's right!  That sexy, aloof, and seemingly untouchable heartthrob, who stole reader hearts and set imaginations ablaze in Violet and Seth's story, finally gets his time to shine.
To say that Gideon is a man with layers would be quite the understatement.  It appears that this Unseelie empath is also a player in one of the most famous "tales" ever told.
You see my lovelies, it seems that our dear Mr. Montrose is none other than Little John of Robin Hood.
If that is not enough to set tongues wagging, the great love of his life is none other than Robin Hood herself.
Yes! You heard right.
Robin Hood is actually a girl, and it appears that Gideon was captured and pressed into the Seelie King's service while trying to save her from what he believed to be her death. hundreds of years have passed and Gideon has made quite the life for himself in the royal house of Seelie.
It is in fact, while hot on the trail of shipments of very potent, and very powerful Vitamin D, a fairy dust drug made and distributed by the king that he discovers that his long lost lady love is very much alive and well.
And...let then games begin!
Ever After, is choc full of the edge of your seat action, minute to minute plot twists, and complex characters that has made the Transplanted Tales a staple on so many shelves.
Authoress Kate SeRine manages to up the ante of fantastical  expectation with each addition to this wonderful series; book four being no exception.
Merging both old and new characters, bold and sexy plot lines, elements of mystery, magic, and mayhem, and a level of romance that has to be swooned over to be believed; Gideon's story is definitely one sure to keep pages turning and hearts burning for many a moon.

Can love truly conquer all?
Can one manage both love and duty?
Will there be a "happily" in Gideon's "ever after"?

For answers to these questions...and so much more, take a peak between the pages of Kate SeRine's Ever After.
Reviewer's Note
Though this is the fourth full volume of a series, it may be enjoyed as a stand alone.  It is strongly recommended however, that it be read as part of its intended series.

Ever After Blog Tour Banner.jpg

All About Kate
Kate SeRineKate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) is a hopeless romantic who firmly believes in true love that lasts forever. So it's no surprise that when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed her characters would always have a happily ever after. She's the author of the award-winning TRANSPLANTED TALES series and will be releasing the TEMPLAR LEGACY series with Kensington and the PROTECT AND SERVE series with Sourcebooks in 2015/2016.

Kate is a member of Romance Writers of America and of Indiana RWA and has been a finalist in the Fire and Ice Contest (2010), the Finally a Bride Contest (2010), and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence (2013), and is the recipient of The Emily (2012) and the National Readers Choice Award (2012). She is represented by Nicole Resciniti with the Seymour Agency.

Kate lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project.

Kate's Links 

Grand Prize ($50 gift card to Amazon, B&N, or BAM - Winner's Choice); signed paperback copy of EVER AFTER, and Transplanted Tales swag
 And two winners will receive an e-book copy of the Transplanted Tales novel of his/her choice.
 The giveaway is international, but the swag may differ slightly for an international winner due to shipping costs.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take A Journey Into The Past With "Forbidden Kiss"

Forbidden Kiss
 Title:  Forbidden Kiss
 Author:  Shannon Leigh
Format:  ERC
Length:  243 pages
Publisher:  Entangled/Covet
Rating:  4 Stars

Jule Casale is the perfect daughter. Obedient. Trustworthy. Loyal.  With her high profile Italian family, her public image must be impeccable. And now to gain the respect and position she's desired in the academic world, she hopes to discover the unknown artist behind a masterpiece of Renaissance art.

Rom Montgomery seeks the unobtainable: forgiveness. Those who could grant him relief are dead. Instead, he wanders across continents and through time searching for salvation and the means to right an ancient wrong. But when Jule comes knocking on his door, it's the closest he's ever come to finally finding redemption. The closer Rom draws to correcting his past mistakes, the more his secrets threaten to destroy the woman who might hold the key to his future.  -Goodreads

Excerpt from
Forbidden Kiss
by Shannon Leigh
Copyright © 2014 by Shannon Leigh. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Chapter One
Jule Casale stomped her Kelly-green rainboots on the top step of the converted warehouse. Fat droplets of water flew to the concrete, adding to the existing puddles forming in the hollows of the aging stoop.
Typical Chicago. The promise of spring, so fresh and bright this morning, turned to torrential rain by late afternoon, soaking everything, including moods. But nothing would sour her outlook. Nope. Not with the tiny victory she’d achieved at finding one Rom Montgomery, the difficult SOB.
So it was with the memory of that success in her mind that she rang the bell for the third time before the lock sounded and the door opened.
And there he was. The reclusive and enigmatic Rom Montgomery, the bad boy collector of the fine antiquities world who defied the press and guarded his privacy with fists and curses. So private, he almost didn’t exist according to her research. At least not before ten years ago.
He’d appeared on the antiquities scene like a bear in winter, unpredictable and unexpected. Aggressive and hostile. A predator who knew his quarry. He’d quickly established a reputation as a collector of ancient swords, and today occupied the top position as global expert on metallurgy and ancient weapons.
Except right now in the waning light of late afternoon, on the wet back alley entrance to a hidden gallery, he wasn’t reclusive at all—he was close. Looming. Intimidating. Practically in her face. She couldn’t make him out other than as generally large and muscular, and her impatience regarding his aggression after her long investigation to find him flared to life.
Antagonistic bastard.
Jule refused to take a step back into the rain to accommodate such a display, but she did lean back to take him in. All—what appeared to be—six feet and more of him. If she didn’t have five older brothers cut from the same broad shouldered, towering cloth, she might have the good sense to be cowed. Instead, she became prickly as she did when backed into a corner—physically speaking.
“Rom Montgomery?” she demanded.
His whiskey colored eyes glowed in the shadows of the stoop, almost backlit by an internal fiery light.
“A question? Really? Seems unnecessary since you made it to my unmarked door off an inconvenient side street.”
So it was going to be like that?
“I’m Jule Casale,” she forced her hand into the space between them. “I spoke to you earlier this afternoon about the painting I’m trying to identify.”
He didn’t acknowledge the earlier conversation. He simply looked down at her outstretched hand like she’d offered him a stack of forms for an IRS filing.
“No thank you.” And he proceeded to shut the door in her face.
“Hang on. It’s important!” Jule reacted quickly, wedging her booted foot between the closing door and the jam. The door stopped short of crushing her foot, and reopened, an indifferent expression greeting her once again.
“I need to talk to you,” she said, her hand holding the door open.
“You need to talk to someone who cares. Or make it worth my while. I don’t consult for free.”
Jule had prepared for this. She’d looked long and hard for something to sway him to her cause.
Here goes nothing. “For your cooperation, I’m willing to get you an introduction to the Great Dane Rescue Society. I know you’ve been trying to hook up with them, but have been rebuffed by the founder.”
Jule counted the founder of the rescue group as a personal friend, and the woman had relayed Mr. Montgomery’s attempts at a women ‘n wine party, to not only donate money to the cause of caring for terminal dogs, but to host injured and special needs Danes in his home.
Rejection met his request. The determination: an unsuitable environment for animals with specific needs.
Jule wondered why the dogs were so important to him . Or why a guy with as much money as he had, cared about fostering terminal dogs. Had to be a story there, somewhere.
Whatever his interest, his current body language relaxed and Jule considered that yet another victory. A smile teased the corners of his full mouth. And the door opened wide.
“Come in.” He stepped back and admitted her.
Jule crossed the threshold into the proverbial bear’s lair and shivered involuntarily. She’d bought her way in, now to get him to help her identify the painting she’d been working on these last few months.
She followed him into a concrete and glass vestibule, noting how his dark T-shirt stretched tight across his shoulders and strained at the arms, revealing large, muscular biceps. Holy crap! This guy is ripped. The small number of pictures she’d seen of him didn’t do his body justice.
A tapered waist drew her eye to well-fitted jeans that encased strong thighs, and he had a nice ass. Really nice.
“Jule Casale. Related to Edmondo Casale?”
The nature of the question didn’t catch her off guard, just the fact he’d gotten to it before she even had her raincoat off. Seemed a bit rude, but then again, she was talking to a man who’d earned a name for himself with his sharp intellect and even sharper attitude.
“Yes, as a matter of fact. He’s my father.”
He grunted dismissively. “So you’ve come to discuss a painting?” He left her standing in the vestibule as he moved through an arched brick opening and into the gallery proper. She joined him, shrugging. If he didn’t care about rainwater dripping everywhere, neither did she.
Swords, knives, daggers, and blades of every length and design served as art. They hung on the walls, lit from above, and were ensconced in cases, resting on rich velvet. There were even some lying freely on the desk and scattered on the few tables visible in the room.
It gave Jule the willies all the way down to her cotton candy pink toenail polish. For the first time, she questioned her decision to force her way into the man’s domain.
Too late now.
Shaking off good common sense (a Casale trait), she stiffened her spine and planted herself directly in the middle of the room.
“I told you on the phone, Ms. Casale,” he made her name sound like a weapon, sharp and hard like the swords hanging on the walls. “I don’t have any expertise in Renaissance art. Did you need to hear it in person?”
He had indeed told her the very thing and then promptly hung up.
“Look, I’m sorry if my father has done something to upset you. We’re not in the same business at all.” How many times did she have to apologize for her father’s mistakes? “But I’m here because the art world needs your help.” She reached in her pocket to retrieve the envelope of color images.
As the world’s foremost collector and dealer of swords, both ancient and medieval, Montgomery could be her best and perhaps only hope to unlocking the identity of the painting in her possession.
“This is what I wanted you to see,” she said, moving close enough to show him the glossy photos.
The barest flicker of recognition flared to life in his eyes. It was a tiny spark, but it grew brighter the longer he looked.
Jule’s heart beat faster beneath her woolen sweater. He knew! And he would tell her. And then she could identify the painting and present her findings to the museum. The open slot for curator of early Italian Renaissance art had her name all over it.
With an audible exhale, Montgomery slipped the photo from her hand, brushing Jule with his fingers as he did so. The calluses on his fingers rasped against her softer skin, sending a trickle of warmth from her heart to her abdomen.
One of Mama Casale’s infinitely silly, but astonishingly profound refrains boomed inside her head. “When you finally meet him, the one, you’ll know it because your insides will feel topsy-turvey,” she’d said.
Jule’s insides felt neither topsy nor turvy, but intact, if not somewhat awakened, as if she’d been slumbering for too long.
Montgomery walked into a shaft of overhead lighting. The light draped his head and shoulders, creating a play of shadow and illumination on his face. She noticed the five o’clock shadow for the first time, framing his strong, square chin and lips.
While he examined the photos, she examined him and found herself falling into a memory, caught in a replay.
He stood across the hall, an unrecognizable figure among a sea of family. A hooded cloak shadowed his face until he leaned on a column near the servants’ entrance. Overhead torchlight revealed the man, barely out of boyhood. Soft light bronzed the planes of his face, easing the pain and sorrow he so obviously carried. Why someone so young amidst a joyous masquerade ball should be so sad, she knew well.
Because her heart bled, too. She was to be engaged to one she did not love.
Tonight, they celebrated.
“Ms. Casale.”
Jule’s head snapped up. She glanced around the room, looking for the torchlight and the young man who looked impossibly like Rom Montgomery.
What had she been doing? Dreaming? And why did she have this overriding feeling of crossing a forbidden line? Like being with Montgomery was going to get her into trouble.
Because he was trouble.
“Yes?” She responded, feigning attention.
Montgomery had crossed to her side, the photos forgotten for the moment. Concern furrowed his brows. Warm. He was so damn warm. It would feel right falling into his arms.
What the hell is wrong with me?
“You okay?”
“Sure. Just chilled from the rain.” What else could she say? Yeah, I just had this weird flashback to a memory I don’t own, but no worries, I’m not crazy.
Except, maybe she was crazy.
Refusing to lose her momentum in pursuit of answers, she said, “I take it you have seen the sword in the painting before?”
He studied her silently for several seconds and Jule prayed he wouldn’t escort her out. The moment was awkward and she resisted the urge to squirm and shuffle her feet. The intensity of his perusal made her nervous—and dammit, kind of excited?
She stared back at him, noticing his impossibly long lashes. Her gaze drifted down to his soft lips. She imagined they would be supple against hers, but his fierce attitude would create an urgency and dominance that could overwhelm her.
Feeling like a teenager about to be rejected when emotionally overextended, Jule jerked her eyes back up to his. His steady gaze didn’t waver, but it seemed softer than it had been previously—almost caring.
Her heart thudded in her chest as he spoke.
“I know of the sword, yes. But it’s not a very exciting history.” He strode to an ebony cabinet and pulled two highballs from an interior shelf. “Can I get you a drink Ms. Casale?” He said it in an offhanded manner, as if he were only being polite. But nothing about the man was truly polite—in fact, he was all fierce authority.
She didn’t want to come off as submissive, so she said, “Absolutely. How about I make it?”
Jule joined Montgomery at the liquor cabinet and sorted through the bottles inside. That’s when she saw it. The dagger. Not just any dagger like those decorating the walls, but the one.
Blood rushed from her head in a startling whoosh and Jule almost fainted. She definitely staggered as if she’d already consumed the alcohol. She knew that knife. Intimately. Knew the feel of it in her hand, its cold metal against her skin. She knew without looking the fineness of the polished mahogany hilt and the evenness of the grain.
She knew the weight of it.
And how it felt cutting into her flesh.
My Thoughts
This is a story that takes a little getting used to.
Ok, lets say the first third of the book or so. (kindle approximation)
Because it takes about that long for one to realize that everything referenced and alluded to in said third, in direct relation to Shakespeare's  Romeo and Juliet.
Rom, for Romeo.  Jules for Juliet.  Pio for Paris.
Ok, but before you beat yourself senseless for not seeing the thinly veiled correlation between this story and your time of drudgery through high school English; everything falls into place soon enough.
There is so much adventure for both Rom and Jule, that the modernization of this story really works.
Pio, and his sadistic obsession with Jules, make him the perfect villain.  The fact that his villainy is sanctioned, albeit unknowingly, by her father's backroom deal for her hand in marriage.
Can you say...drama?
Then there is Rom's quest to right the wrongs that have doomed him to roam the earth in search of his lady love.

This tale is one that allows for the dusting off of a classic read.  Giving it both a modern polish and a paranormal spin that makes it appealing to today's reader, without bastardizing the integrity of the work upon which it is based.
The romance level her is a slow and study simmer.
There is just enough heat here to draw readers into the relationship that Jules and Rom are trying to forge.

This is a wonderful retelling of Romeo and Juliet, that will use the present to make its reader fall in love with the past.


HFVBT Presents: Revenge and Retribution

02_Revenge & Retribution Revenge & Retribution, Book Six of the Graham Saga, from August 15 – September 5.
Publication Date: July 1,2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip
Series: The Graham Saga
Add to GR Button

Revenge and Retribution is the sixth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.
Life in the Colony of Maryland is no sinecure – as Alex and Matthew Graham well know. But nothing in their previous life has prepared them for the mayhem that is about to be unleashed upon them.
Being labelled a witch is not a good thing in 1684, so it is no wonder Alex Graham is aghast at having such insinuations thrown at her. Even worse, it’s Matthew’s brother-in-law, Simon Melville, who points finger at her.
Not that the ensuing hearing is her main concern, because nowadays Alex’s entire life is tainted by the fear of what Philip Burley will do to them once he gets hold of them – there is no longer any ‘if’ about it. On a sunny May afternoon, it seems Philip Burley will at last revenge himself on Matthew for every single perceived wrong. Over the course of twenty-four hours, Alex’s life – and that of her family’s – is permanently changed.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Alex also has to cope with the loss of one of her sons. Forcibly adopted by the former Susquehannock, Samuel is dragged from Alex’s arms to begin a new life in the wilderness.
How is Alex to survive all this? And will she be able to put her damaged family back together?

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014)
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)

  photo c61f8eb2-a52b-4cea-9d7f-4174b919371b.png

About the Author

Anna BelfrageI was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.
I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.
I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.
For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

My Thoughts
Revenge and Retribution is the 6th offering in the sweeping time travel saga of the Graham clan,
and to say that things have come a long way since Alex and Matthew spent all that time together, holed up in that cave in book 1, would be quite the understatement.
Leading lady Alex Lind, now Alex Graham, is  52, and very at home as a wife and mother to Matthew's expansive brood.
Though it appears, and several steamy love scenes can attest that the love and passion between Alex and her Scottish man is as hot as ever;  life for this family is far from tranquil.
Whether it be a feud with the Burleys, the threat of Native American uprisings, the loss of a son, being labeled a witch, or worse.
The Grahams manage to persevere through it all.
But for how much longer, and at what final cost?
Being in the middle of reading this series (somewhere around book 3) and having jump ahead a few books, has granted me the opportunity to witness the immense growth and polishing of this series over time.
Having had the pleasure of experiencing both present and past time periods expressed in this author's writings, I find that the past is where the lyrical and flowing descriptiveness of her prose is best allowed to shine.
The time spent with author Belfrage's characters in the 17th century, has been some of the best of my long and varied history as a reader.  Her settings, character expression, and interaction (both reader/character and character/character) is without equal, pulling the reader into the story from page 1.
Let's not forget the drama!  
Births, deaths, lies, secrets, betrayals...the list is endless!
This is a book and a series that will take both your heart and your head to places both light and dark, disheartening and uplifting, fantastic and frightening, but all utterly unforgettable!
 *Reviewer's Note
This series contains 6 volumes to date, which may be read in part or as a whole.  It is this reviewers strong suggestion however, that said series be read in its intended order to preserve the continuity of the story line, and to maximize reader enjoyment.  

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Friday, August 15
Review at Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 18
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, August 19
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 20
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Friday, August 22
Review at Layered Pages
Monday, August 25
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, August 27
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Friday, August 29
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, September 1
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, September 3
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, September 4
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, September 5
Guest Post at Kincavel Korner
Guest Post at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog

Let "Kidnapping The Brazilian Tycoon" Steal Your Heart

Kidnapping the Brazilian TycoonTitle:  Kidnapping The Brazilian Tycoon
Author:  Carmen Falcone
Format:  ERC
Length:  233 pages
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
Rating:  5 Stars
 Addison Reed lost her fiancé, but she’ll do whatever it takes to protect his legacy. When the gorgeous and arrogant landowner, Brazilian billionaire Bruno Duarte, who is thwarting her at every turn, refuses to meet with her, she puts her plan into action. He will 
listen to her.  

Bruno’s plan was simple: return to Brazil and marry to fulfill his father’s dying wish. But when his engagement crumbles, and he’s then stranded with an idealistic woman hell-bent on saving a tribe of people on his land, he sees the perfect solution. If his feisty and passionate abductor agrees to a bogus marriage, he’ll relocate the tribe.

With the Brazilian heat rivaling the growing heat of their desire, will Bruno and Addison abandon their respective plans and give in to each other, or will their differences tear them apart?  -Goodreads 

Excerpt from
Kidnapping the Brazilian Tycoon
by Carmen FalconeaCopyright © 2014 by Carmen Falcone. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Chapter One
Bruno Duarte stopped staring into the amber contents of his glass and turned to face the woman he would marry in less than eight hours. Elegantly clad in a crease-free, designer blue cocktail dress, Erika Lancaster moved toward him and slid onto the bar stool next to his.
“I’m surprised you texted me,” he said. “I thought you wanted time to pack and get ready for Vegas.”
A nervous smile formed on her pink lips. “I needed to talk to you in person.” She ran her manicured hand over her long, smooth brown hair and gestured to the bartender. “Scotch, please.”
Scotch? During the three months they had dated, she’d sipped on white wine or anything with a colorful umbrella. The bartender nodded and was about to turn away to get her drink when she blurted, “Make it a double.”
He tensed. Could she be having cold feet? Impossible.
Their courtship had been smooth sailing; they shared a mutual attraction that burned the sheets, and, damn it, he needed to marry her. Within a couple of hours, they’d fly to Vegas in his private jet, get hitched, and proceed to Brazil. The place he’d left behind. He lifted his glass of scotch to his lips and let the smoky liquid roll down his throat.
Is Erika really who I want to spend the rest of my life with? A pang of doubt trickled down his spine. He sat up straighter and glanced around the upscale bar. His need for distraction was why he’d gone for a drink in the first place, before Erika had messaged and asked to see him.
No honest woman will ever want to marry you. His father’s angry voice echoed in his mind. You’re a shame to our family. While Bruno had enjoyed the company of delicious, sinful women the past fourteen years, time had come to prove to his father—damn it, to prove to himself—he was worthy of someone to settle down with.
Erika was perfect on paper. Mild tempered with well-bred mannerisms, she gave him the security he needed to face his father again… Hell, his entire family. She was just who he needed to bury the past, once and for all. I want to forget the shame. I want my father to forget the shame.
He shoved the useless thoughts away as Erika drummed her fingers on the black granite countertop, her square glass already empty. An intensity he’d never seen before, not even when they were tangled together, was visible in her mocha eyes.
“We shouldn’t get married,” she said, and her shoulders sagged like she had been released from a death sentence.
The air left his lungs. Not get married? He brought his scotch to his mouth again, hoping the alcohol would shake him out of his surprise. Merda. “Why not?”
“We’ve only known each other for three months. It doesn’t…feel right.”
“And you couldn’t have said ‘no’ when I asked you two weeks ago? Or expressed your doubt when you suggested we elope to Vegas instead of a Brazilian wedding?”
Erika shifted in her seat, both hands curled against the edges of the stool. She offered him an apologetic glance. How the hell was she screwing him like this? He loosened the silk tie around his crisp white shirt.
He tilted his head back and cursed under his breath. He’d chosen Erika to be his wife because of the timing, sure. His dad didn’t have long to live, and Bruno couldn’t let him die before the old man saw his oldest son settled. His heart contracted to the size of a coffee grain. Even with the billions he’d made during the years of a self-imposed exile from his home country, he was still that boy, naïve and misunderstood, who’d dragged his family’s name through the mud. Who had abandoned his dying mother.
Cold sweat slicked his forehead, and he wiped it off with the back of his hand.
Erika chewed her lower lip, as if she both anticipated and dreaded his reaction. “I told my father, and he reluctantly agreed. This won’t affect your business with him.” Her voice was gentle at the end.
The land. Silas Lancaster, with his flexible morals, couldn’t wait to get his greedy hands on the piece of land that was Bruno’s last tie to the country he had fled—the country that had offered him nothing but pain.
After his father’s imminent death, he’d sell it and close that last creaky door to the darkest part of his past. For years, he had avoided dealing with the land. But since finding out about his father’s terminal cancer, he knew the time had come to say good-bye to his father and sell Toca do Tigre, the last reminder of the shame he brought on his family.
“I’m so sorry.” Erika reached to touch his hand, but he jerked away.
He raised his glass to the bartender who came to his rescue with another shot. A group of women walked past them, and a few gave him inviting glances. He shifted toward Erika. She was also on her second glass, the most he’d seen her drink in the short months they had been together.
He cleared his throat. “Erika, is there another…reason?” Another man? His pride prevented him from uttering the words. She folded her arms as if trying to protect herself from a painful truth.
“I was involved with my personal trainer some time ago. Dad never liked him; he was never good enough. When you came along—rich, handsome, and looking for a wife—I thought I could forget him. I wanted you and me to work out.” A single tear slipped down her cheek, and she reached for the napkin under her drink.
He clenched his jaw.
Erika sniffed, and he reached for his inside pocket to retrieve a linen handkerchief with his initials embroidered on the corner. He gave it to her, and when their fingers brushed, he noticed the dampness on her skin.
A need to offer her a hug poked at him, but he suffocated the urge. How could he show sympathy to a woman who had ruined his plans for a long-awaited comeback? He hadn’t confirmed the rumors, but he knew his family imagined they were true—that he’d return married.
He let his eyes trail over her one last time. Her expression was a net of sorrow, sympathy, and uneasiness. She didn’t know about his true reasons for wanting to marry her so quickly or the darkness of his past. If she had…she never would have said yes.
He gave a long sigh, and with it went any lasting grudge he might have held onto. Life was already too complicated to add more to his tortured memories. But now, on the eve of his return to Brazil, he would be brideless. He faced his now ex-fiancée and said, “Erika, it’s okay. Maybe you should just go.”
  1. What the hell am I supposed to do now?
Addie shifted in her seat at the small round table several feet from the man she’d been watching for the past five minutes. She brought the overpriced lemonade to her lips, the bitterness from the lemon prickling her senses. Lowering the glass to the table, she stared at the man who had more power than he knew what to do with. Bruno Duarte.
He looked lost in thought. She wiped her clammy palms on the napkin. It was a good time to size up the enemy when he wasn’t paying attention, wasn’t it? He had his tie loosened, and the top button of his shirt was open. He was taller and broader shouldered than he appeared in pictures. Addie’s stomach muscles clenched, and she folded her arms tight against her chest, eyes skimming over the body that filled the well-cut designer suit. He was so…strong and large. Tucked under that cool, blasé huskiness of a young Marlon Brando lay a man hard to persuade. This isn’t going to be easy.
Well, she didn’t do easy, did she? Two years ago, she’d left the familiarity of her life as a history teacher in Houston for an opportunity to teach at an English-speaking private school in São Paulo. Then, she’d met Michael during a weekend trip to the northeast of Brazil, and her life was changed forever. He introduced her to the Kwanis, a primitive tribe of Brazilian Indians. Their self-sufficient, nature-based lifestyle won her over, and a calling she hadn’t realized she had filled her with purpose, with life, and with color.
She reached into her hemp messenger bag and grabbed the manila envelope containing the agreement she was going to have Bruno sign, along with the pictures of the Kwanis. Biting back a smile, she flipped through the images, and determination jolted through her. With the tips of her trembling fingers, she stroked the black-and-white photos Michael had taken. Emotion welled inside her.
One hundred twenty-four Kwanis—men and women, children, and elderly—depended on her to ensure they could keep living the only way they knew, without being forced to integrate into modern-day society. All they wanted was to continue to live self-sufficiently, the way they had for decades.
After Michael’s death a year and a half ago, the Kwanis had helped her pick up the pieces and keep on living. Their generosity and warmth had been paramount in overcoming her grief, and she owed them everything. Michael would be proud of her for fighting for them.
If she failed them…I can’t fail them.
She shoved the pictures back in her bag and straightened her shoulders. A thrill of anticipation and panic rippled through her.
Bruno Duarte owned the land the Kwanis occupied, but from what she researched, he had never given a thought to Toca do Tigre during the past decade. At least, he hadn’t until a month ago.What had started out as rumors that he wanted to sell the land to the unscrupulous real estate giant, Silas Lancaster, had turned into a heartbreaking reality.
Addie had sent Bruno countless emails and letters, and she had even stalked his personal assistant with phone calls in hopes of talking to her boss. Making him understand the need to grant the Kwanis more time for relocation was crucial. Without the proper planning, they could face violence, diseases, and starvation.
Taking him somewhere quiet where she could drill some common sense into him was critical—something she was unable to do with her letters and phone calls. He couldn’t ignore her this time. She would have him sign the agreement to grant them more time to relocate. There was no other way. She’d already lost her job in the nonprofit organization where she worked because she’d contacted Bruno without the group’s consent. Crap, what else was she supposed to do? Their feeble attempts to handle the situation hadn’t worked, after all, and she wasn’t going to let the Kwanis lose their home, not when she knew firsthand what losing a home entailed.
Her gaze returned to Bruno. The hostess called the guy sitting next to him to a table, and Addie rose to her feet, her toes curling inside her tennis shoes. It’s time.Taking a deep breath, she jammed her fingers into the front pocket of her jeans and palmed the vial she’d brought all the way from Pernambuco.
Apprehension darted through her mind, but she shook her head and willed her nagging doubts away. Bruno was a cold-hearted man to whom Toca do Tigre was nothing but a business transaction. Why else would he adamantly refuse to discuss the sale of a land and crush the lives of hundreds of people?
The hustle and bustle in the bar faded out, and the people sitting on the trendy chairs or gathering near the bar turned into shadows. She narrowed her vision to focus only on Bruno, who proceeded to drink his scotch. She slid onto the stool next to him.
She caught a whiff of his cologne. The freshness of mint notes blended with wood, and another plant she couldn’t discern finished the seductive scent. She rubbed the back of her hand over her nose, trying to wipe the intoxicating smell away. Nope. Still there.
What was the other plant? She sniffed again, for the sake of curiosity, and, this time, her stomach dropped all the way down to her shoes. Fancy, bottled fragrances didn’t offer the tantalizing aroma swirling around her like an invisible dance. Her nipples hardened against her white cotton bra, and she straightened her shoulders. The scent of raw, unrestricted maleness.
Keep it together, Addison.
Kidnapping him before he eloped with Erika, Silas Lancaster’s daughter, was Addie’s last chance to get Bruno to change his mind. The brief amateur detective work she’d done since her arrival in New York had revealed his plan to marry Erika. And if she took that opportunity away from him, or threatened to take it away, she was sure he’d agree to just about anything. A man like Bruno wouldn’t want to jeopardize the relationship with his future father-in-law by standing his daughter up at the altar.
One of the bartenders, who would give Abercrombie models a run for their money, handed Bruno a glass and grabbed the empty one next to it. A large group entered the bar area, and the loud laughter from a couple of men triggered Bruno to turn his head in their direction.
She toyed with the sleek menu and cleared her throat. After a deep breath, she crossed and uncrossed her legs. “Tough day?” she said in his direction and hoped to God he’d turn his head and respond.
“Tough evening,” he said, staring at his square glass, half filled with a cinnamon-colored liquid she guessed was some fancy scotch. “Women…” he mumbled.
The bastard. Did marriage really mean nothing to him? Was that why he was drinking his sorrows away by himself and belittling the vows he would say later on? Unbelievable.
“A Green Temptation, please,” she told the bartender, whose nametag read Roy. With a nod, Roy moved away to prepare her drink.
She wished she already had alcohol in her system as she peered at Bruno. Damn it. If this was going to work, people needed to see them talking and flirting. How else would she get away with—
“Green Temptation?” His voice yanked her from her thoughts. A deep, accented drawl that rolled down smooth and dangerous. The Brazilian accent still lingered even after many years of living in the US, according to what she had been able to find about him online. “Sounds promising.”
She touched the back of her neck, her fingers pressing into her skin. “They say what you drink says a lot about you.”
At least he turned to face her, his eyes brown like rich soil. He flashed a deliberately sexy smile, but she refused to be distracted by his charm or handsome face. And boy, was it handsome… Long, straight nose, lips that curled in shameless invitation, day-old stubble on his strong, square jaw.
“Who are they?”
  1. She blinked and let out a nervous sound that could never pass for a graceful laugh. “I’m sure some sassy writer from Cosmopolitan magazine.” She circled her hands on her lap and hoped to regain composure. When she’d thought this through in her head, it had been easier. More sterile.
Sitting next to the man whose ambitions could crush her goal, in reality, differed.
Bruno gave her a once-over and leaned closer. She lifted her hand to touch her heated cheeks, but self-awareness prevented her from acting like a teenager on her first date, and she tucked her unruly hair behind her ear. “I wouldn’t peg you for a Cosmopolitan reader.”
“Is that a compliment or an insult?”
“A little bit of both.” The bartender brought her drink, and, before she reached for her bag, and with a simple nod, Bruno instructed Roy to add it to his tab.
Mumbling a thanks, she lifted the glass to her lips. The plan to just pretend she was drinking to not let alcohol distract her flew out the window. She savored the exquisite liquid soothing her, the notes of mint and vodka coating her dry throat.
“Can I try it?” he asked.
“I don’t know…” She sat the drink on the counter and twirled a curl around her finger. “Just because you bought me a drink, that doesn’t mean I’ll let you have a sip.”
He gave both sides a glance, then dipped his head lower, and she froze. The man wasn’t just eye candy, he was the whole freaking candy shop. “I’ll let you drink mine if you let me drink yours,” he whispered, and a path of goose bumps rose on her arms.
How bad could a little scotch be? She reached to his drink and, grabbing her straw from hers, stuck it inside the smoky amber liquid, pretty sure he’d be appalled as to why someone would sip whiskey with a straw. A scorching ball of smoke invaded her throat, and she clamped her lips shut and swallowed it hard.
“What does that say about me?”
She angled toward him, propping her elbow on the counter to distract him from what she was about to do. With the other hand, she sneakily snapped open the vial in her purse and held it upright. “You’re stubborn.”
He winked. “Motivated.”
“You have someone stand in line for you every time the latest iPhone comes out.”
She erased the distance between them, crashing into that bubble of charisma and masculinity around him. This is it. Now.
“Wrong. I have it delivered before it hits the stores.” He caught a curl of her hair and gently pulled it, his index finger toying with the tight tip. She smothered a gasp, her head bobbing toward him.
  1. Upping her game, she shredded the invisible line she was about to cross and held him captive with her gaze. “You have a personal trainer who has his own reality show.” Her snarky remark somehow turned into the sexy drawl of a woman with much more sexual confidence. Certainly, not her. He licked his lips, and she bit the inside of her cheek. The image of his mouth crushing hers flooded her mind. Then, quickly, she ripped it to a million pieces. Erika Lancaster, bless her, had fallen prey to Bruno’s undeniable charms. She, however, had experienced real love from a caring man, and she knew the difference.
She slipped the liquid into his scotch, the longest second of her life, and tossed the empty vial in her bag. At last, she straightened her shoulders and shuffled an inch or two away from him.
“No personal trainer. I like to take care of my own workout, and I prefer to do things other than just lifting weight. Like swimming, running, and—”
“Let’s go with boxing.” A smile capable of making a nun doubt her vows spread across his face. “Let me try yours.” She slid her glass across, and he took a drink.
“Unexpected. Refreshing.”
“You make me sound like the last can of Sprite in a picnic luncheon.”
“Nothing like that.” He leaned over her, his lip brushing her hair. An automatic charge electrified her scalp. “I think Green Temptation suits you. I assumed you had baby blues. I was wrong.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you.”
“You’re far from a disappointment.” He stroked her cheeks and lifted her chin. She shuddered. “They sparkle with intensity, like green diamonds.”
She swallowed. “I can’t believe a smooth talker like you hasn’t been snatched up already. Unless, of course, you’re spoken for?”
“I speak for myself. And as of right now, free as a bird.” He gulped down a bit, and she had to fight her shoulders from sagging. Not only was he a man with no concern for people in worse situations than he, Bruno was a liar. A cheater. Did his wife-to-be know he was flirting with a stranger just hours from his marriage? Or was this a one-man’s bachelor’s party?
“Interesting.” She breathed. “I take it, then, this is your usual spot before you, er, go boxing?”
He rubbed his eyes and blinked a couple of times. “I don’t need to come here to find a boxing partner.”
“True.” She touched her neck, her fingers tapping her prickling skin. “You can practice it alone, right?”
“That’s boring. Why would one do it alone, when they can have an invigorating, sweaty match with the likes of a woman like you?”
She shuddered. “Do you usually train with your gloves on?”
“Protection,” he said, then straightened his posture and shook his head. Another yawn. “Protection is a must.”
She slid to the edge of her stool and leaned closer to him, studying his every move; his olive skin turned pale as he rubbed his forehead and yawned. Was the drug working? Oh yeah, it was working… She’d had to ensure the healer of the tribe she needed the natural-based drug for something very important. Thanks to her cred, the old woman hadn’t asked much, only explained that a blend of uncommon herbs had been mixed to ensure safety and maximum strength. She dared to breathe when she finally saw the contours of his body relax.
“Everything okay?” she asked as she curled her hand around his elbow.
He turned to her and murmured something she couldn’t understand. His full eyelashes swept over his eyes. The warmth of his skin seeped through the fabric of his shirt and gave her an unfamiliar tingling. She jerked her hand away from his elbow as if she’d been burned, and he slumped to her side.
Without much warning, his head fell onto her shoulder. She fought the urge to push him away, but linked her arms around him instead. This was her plan, wasn’t it? To be able to have one-on-one time with Bruno Duarte. After listening to her and understanding what was at stake, he would cave. So be it if kidnapping him was the only way to be heard.
She registered Roy asking her something, but his words were muffled by the heat of the six-foot-two man drooping over her five-foot-five frame. A sharp ache pinched her lower back, and she straightened her shoulders to offer him support without getting a herniated disk. He was just too heavy for her. Too…much.
“My friend here has had too much to drink. Can someone help me get him to my car?” She shoved Bruno a bit to her side and spoke over his shoulder.
The bartender nodded. “I’ll call security. Do you need anything else?”
“No. I’ve got everything I need.”

Chapter Two
I did it. I kidnapped him.
Addie’s continuous mantra did nothing to shed the weight from her shoulders. She stood up from the dingy cloth chair shed been sitting on for the past hour and walked toward the queen bed, and to the man who sat slumped against the headboard. She rubbed her temples and wished the throbbing would go away.
His shoulders drooped on the middle of the bed. Both wrists were handcuffed and linked to old but sturdy metal bedposts by a short chain. The little hairs on the back of her neck stood up. With his eyes closed, he looked almost peaceful, but the ridges of his hard body, and the testosterone pouring from him, told a different tale. He was pure male power, and the way her heartbeat raced told her she was not immune to him. What have I gotten myself into?
The large security guy had helped her get Bruno inside her rental car. Then she used the same excuse to get the clerk from the cheap motel east of New York City to help her carry him into the room.
Addie sucked in her breath when his head bobbed and his large feet moved. After much consideration, she had decided to take off his shoes but had kept his socks on. Somehow, it seemed he would be more comfortable that way—not like it mattered. She raised the back of her hand to wipe the sweat off her forehead. The AC cranked to the max didn’t help—it only circulated the stuffy, hot air even more, and it made a loud noise that reminded her of the buzz of downtown São Paulo. The sound of millions of people rushing to work and black pigeons fluttering to the ground as shoeless children wandered alone in the streets. Even though she was thousands of miles away, still she could hear them.
A metallic sound pulled her from her reverie. Bruno moved his wrists and jerked his head back, hitting it on the headboard. She stepped closer to him, the stained laminate floor creaking from the pressure. He straightened as much as he could.Oh, crap. How did I switch from helping people to hurting them? Well, just this once, right? And hopefully this one act would help so many. Besides, his pain could be treated with a painkiller or backrub. What about the tragic future of the people he wanted to expel? What about Michael’s death?
Bruno opened his eyes, recovering from the effects of the sedative.
Should I say something or wait until he notices me? She folded her arms and then unfolded them immediately. Insecurities were not allowed anywhere outside her mind.
Her temporary hostage started to bang his handcuffs against the frame. The clanging of metal against metal echoed in her ears and prickled her skin. We’re at the far end of the hall. No one will hear us.
“Hello, Bruno.” She ditched formality.
Her breath caught in her throat when their gazes collided. At first, he seemed surprised. Then, his expression changed. She couldn’t tell if it was fear or hate, or some unknown emotion just below the surface.
He shook his shoulders again, and his enormous frame rammed the bed against the wall. She had requested the quietest room at the end of an empty hallway. Of course, at the time, she had alleged they were a couple on a honeymoon.
Honeymoon? The word held a double dose of irony. The only man she’d ever envisioned honeymooning with no longer lived. The idea of using that as an excuse, even for what she was doing… Well, it wasn’t right. Also, if her plan failed, in a day’s time, he’d be honeymooning with the daughter of the real estate shark who had insisted on buying his land even before the Kwanis moved out—and she’d be sitting in prison. No, that couldn’t happen.
Muffled sounds came from under the duct tape across his mouth.
Pressing her lips together, she moved to his bed. “I will remove the tape, but you must be quiet,” she said in the same tone of voice she used to settle sick indigenous children. “If you scream, it goes back on.”
He glared at her. Did he recognize her from the bar?
“Nod if you understand.”
He looked up at the popcorn ceiling for a moment. Bruno Duarte, the accomplished software developer, wasn’t the kind who did as he was told—hell, she had tried to get in touch with him for an entire month, but telling him anything proved impossible. Until now. Now, he has no way out.
At last, he nodded.
She ripped off the tape; the sound of it peeling off his skin made her arch her back. If it hurt him, he didn’t show it.
“Get these off me,” he demanded. An unreadable emotion overtook his eyes for a moment as his brows lowered.
“I will. But first, you’ll listen to me.”
“The hell I will. Who are you?”
“Addison Reed.” She rubbed her sweaty palms together. “Addie.”
“Addison Reed?” It sounded more like an accusation than recognition. “The crazy tree hugger who has been spamming my inbox?” He shook his head. “You flirted with me at the bar.” The menacing promise in his expression caused sweat to trickle between her breasts. “You’re behind this?”
“We need to talk about Toca do Tigre.”
“How did I get here?”
Addie chewed on her lower lip. “This was the only way for you to listen.”
“You slipped something in my drink, didn’t you?”
“A perfectly safe sleeping aid. So, let’s talk.” She reached inside her messenger bag on the small table and removed the long, thick envelope.
“Addie, why don’t you be a dear and uncuff me?” He winked at her. “I’ll be more inclined to listen without cramped wrists.” She ignored the tingling at the pit of her stomach. Though she hadn’t been with a man in the nearly two years since Michael’s death, she was not an idiot. She would not be won over by false charm.
With a shake of her head, she retrieved the pictures from the envelope she was holding and spread them on the bed linen—all twenty of them—men, women, and children, laughing, crying, and looking away.
“If you don’t change your mind, they’ll be homeless in less than a month,” Addie said, the word “homeless” forcing her throat to thicken. She pushed away the memories threatening to come to the surface. This wasn’t about her. She peeked at one of the pictures, her fingers caressing the glossy paper.
“Release me, and I’ll pretend to pay attention.”
“If you listen to me for thirty minutes and actually pay attention, I’ll uncuff one wrist,” she said, surprised by her own spontaneity. She scanned the area close to him and found no sharp objects. There was nothing he could do. Nowhere to go.
“What about the other one?” he asked, unfazed.
She smiled. “I’ll uncuff the other one when we’ve reached an agreement.”
“What if I have to pee?”
“I’ll bring a bottle.” And look away.
She placed her hands on her waist, hoping her attitude was enough of a threat. It was all she had; a weapon would be too much. If he didn’t agree with her at the end of the night and wanted to press charges—which was a realistic option—not having a weapon would probably lessen her time behind bars.
He sighed. “With such an enticing promise, how can I refuse?” Sarcasm dripped from his voice. “Go ahead.”
“Kicking the Kwanis from their home without careful planning is cruel, unnecessary, and not the right move for a successful businessman like yourself.”
She made her plea for the next several minutes. Each time a bold red number moved on the old-fashioned alarm clock, her heart jumped in her chest. Nevertheless, she pushed through it.
“The government is seeking an alternative for them,” he interrupted. “According to Brazilian laws, there are specific territories legally occupied by Indians. Pieces of land where they can mingle with other tribes. Why can’t they go to one of those?”
“Transitions between different tribes don’t always go smoothly. The government didn’t help the Kwanis a decade ago when they unfairly lost the land they lived on. Then, there were three hundred of them. Today, even with the births, there are only one hundred twenty-four.” She said the numbers staccato. “Also, the Kwanis took care of Toca do Tigre and contributed to it by growing more trees and making the earth productive again.” They loved the land Bruno had chosen to ignore.
“Nice try, but just because they planted a few trees on the land they needed—the land they took without asking—doesn’t mean they deserve a free pass.”
She raised the picture of a skinny Brazilian boy to his eye level. “This is Endi. He’s six. Both of his parents live off that land. If you kick them out, he’ll become one more homeless child wandering the streets of the next big city, experimenting with drugs, stealing, and doing whatever else he needs to do to survive.”
After a shadow of annoyance crossed his face, he glanced at the picture for a nanosecond and rolled his eyes. “The fact that you want to steal my own land from me doesn’t count? Just because you are Caucasian and educated?”
“I don’t want to steal anything. All I ask is that you give them more time, to make the transition easier for them.” She had tried publicity. The media hadn’t cared about such a small minority group. Besides a couple of letters published in environmental magazines, she was pretty much on her own. Even though reelection time neared in Brazil, candidates only chose causes they believed would bring them attention, causes that affected a larger number of people.
“A month is reasonable if you consider they’ve never paid rent.”
“It’s inhumane.” She sat at the far end of the bed. “You’ve contributed to a lot of other causes, Bruno.” She peered at his large hands, the long fingers moving even though there was no way out of the handcuffs. Long, tanned fingers. With a blink, she composed herself. “I’m curious why you’re acting so differently with this one.”
“We both agree that I’ve done my share.” His lips twitched. “That’s progress.”
“But not for your own country,” she said. “Not in a big way. Why?”
For a moment, he hesitated, his forehead wrinkling in deep thought.
Maybe this was progress. Maybe she was getting his attention.
His gaze darted back at her. “How far are you willing to go? You’re obviously an amateur at this. I presume killing me is not in the cards.” His voice was flat.
She swallowed. “I don’t have anything to lose,” she said, the pain strangling her words. “These people supported me at a tough time. The organization I worked for was trying to find other land to transfer them to.”
“You worked for?”
“Yes. After I emailed you and sent letters, you wrote the organization, Vidas em Perigo, that nasty letter calling me an ‘extremist bully’. They fired me.”And closed the one-woman Indian affairs division.
He shook his cuffed wrists. “As usual, I was on the mark.”
He checked the alarm clock on the bedside table.
“Your thirty minutes are up.” He shook his wrists again.
If he got a bit more comfortable, maybe she’d get through to him. She had seen glimpses on his face that she had his attention. The way he sucked in his breath or shot her a speculative look here and there. He might not know it yet, but, by the end of the night, he’d agree with her. Defeat was not an option.
“If you do anything stupid, peeing in a bottle is out the window,” Addie warned him and scooted closer on the bed. If someone had told him the witty exchange at the bar would land him in a bed, tied up, well, fuck, he’d pictured it much differently. She held the stare like nothing could shake her from whatever crazy ideas she harbored. The look of someone who had nothing to lose. But why?
He focused on the rest of her face to escape her scrutiny. Damn, she was pretty. Not his type, but definitely pretty.
Tight blond curls framed her face, which was clear of any makeup. Freckles scattered over her small straight nose and high cheeks. Her skin seemed soft and fragile.
He moved his fingers to shake the tingling away.
Giving him a warning look, she grabbed the key from the back pocket of her jeans and moved toward him. With one knee on the mattress and the other foot still on the floor, she leaned around his right cuff to unlock it.
Hmm… He had to pay attention to where she put the key. After waking up and getting his bearings, he’d quickly gotten over his rage to assess the situation. He’d tried to act superior, to reason with her, and at last he’d pretended to go along with her agreement. Now, it was time for a new strategy.
Hell, he’d been through worse in his life.
Bruno stiffened while she held his wrist and turned the key to free him. He couldn’t ignore the warm brush of her fingers before he flexed and shook his fist. A sharp pain shot up his arm.
She replaced the key in her back pocket. Addie moved her knee, and a glossy picture stuck to her jeans. One of the pictures she had tried to shove down his throat.
He saw his opportunity when she looked for balance as she lifted her knee. He stretched his arm and grabbed her by her waist. She gasped, but his larger frame put him at an obvious advantage.
His entire body throbbed with awareness. He snatched her to him, closing his arm around her waist and offering no escape. He savored watching a lump make its way down her throat and her soft skin prickling with goose bumps.
Something must have dawned inside her—she finally tried to move against him. Her small hands smacked his chest, and her legs kicked around his hips.
“Easy,” he groaned.
“Let me go. You have lost your bottle privilege.”
“But I found another one. Much to our pleasure.” He dipped his head to hers, and her hot breath fanned his skin.
He pulled her closer. She panted, though she stopped kicking and hitting. He dropped his eyes from her uncertain ones down to her lips…her bottom lip, slightly fuller than the top. They parted but no sound pushed past them.
When his eyes searched for hers again, he discovered she, too, glanced at his lips.
He loosened his grip on her waist for a moment.
If he reached for her pocket right now, she would be too alert and react swiftly. She laid her palm on his chest, a clumsy touch that turned him on beyond belief. Drawn to her, he angled toward her mouth and captured her lips. For a moment, she stiffened in his hold, her fingers two blocks of granite on his rib cage. He lowered his lips to hers and used her moaning protest to push inside her hot, wet mouth. Bitter memories—from the last time freedom had been so viscerally vital to him—threatened to tug at his mind. But he moved faster than his thoughts and shut them off. He licked her lips, slipped his tongue inside, and hoped the kiss wouldn’t make him any dirtier than he already was.
To his surprise, that wasn’t the case. Hmmm. For a few seconds, she froze, reacting with complete modesty to his flesh. Then, before he could analyze his doubts, her tongue caressed his in a slow, delicate fashion. His insides pumped, thick and hard. He groaned and intensified the strokes of his tongue on her, urgency filling him like a tank of gasoline about to overflow. And burn.
She matched his passion, as if she’d been switched on from a trance, and nipped his lower lip. His cock jumped. He entertained the idea of shedding her clothes and licking every inch of her soft skin. He would play her body like a Stradivarius. He would taste her, graze her nipples, which now hardened against him.
Another moan, too sexy to be accidental, escaped her throat. Bringing one hand to caress her untamed hair, he motioned the other one to remove her shirt.
Except—the restraint of the handcuffs biting into his flesh snapped him back to reality. Handcuffs. His blood went cold. He was completely at her mercy. Using his charms to take advantage of the situation, sure. Falling victim of his own plan? He couldn’t afford to be this foolish. Not anymore.
His throat thickened, and the reason for his skin prickling had nothing to do with the woman squirming on top of him.
Get out. Words he had heard at a pivotal time of his youth had become his go-to motto in many situations. This was one of them. The handcuffs were like a ton of cold metal, a burden to his wrist. To his freedom.
With his free hand, he dipped down and outlined her round, pert butt. He felt a hard bump on her cheek. The key.
“No,” she shouted. Before he could react, she pushed away and disentangled from him, scooting back on the bed until she reached the edge. Her breath came in small gasps.
They stared at each other silently for moments that dragged into minutes.
“I… I…” she started, her hand on her heaving chest. Her eyes weren’t fixed anywhere in particular, which was the oddest reaction he’d ever gotten from a woman.
What the hell was wrong with her?
Her lips puckered with annoyance. “You… You kissed me.”
“And you enjoyed it.” He bit back a smile. So did I.
“No,” she rushed to say. “This isn’t about me. Listen, I know you’re flying to Vegas to get married to Erika Lancaster tonight,” she blurted out.
Erika… He raised his free hand, still hot from Addie’s touch, and ran his fingers through his hair. Breaking up at the bar with Erika seemed like eons ago.
“Is that why you were drinking alone in that bar earlier? Celebrating your last hours as a free man?”
“None of it concerns you.”
“What you’re planning to do with the Kwanis concerns me. If you sign an agreement granting more time to get them relocated, I’ll release you, and you can catch your flight and marry that poor woman. If you don’t, I’ll keep you here for as long as I have to, and she’ll think you changed your mind. No flight and no Vegas marriage for you.” She folded her arms and lifted her chin.
So that was what the kidnapping was about? She wanted to manipulate him into accepting her terms by threatening to mess with his Vegas wedding? He quirked up his lips. “Tough luck. I hate to break it to you, but I’m not marrying Erika tonight. Or ever.
My Thoughts
Bruno Duarte never thought...

Bruno Daurte never thought that the life that he had spent so long crafting could be so easily unraveled.

Bruno Duarte never thought that he would find himself at the mercy of "an insane tree-hugger.

Bruno Duarte never though that he could ever again know the passion and freedom of a man in love.

Bruno Duarte never counted on meeting someone like her.

Addison Reed is a woman on a mission.  Still reeling from the loss of her fiancé, and facing the unjust eviction of an indigenous people that she has come to love from their home in Brazil; Addie is a woman who will stop at nothing to ensure that that she adds no more minuses to a tally already too full of them.

What neither he nor she had any way of foreseeing was how the crazy chain of kismet that linked them, would provide the bounds strong enough to bind their hearts forever.

This story is one that will make you want...
Want Bruno.
Want to be Addison.
Want to experience the passion, the wonder, the beauty, the pain, and the happiness that is love realized.
Want to go to Brazil.

Both Addison and Bruno are very strong characters, willing to go the distance for those they love and for what they believe.
As such, when these two forces of  nature collide, there are fireworks from the start.
What is most impressive about this read character wise, is the fact that money and influence don't equal power in this relationship.
It is Addison, and not Bruno, who does most of the saving and tearing down of walls.
She is the true embodiment of a strong woman, and this story is where she is allowed to shine.

While it is true that the sex in this read is hot enough to melt candles without a flame; that element alone doesn't account for this story's appeal.
First and foremost on the reasons to love this book has to be...IT'S SCENES ARE SET IN BRAZIL.
That's right!  It is not a US based story.
That gives the reader a fresh flavor for their setting palate, and what a sweet taste it is too.

Add to that the secrets, family drama, raw emotionality, and tear inducing ending, and you have a book to love!!