Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Someone is stirring up the ghosts – #Suspense #LGBTQI #Paranormal #BDSM

Cold Blood cover

About the Book

Ghost wards are failing. Mediums are vanishing. Someone—or something—is stirring up the ghosts of Toronto. It’s up to psychic medium Harlan Brand to find out why.

After defeating a serial killer who could control ghosts, psychic medium Harlan Brand is feeling much more confident in his abilities working for the Toronto Police Service with his partner, Hamilton, as they protect the city from dangerous spirits.

He is expanding his social circle, however reluctantly, to include the other police mediums and Morgan Vermeer, another graduate from the Centre—a school for training psychic children.

Harlan and his boyfriend, Charles Moore, are continuing to explore BDSM, their relationship and Charles’ strange ability to shield people from ghosts.

Hoping to find answers about Charles’ power and the serial killer, Harlan returns to the Centre only to find that one of its ghost wards—magical symbols that spirits can’t cross—is broken, and it’s a mystery as to how and why.

The calm and order that Harlan has been building up in his life are shattered when wards start failing across the city and mediums begin to disappear, including one of his new friends and a student from the Centre.

Someone—or something—is stirring up the ghosts of Toronto.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and murder. It is best read as part of the Bound to the Spirits series.


Hamilton sighed as he lowered himself into the driver’s seat of their police cruiser, settling in much more heavily than usual. “Matthew wants to meet you.”

Harlan was relieved that he was already struggling with his seatbelt. It gave him a moment to think about what Hamilton had just said.

Matthew? Do I know a Matthew? Hamilton’s—and, by extension, Harlan’s—sergeant was name Matthews, but Harlan had already met her.

The seatbelt clicked into place. He was out of time.

Hamilton sighed again, this time with an edge of laughter. “Matthew is my…” He mumbled something Harlan couldn’t make out. “You haven’t met him,” he added in his regular speaking voice.

Harlan waited, hoping Hamilton would elaborate, repeat himself or that the words would finally click into place as he ran them over and over in his mind.

Silence. Silence that he had to break if he was going to get anything else.

Sorry… I didn’t quite—”

Boyfriend!” Too loud this time, loud and sudden enough that it startled Harlan. “Matthew is my boyfriend. He wants to meet you.” Hamilton slid his gaze over to Harlan, a sly smile on his thin lips. “You can say no,” he added, making it clear he would prefer that.

Harlan would prefer that as well, so it worked out nicely.

Before Harlan could assure him that he was, of course, in complete agreement, Hamilton shook his head and sighed for a third time that morning. “Nah, I think we’re past that. At this point, it would just be a delaying tactic. He’s made up his mind.”

Harlan glanced sideways at Hamilton. Is Hamilton actually blushing? He hadn’t thought Hamilton was physically capable of doing that, never mind imagined that it might actually happen.

And I’ve met your boyfriend,” Hamilton shot back, even though Harlan hadn’t spoken.

Technically true, but they hadn’t exactly met over dinner or another social event. Did life-and-death situations count more or less than sitting down for a meal together?

And, by the way”—the blush Harlan had probably imagined was gone, and Hamilton was definitely smirking now—”I knew I recognized him from somewhere.”

Shit. Harlan had been dreading this conversation, hoping it wouldn’t happen. He’d hoped that Hamilton wouldn’t connect Charles, Harlan’s ghost-repelling boyfriend, to Mr. Moore, owner of Rattling Chains, a formerly haunted BDSM club. Apparently, that had been too much to ask for.

Hamilton opened his mouth, started to say something then seemed to reconsider when he saw Harlan’s pained expression. “I’m glad you’ve got someone,” he said, just as gruffly as usual, but with a hint of genuine fondness and even warmth. “You don’t have a lot of people.” He looked away while he took a left-hand turn, then laughed. “Of course you’d meet someone on the job.”

Harlan looked down at his lap. Yeah. It was pretty pathetic. Sure, he’d started going to the occasional police-medium group—basically a coffee klatch, not everyone sitting in a circle sharing their feelings the way he’d been dreading—but that was still connected to the police. He hadn’t even realized that Charles had the same connection. Fuck. Somehow, without realizing it, he’d become one of those adults who only lived for his job.

He blinked. Maybe it isn’t just me.

What does Matthew do?” he asked, fully expecting he already knew the answer.

He was wrong.

He’s an advertising consultant.” Hamilton shrugged. “I don’t know what that means, either.” He paused, then added, as though he’d read Harlan’s mind—more likely his expression—“I did meet him through a case, though.”

Harlan wasn’t sure if that made him feel better or worse. He didn’t know exactly how old Hamilton was, but he guessed his police partner was at least a few years older than he was. Was that what he had to look forward to—all his personal connections coming from his work for the rest of his life? He wasn’t sure why it bothered him, but it did. Maybe it was like that for everyone, and he just didn’t know—not that there was anyone he could ask.

Maybe Charles… He’d met a few of Charles’ friends, more or less in passing. He certainly hadn’t sat down and had dinner with any of them, the way Hamilton seemed to be proposing that he do with Matthew. He’d always assumed it was because he and Charles were still fairly new as a couple and—knowing Harlan—Charles hadn’t wanted to overwhelm him with a bunch of people all at once—but maybe he’d been wrong. Maybe he just didn’t want to introduce Harlan to anyone else in his life.

Knowing he was starting to spiral, he was relieved when Hamilton continued.

I told him you don’t do phone calls and you wouldn’t want to text someone you don’t know”—Wow, Hamilton really will make a great detective one day—“so you can just let me know when you decide. Here.” He fished a piece of paper out of his breast pocket and handed it to Harlan. “This is Matthew’s number so you can give it to Charles. He’s invited too, if he’d like.” His smirk was back. “I think he still has a choice, unlike you.”

Where are we going today?” Normally Hamilton didn’t tell him, and he didn’t ask, but it was the only change of topic Harlan could think of. “Is it another one of Samuel’s ghosts?” Killing the warped medium and serial killer Samuel Harkness had released most of the spirits under his control, but even eight months later they were still finding stragglers, like the ones that had led Harlan to their killer in the first place.

Interestingly, Harlan and Hamilton had found—and freed—almost three times as many wanderers as the other three medium pairs put together. It was as if even though he’d never met them, these spirits felt a connection to him for killing the man who had been controlling them.

This part of the job was a lot less glamorous when the ghosts they worked with weren’t leading him to a serial killer.

Kid,” Hamilton had laughed after a sweaty, dusty and frustrated Harlan had snapped something along those lines after a very long, hot day crammed in the crawlspace of an old house, trying to coax an especially nervous ghost close enough for him to either grab or calm it down enough for it to cross over on its own,“that’s the job. It’s not bringing down bad guys and epic showdowns. It’s…this. Hey, you’ve got a cobweb on your face.”

Harlan couldn’t help feeling that he’d peaked too soon, experienced more police-medium excitement than most of his colleagues got in a lifetime.

Crucially, he’d survived. Most police mediums didn’t live long enough to retire.

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About the Author

T. Strange didn't want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn't stopped reading—or writing—since. She's been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.'s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She's very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Something inside me melts – #EroticNoir #Suspense #MFRWHooks #MFRWAuthor

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For today’s MFRW Book Hooks blog hop, I’m treating you to an exclusive (romantic!) excerpt from my newly release suspense novel Exposure. The book is on sale for only 99 cents through the end of March (hey, that’s tomorrow!) so don’t delay!


Sex, blood and betrayal: it's all in a day's work.

I strip for the fun of it. Don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s not the money. I could make nearly as much working at the mill and keep my clothes on, but then I’d have to suck up to the bosses. Up on stage, I’m the one in charge, and I like it that way.

Tony Pinelli hired me for a private dance. I was determined to give him his money’s worth. I didn’t expect to be caught in the cross-fire of a double murder. When his widow shows up at my door, I know I’m in way over my head. Now I’m everyone’s target. I can’t trust anyone – not even the police detective who was sweet on me in high school. My only chance at survival is to shift through the lies and expose the truth.

The Hook

I jump when the phone rings. The sudden movement sends a jolt of pain through my ankle. For a moment, I consider not answering. Maybe it’s another threat. Or another “opportunity” like the one that White offered me. I don’t want to deal with either one. The ringing doesn’t stop though, and finally I give in and pick up.

Stella! Are you all right?” Something inside me melts at the sound of Jimmy’s voice.

I’m fine, tired and a bit sore, but basically okay.”

When you didn’t answer, I was worried...”

Sorry. I was in the bathroom. Really, I’m doing okay, Jimmy. There’s no reason to worry. Your man is outside. My doors are all locked and chained. I’m perfectly safe.”

You can see the policeman who’s on guard?”

Yeah, he’s across the street, under a tree.”

Jimmy swears under his breath. “He’s supposed to stay out of sight. In case anybody else is watching you.”

I shiver, the hair rising on my bare arms. “I thought the man outside might be your partner, Bill, though on a night like this I couldn’t see well enough to be sure.”

Bill Dougherty? He’s a senior detective, same rank as me. We wouldn’t send him out on routine surveillance duty.”

The chill deepens.

Oh well, I might be wrong. It’s pretty dark out there.”

There’s an awkward silence. I can hear Jimmy’s breathing on the other end of the line, and my own heartbeat, speeding up. I’m beginning to feel warm again. Even hot.

So, what are you doing?”

Not much. Reading, watching TV. Trying to relax.”

Would you like some company?”

Loneliness slams into me and runs over my body like a ten ton truck. Do I want company? God, I’ve never felt so alone in my life.

Be careful, I tell myself. You can’t trust anyone.

I don’t know, Jimmy...” I begin.

It’s okay, I understand. I’m sorry that I asked.” He sounds so lost, so forlorn. So sexy.

Screw being careful. “Yes, I’d love some company. I’m going crazy here, all by myself.”

Really? You don’t mind?”

Really. I’m not up to my usual form, but I’d love to see you.”

I can imagine Jimmy’s ear-to-ear grin. “Well, then. I’ll be right over. See you in about fifteen minutes, okay?”

Great, Jimmy. See you.”

I know I’m being weak, but I’m really too excited to care. Fifteen minutes. Just enough time to change. Should I put on those black satin lounging pajamas I got on sale at Victoria’s Secret? Or maybe the embroidered silk kimono? On the other hand, maybe that’s coming on too strong. Jimmy finds me scary enough already. Perhaps the long hippie dress of Indian cotton is the right look. It’s casual and understated but still kind of exotic...

In the end, I don’t have the energy to climb the stairs to my closet. I figure that Jimmy’s an old friend, and he’s already seen me naked. I don’t have to put on a costume for him. I sit there on the sofa, wearing the lightweight summer bathrobe I put on when I got up from my nap. It’s that peach color that sets off my skin so well. It will have to do.

There’s a soft knock. I hobble over to the door and peer through the peephole to confirm that it’s Jimmy. It seems to take hours for me to unfasten the chain and retract the bolt, but I finally get the door open.

Hi, Stella.” His voice is soft, concerned. It feels like a caress. “I didn’t want to ring the bell. Figured your nerves were kind of shot, the last thing you need is the jangling.”

Jimmy looks a bit rumpled. His sandy hair is in his eyes. His white business shirt is damp, wrinkled and untucked in the back. He needs a shave.

He looks good enough to eat.

Come on in out the rain. I’m so glad to see you.”

Not as glad as I am to see you.” Jimmy wraps his arms around me in what begins as a brotherly hug. He buries his face in my hair, breathing deeply. “I’ve been so worried about you, Stella. This whole thing with the murders...”

Shush, let’s not talk about that.” I am enjoying the feel of his lean, strong body pressed against mine. I ignore the dull ache from my bruised ribs. I want him to be my only reality. He smells clean, despite his disarray: soap, menthol, some kind of lemony aftershave. Just a hint of sweat, enough to blend the other scents into something organic and distinctly Jimmy. Breathing him in, I feel a bit light-headed, like he was some kind of drug.


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Monday, March 28, 2022

Review Tuesday: Giving the Body by Henry Corrigan -- #Horror #Wrestling #ReviewTuesday

Giving the Body cover

Giving the Body
by Henry Corrigan

Self-published, April 2022

Bernard “Bee” Donaldson is six four, three hundred pounds, and known in the pro wrestling world as Breaker of Men. Wrestling has been Bee’s life ever since he was a teenager, lusting after the sweaty, muscular men grappling with one another at Madison Square Garden. He loves it all: the showmanship, the high drama, the intoxicating roar of the crowd, the balletic duel of two powerful bodies struggling for supremacy, the danger that edges even the most highly staged match.

Bee also loves his manager and “forever boyfriend” Scottie. When he’s honest with himself, though, he has to admit that love takes second place to the thrill of stepping into the ring. But more than three decades on the circuit have taken their toll. Bee lives in near-constant pain from over-stressed joints and old injuries imperfectly healed. Scottie wants him to retire before he suffers permanent physical damage, but the Breaker of Men is unwilling to face his own decline.

When former partner and lover Luke Jackson suddenly reappears on the WWF circuit to challenge him, that just throws Bee’s own aging into sharper relief. Though Luke is Bee’s contemporary, he has the agility, endurance, energy and muscle definition of a twenty-five year old. Bee can’t shake the feeling that there’s something unnatural about Luke’s rejuvenation, something which he both dreads and desires.

I found Giving the Body stunning, original, terrifying and deeply satisfying. Although I know almost nothing about professional wrestling, the story yanked me into its world and held me there, spellbound. Mr. Corrigan sketches his characters in deft, sure strokes. Their dialogue feels authentic and their dreams and conflicts believable despite the (to me) foreign environment. The sense of foreboding builds relentlessly toward an awful, possibly inevitable climax, but the story is so compelling that you can’t look away.

On the surface this is a tale of action, with gritty, visceral descriptions of encounters in the ring between Bee and Luke. Giving the Body has many layers, though: emotional, spiritual and moral. In the hands of another author, it might have become a cautionary fable about the dangers of ambition and the varieties of lust, but Mr. Corrigan never lets the difficult questions he’s asking overwhelm the humanity of the characters. You may disapprove of Bee’s decisions, but you nevertheless continue to empathize with him – a prisoner in a battered body, animated by a dream of youthful power.

Giving the Body is a wonderful though disturbing read, a love story laced with pure horror. If you think you can handle that, I recommend it highly.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Creativity Pho Me: Finding Inspiration In The Mundane -- #Creativity #Inspiration #EnemiesToLovers #Giveaway

You Can't Hurry Love cover

By Anita Verebes (Guest Author)

For as long as I can remember, writing has been my method of escapism. I started with silly stories as a little kid, turned to fanfiction in my teens, and, as I approach my late thirties, I am now writing romance novels (with a little bit of fanfic still on the side).

Simply put, writing keeps me sane, if not happy. So I write often. Whenever I can grab a moment to myself, I whip out my notebook or my laptop and lose myself in words.

An acquaintance recently asked me how I can possibly be inspired to write as often as I do. What on earth can I prattle on about for 80,000 words at a time? Doesn't it get tedious? Don't I find myself stuck for inspiration?

I can't say that I've never experienced the dreaded Writer's Block, because I have -and I hate it when it strikes- but, when I stopped to really think about my writing habits, I noticed that I seem to include whatever's going on around me into my current projects. I'm not talking about anything huge – sadly, I have not managed to enthral a celebrity crush – however, little everyday activities have certainly inspired some of my personal favourite scenes from my novels.

For example, in Handle With Care, there's a scene between the protagonists where they share a meal at a Vietnamese restaurant. I literally wrote the bulk of that interaction while I demolished a bowl of pho on my lunch break at work. What can I say? I’m very food motivated.

Similarly, in You Can't Hurry Love, the characters visit Hervey Bay (a city a few hours' drive north of where I live) for a short getaway – a plot device inspired by talks of a weekend away with my husband and kids. We didn’t actually get to go (thanks, pandemic), but I was still able to imagine it vividly.

It sounds silly on paper, but it turns out I love sneaking bits of my own life into my characters' lives. Now that I'm conscious of doing it, it has almost become a game. What else about my day-to-day happenings can spark something interesting for my characters?

Coffee with a friend? Check. A kid’s birthday party? Check. Games night? Oooh, I haven't written it yet, but I can picture it now! (Cue me furiously scribbling into my notepad so that I remember it later.)

More conscious of this happening, I look for it in other authors' works, too. Little breadcrumbs of the minutiae of their own personal lives, dotted along the paths of their stories with care. Like an easter egg in a Marvel movie...but, y'know, maybe not quite as exciting.

Now, I know these are fairly commonplace activities. But, as a reader, I enjoy these moments as much as I do the smut (and I really do love the smut) or the big, dramatic, pivotal parts of a plot. And I'm also aware that when I – or any other authors – write them, it's usually for a purpose other than simple filler.

That said, even as filler, I believe these moments lend authenticity and depth to the characters and to the story as a whole. These 'sneak peeks' into the more mundane aspects of a character's life ground them in reality. They can be fun, or sweet, or sometimes heartbreakingly sad or lonely. I think these little moments work so well because they're relatable, or maybe because they give us the opportunity for introspection, or a spot of unexpected dialogue, or some combination of it all. It’s somehow simultaneously engaging and soothing. Or at least it is to me.

So, do I find myself stuck for inspiration? Not as often as one might think. And perhaps this even answers the unasked question about how writing serves so well as my escapism, too, now that I think about it!

If you’d like a deeper glimpse into my head (oh, the horror!), check out my newest release, You Can’t Hurry Love. 

Oh - and to thank you for dropping by, I will give away a $5 bookstore gift card to one randomly selected person who leaves a comment!

About The Book

Title: You Can’t Hurry Love


Release Date: ebook: March 24, 2022 print: March 6, 2022

Rating: Explicit/Mature Audiences Only

Sometimes love is worth the wait.

Sara Carlisle and Charlie Rhodes are complete opposites. Oil and water. Chalk and cheese.

Before Sara even meets Charlie, she hates him. He's insulted her best friend – a woman Sara considers family – and that is unforgivable. In person he proves to be just as obnoxious and insufferable as she'd anticipated. And, as far as she's concerned, the fact that he's tall and muscular with an accent to die for is not enough to redeem him. Charlie Rhodes is an arrogant A--hole (with a capital A!) and that's all there is to it!

For his part, Charlie thinks Sara is a conceited pain in the arse. A prissy princess to the nth degree. It becomes his prerogative to get under her skin for the sheer pleasure of riling her up. He feels genuine enjoyment in the face of her frustration, and he makes no secret of it. Besides, she gives as good as she gets!

Fundamentally opposed in every way, it's obvious to those around them that they're not going to get along. 

But unfortunately, thanks to their respective families, they are stuck in each other's lives for the foreseeable future. Being civil is as good as it is going to get...or is it?

When their relationship turns from reluctant acquaintances to red hot lovers, they find it's good. 

Really good.

What could possibly go wrong?

In a slow-burn romance that follows hot on the heels of Handle With Care*, Sara and Charlie discover that you really can't rush romance.

*Both Handle With Care and You Can't Hurry Love can be read as standalone novels in the expanding Jukebox Collection series.



When Brennan changed the subject, asking Sara what she intended to do with the last of her time off work, Charlie could have sworn that she batted her lashes coquettishly at him before turning back to Brennan and answering, "Nothing much. Just laying around the house, I guess."

"You haven't given up on dating already, have you?" Jeff asked her with obvious concern. "A couple of bad Tinder dates doesn't mean there aren't viable men out there."

Charlie hoped his expression gave none of his inner turmoil at the question away. Was he jealous of other men taking her out? Damn straight he was. But could he do anything about that when he lived on the other side of the world? No. So he bit his tongue and waited on her reply.

Once again, she seemed to cast him a sideways glance before she said, "I wouldn't say I've given up. I'm just..." she brought her hands up and held them with palms facing the ceiling, shifting them in a weighing motion, "taking a break from Tinder."

Was it just him, or did her last statement sound pointed?

It was probably just him.

God, he'd never been this insane over a woman before. It wasn't anything she had done or said, either. This was all a mess of his own making and he needed to snap out of it before he humiliated himself.

Coming back to the conversation, he had a witty response on his lips, but it died as her hand landed on his thigh. He jumped in his seat –glad, at least, that he'd kept any sounds of shock internal– and eyed her in surprise as she continued chatting with Jeff confidently, as if nothing was amiss.

Alright, he considered as he willed his heart rate back to normal, maybe she's not aware of it. Maybe she'd been making some sort of point, or had needed to steady herself, or...something.

Charlie had almost managed to convince himself that he had overreacted, and then her thumb, high up on his thigh, started stroking.

Still, she continued talking to Brennan and Jeff as though everything was normal.

Charlie swallowed roughly. What the actual fuck?

She wasn't in the right position to feel how he was physically reacting to her actions, but all she had to do was move her hand a fraction and...well, he didn't know what would happen then. He didn't want to know. Well, some part of him did. And not just the part currently rising to attention, as it were.

Christ, he was confused.

Was she drunk? That could definitely explain it.

However, he knew that she wasn't. She'd had half a glass of wine over the course of the evening, having previously declared that she had to drive home and was going to be sensible.

But if that wasn't it, what was it? Charlie couldn't quite fathom why she'd be touching him –definitely flirting with him– the way she had been.

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Prices (in USD)

Print: $10.99

E-Book: $2.99 (Free on Kindle Unlimited)

Length: 240 Pages

About the Author

Anita (A.N.) Verebes is a daydreamer and romance novelist. As a civil marriage celebrant, Anita makes a living telling other people’s love stories and celebrating real romance! Also armed with a Bachelor of Education (Secondary), Anita is a qualified – but not practising – High School English teacher who loves to read anything she can get her hands on, including fanfiction. (And, yes, she’s written her fair share of that, too.) Living directly between Queensland’s sunny Gold and Sunshine coasts, Anita spends her days exploring the Great South East with her husband and their two rambunctious sons. When at home, she’s also a slave to two cats and one very spoilt Great Dane X.

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Saturday, March 26, 2022

Charity Sunday: A home for every feline -- #CharitySunday #StrayFeralRescue #CatTown @PiaManning3

Charity Sunday Banner 2022

By Pia Manning (Guest Blogger) 

Today I’m joining Charity Sunday for the first time, supporting two organizations close to my heart. I don’t have a blog of my own at the moment, but Lisabet has volunteered to host my post.

Here are the charities I want you to know about.

Stray Feral Rescue, Inc. of Minnesota (501c3 established in 2005)




CatTown Rescue of Wisconsin (registered nonprofit in Wisconsin-affiliate of Stray Feral Rescue, Inc.)


In my romance Coming Home: Caveman Creek Book 2, Sherry Evans is adopted by a stray mama cat. Sherry finds it in her heart to give the mama cat and her kittens a home. In many cases, a feline family isn’t as lucky.

Enter Stray Feral Rescue & CatTown, two affiliated feline rescue groups that don’t receive the attention or funding they deserve. They work with people that find themselves feeding and caring for more strays than they can handle. Cats reproduce quickly, and one breeding pair in a garage, shed or barn, can turn into an alarming number in a few months.

Neither rescue group can lay claim to a shelter, kennel or building, where folks can come to and pick out, a pet. Rather:

Cats come here and go to temporary foster homes for a couple of weeks where they are cared for until evaluated and fully vetted (spayed or neutered, determined to be healthy and have all vaccinations up to date) and then they are placed according to their evaluations. Any adoptable cats go on to other rescue groups that are adoption based to find homes when those groups have room. We find the rest a home on a hobby farm or property where someone has a large safe rural lot, away from other people and highways.”

Stray Feral Rescue and CatTown do their best to rehome abandoned felines, but most importantly, reduce the number of unwanted pets through their spay and neutering initiatives. It can be an uphill battle to find funding, especially in today’s economic climate. The good news is that even a few dollars can feed a cat or two for a week. So please, consider donating. Any amount is a welcome amount!

I will donate one dollar to each of these great organizations for each comment I receive, up to a maximum of $50. So please, don’t be shy!

Meanwhile – here’s a bit about the book.

Coming Home: Caveman Creek Bk 2

Available at SirenBookstand:



Bounced around from place to place as a child, Sherry Evans is seeking a town to call home. She also needs an affordable place to realize her dream of opening a daycare center. What Sherry is not seeking is a romance. But Matt Bauer, Chris Carter and Eric Simmons have other ideas. The men, building contractors, own and operate MCE Construction in Pinecone Creek, Wisconsin. When they meet Sherry, they know she’s the woman they’ve been waiting for. They are more than willing to renovate a building for her daycare – as long as it’s in Pinecone Creek. The men agree that they want a lasting relationship with Sherry and plan a campaign to convince her that they are the only guys for her. But an old girlfriend has other ideas. She wants her men back and Sherry gone. How far will she to destroy Sherry’s dreams? Can Matt, Chris and Eric convince Sherry to love three men?


Sherry suddenly and unexpectedly found herself between three of the hottest men she’d ever met. They were tall and heavily muscled. Sherry imagined herself as the safest woman on planet Earth. Safe, yes. Nervous? Oh, hell yes. She now wondered if the T-shirt that she’d happily slipped over her an hour ago looked okay. Her eyes darted across it, checking for stains. Then she remembered that she hadn’t eaten anything yet.

She dredged her brain for details about sports teams and construction equipment, in case the men wanted to talk about them. But she didn’t follow any teams, and knew next to nothing about building stuff. The group approached the grill and the butterflies in her stomach morphed into buzzards. Sherry dreaded the sit down and talk part that came next. Those gorgeous men wanted to talk to her, Sherry. And she’d have to answer them. Fear of boring the trio swamped her like an incoming tidal wave.

When they reached the picnic table, Matt and Eric waited for Sherry to sit down before they claimed seats on either side of her. Chris sat opposite her.

Jake bit back a laugh. He and Lana found places at the end of their table. “Guess they’re not taking any chances.”

You’re visiting the sheriff and Lana?” Eric asked, ignoring Jake’s comment

Yup, I’m staying with them until I find a good place to open my business.”

That’s exciting. What kind of business? Here in Pinecone Creek?” Matt picked up his burger and studied the young woman beside him. His gaze lingered on her bee stung lips and dimples. He wanted to run his fingers through the black hair that flowed over her shoulders and down her back like a dark stream. Her breasts pushed against her shirt when she shifted to answer him. He forced his eyes to focus on her face and not stray.

I’m hoping to start a daycare here. I have a state grant and I’ve saved some money. That is, if I can find an affordable place. If not, then I’ll have to look somewhere else. What about all of you? Have you lived here long?”

A few years,” Eric began explaining. “Matt’s an electrician and I’m a plumber. We worked on so many building projects together that we decided to join forces and start our own business. Then we met Chris—he’s a general contractor and does the kind of finish work that we don’t. It made sense to make him a partner.”

Sherry observed the men while they ate. All three wore ballpark style caps that advertised “MCE Construction” and had a small hammer embroidered on the front. They wore jeans and T-shirts that showcased their muscled chests. She thought that Chris was the oldest, but his hat cast a shadow that partially hid his face, so she wasn’t sure. His tan and sun-kissed brown hair reflected a career spent outdoors, while the laugh lines etched around his mouth hinted at a man with a sense of humor.

Matt reached out and tucked a stray curl behind Sherry’s ear. “Like what you see?” he asked softly. “I know I do.”

Sherry’s breath caught in her throat. Crap! Caught! She felt her face heating up, and figured her cheeks had to be stoplight red. She wished she flirted with men all the time, that she was armed with snappy comebacks and cool lines. But she wasn’t that woman and never had been. At best, she might think of something tomorrow when it didn’t matter anymore. Instead, she reached for her cup and gulped.

Sherry stiffened when she felt Eric run his hand up and down her back. “It’s all right, honey, we want you to look. We want to get to know you.” She searched his face, waiting for him to make a joke or laugh at her. Surprised, she realized he meant what he said. His gentle touch soon calmed her anxiety. She relaxed.

Chris leaned forward and covered Sherry’s small hand with his large one. His thumb caressed the back of her hand, and he gave it a tender squeeze. “How about we walk around when everyone’s done eating?”

Yes, I’d like that.” Sherry put her cup down, grateful for Chris’s rescue. She wondered how much the men really wanted to walk with her. I can’t imagine all three of them sticking around, she thought. They’ll probably ditch me when they see someone they know.


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