Category Archives: Western

COWBOYS! The Circle Eight Series Continues with TOBIAS by Emma Lang

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Circle Eight: Tobias

Circle Eight – Volume 6

Emma Lang

Genre: Historical Western

Date of Publication: September 30, 2014

ISBN: 9780988566675

ASIN: B00NHXMZKA

Number of pages: 215

Word Count: 65,000

Cover Artist: Kim Killion

Book Description:

A broken man. A woman who needs a hero. A love that should never have been.

Rebecca Graham always knew she was to marry a hero and leave home in blissful happiness. She chose that man when she was seventeen. Unfortunately, her family hated him. In a fury over being swindled by someone else, Tobias burned down the Circle Eight, her family’s ranch. He spent four months rebuilding alongside her family in penance. When he accepts her help to nurse his grandfather, she has hopes he will become the hero she envisioned. She was wrong.

Tobias Gibson never expected happiness for himself. His brothers, adopted by their patriarch Pops, were all that matters. After Pops dies while under Rebecca Graham’s care, he cannot forgive her failure to save his grandfather. He ignores his attraction to Rebecca. There is too much bad blood between them.

Life never rolls forward as expected however. Five years after he’d last seen her, Rebecca Graham reenters his life. Together they face the storm that sweeps across their lives. They have to rely on each other and ignore the growing love setting their souls and hearts on fire.

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TobiasEXCERPT:

April 1849

The fist that crashed into Rebecca Graham’s jaw was small but hard and full of fury. Her neck snapped back and stars danced in front of her eyes but she held on to her temper and the arm in her hands.

“Sarah, you have to let me do this. I know it hurts but I need to set your arm.” Rebecca tried again and a second punch slammed into her cheek.

“Jehosophat, girl, don’t go punching Miss Rebecca. She’s trying to help you.” The old woman stood behind them, wringing her hands and pacing. Her granddaughter Sarah had broken her arm falling out of a tree. As the nearest person who could reset a bone, Rebecca had been summoned.

Then subsequently punched for her efforts. Sometimes her need to be a healer and an herbalist seemed like a mistake. A big joke by God to punish her for being the ugliest Graham sister, the unmarried spinster, the one holding out for a non-existent prince.

“If you don’t sit still, I won’t be able to set the bone and your arm will be crooked for the rest of your life.” Rebecca had two younger siblings and a passel of nieces and nephews. She knew how to handle unruly children. “Is that what you what?”

Sarah, a redhead with a riot of freckles on her nose, pooched out her lower lip and shook her head. The rough and tumble girl reminded Rebecca of her younger sister, Catherine, full of piss and vinegar and ready to take on the world one fist at a time.

“Then let me do this. You can tell all the boys how you bit through a piece of leather rather than cry.” Rebecca reached into her tapestry bag and pulled out an old leather strop that had belonged to her oldest brother, Matt. It had grown too thin for a razor, but folded in half, it would work for an eight-year-old to bite down on. Rebecca ignored the throbbing in her cheek and put the leather in the girl’s mouth.

Sarah scowled, her red brows furrowed, but she bit down on the leather. As Rebecca took hold of the girl’s arm again, she paled, making the freckles pop out like cinnamon spots.

“Close your eyes and imagine you’re in your favorite place.” Rebecca nodded to Mrs. McGinty, who stood behind her granddaughter this time, ready to intercede in case a little fist flew again.

Rebecca stared at the misshapen arm, seeing beneath the skin and muscle to the fracture. She had set bones before, with success, but every time was new and different. Challenging and intimidating. She took a deep breath and allowed a calm to settle over her. It happened each time she had to use her healing skills and she welcomed it, like an old and trusted friend.

She positioned her hands on the girl’s arm and pulled, moving the bones into place as though completing a puzzle. Within a minute, she was done. Sarah had pressed her face into her grandmother’s belly and quietly wept.

“Good girl.” Rebecca smiled and resisted the urge to wipe the sweat off her own brow. “Now let’s put a splint on your arm and then I’ll give you something for the pain.”

“Thanks, Doc.” Mrs. McGinty had tears in her eyes. “She’s all I have left of my son.”

Rebecca understood all about family and holding onto them with all your might. Her family was all she had as well, and although there was a lot more than one, she treasured every member. Eight siblings, all on their own path in life but tied together by their family ranch, the Circle Eight.

“I’m glad I could help.” Rebecca set to work and did what needed to be done. An hour later, she packed up her supplies, noting she would need to replenish her herbs soon. There had been too many people to heal as of late and not enough time to gather the much needed supplies.

“I can’t pay you much.” Mrs. McGinty held out a few coins.

Rebecca took the money with something that tasted like guilt. She knew they didn’t have much but if she didn’t accept payment, people would expect her to work for free and that would devalue her hard work. She tucked the coins into her reticule and nodded to the older woman.

“She should keep the splint dry and on her arm for at least four weeks. I will come by next week to check on her. Please send word if you need me before then.”

Rebecca left the McGinty’s farm with her steps dragging. The sun had started to set and with it the cool spring night. Winter had held on with a ferocity not seen for decades. Spring had finally arrived mere weeks ago. No wonder Sarah had been climbing a tree. She likely hadn’t wanted to spend another moment indoors. If Rebecca had been a young girl, she’d have been running wild with her brothers and sisters on a beautiful day like this too.

Rebecca’s horse was where she left him. Well, almost. The gelding had stretched his reins all the way over to a patch of sweet grass by the nearby garden. He was happily munching away. She shook her head at his antics. Matt had given her the horse when he was barely a colt, one of the first Matt had bred from their own stock. She’d been thirteen and so excited to have a grown-up horse.

She’d named him Ocho for the Circle Eight, her family’s ranch. Ocho had proved to have a unique personality amongst the horses. The saddle horse had incredible stamina and an easy gait that made him perfect for long rides. He also had a tendency to nip at her behind when she failed to rub him down fast enough.

“Ocho, we are headed home, boy.” After untying his reins, she secured the tapestry bag to the saddle horn and swung up into the saddle. Her split skirt allowed her to ride astride, unlike Catherine, who wore britches and rode as though she had fire on her ass at all times.

By the time she reached the Circle Eight, Rebecca’s exhaustion had sharpened to the point she was afraid she was going to fall asleep sitting up. She managed to put Ocho in his stall, rub him down and make sure there was feed and water. She couldn’t manage another thing.

Matt would lecture her if he saw her in her current exhausted state. Particularly given she likely had a black eye, which was no doubt swollen too. She avoided the house in favor of the well pump in the back yard. She set her bag down and knelt in the grass. Fortunately, her brother Benjy had oiled the pump a few weeks earlier and it moved easily in the darkness. Cool water spilled into her waiting palms.

She splashed her face until she felt more awake. The requests for her services had become much more frequent as her reputation had grown. There were few physicians within a hundred-mile radius and even fewer who were readily available. Folks had started calling her Doc, which was foolish since women couldn’t be doctors, but no matter how much she corrected them, the nickname persisted. Doctor Radicy was her mentor, the man she had looked to as a savior of the local folk. He’d taught her a great deal, but she had taught herself even more.

The number of patients had tripled in the last month alone. It seemed as though every day someone came by the ranch looking for Doc. Rebecca didn’t know if she would continue to practice healing or if she would go back to being an herbalist. Truthfully she enjoyed both but that left no time for herself. Certainly no man had wanted to be with her, which suited her just fine. Being the plain sister had its advantages.

She allowed herself, in the cover of darkness, to remember what it felt like to have her first kiss. The sweet surrender to the man she had already decided was to be her husband. Too bad he had seen her as a child, someone to pat on the head and send home. It hadn’t felt that way when he’d kissed her though, nor after when they rode home in the darkness. The night had hidden what they’d done. Her entire world had shifted, leaving her changed forever.

It had been five years, yet she could still taste him, feel the roughness of his whiskers, the warm gust of his breath. Rebecca had imagined being in his arms forever. Instead, she was left with an empty heart and unfulfilled dreams.

She patted her face dry with a cloth from her bag and headed for the house. Supper would be welcome, but the explanation for the black eye wouldn’t. Matt would yell at her, or at least admonish her for letting patients get the better of her. No matter. She loved what she did and nothing would change her mind on what she wanted to do with her life.

Rebecca was a healer in her heart and soul.

*************************

Tobias Gibson stared at the knotty roof inside the cabin. The scent of whiskey pushed through his pores; his body reeked of it. Hell, he was completely sour and stale in more ways than one. Everything he tried to do fell to shit so he stopped trying. Life had become a monotonous routine, which he dulled with liquor. It was an existence, but not a life.

Tobias was alone. Very, very alone. He spent his days prospecting in the dirt and shit, his nights at the bottom of a bottle. Pitiful and stupid. That should be his new name. He tried to make a living many ways but nothing felt right. All that was left were the few acres surrounding the cabin. A tiny piece of nothing.

The sun peeked through the grimy windows, reminding him it was daytime. He needed to get up and do something besides fart, sleep and feel sorry for himself. He rolled over and looked over at the corner. Inevitably his mind drifted back to that night five years earlier. To her. She had stood there, wide-eyed and appealing, tempting him to forget all his responsibilities.

As much as he wanted to forget Rebecca Graham, she crept into his thoughts often. Too often for his liking. She was likely married with a passel of young’uns by now. He had to stop remembering how she tasted, how she smelled, how she trembled in his arms. It was torture, self-flagellation he put himself through on a nightly basis. The liquor helped but not enough.

Tobias knew he was meant to be alone. He was too ornery for any woman to love him and too much of a son of a bitch, literally, to have a friend. Even his adopted brothers had given up on him. Foolish people thought they could change him. He was still the same person who had burned down the Circle Eight ranch to retrieve his grandfather’s deed and money. He was still the same person who caused the inadvertent death of the Graham’s grandmother in that same fire.

There wasn’t much he had touched that didn’t become ash in his hands. They were black with it. Tobias knew from a young age he was poison on two legs. His mother had known it, beat it into him. Took others a bit longer to figure it out. Now everyone had, leaving him truly alone. He lived his days wandering between the minutes, wondering if the world would ever give him anything but darkness.

“Fuck.” He threw himself out of bed and staggered sideways, landing hard on the old chair beside the bed. It cracked beneath his weight and splintered. His ass slammed onto the floor, jarring his spine hard enough to make his teeth slam together.

He stared at the jagged pieces and his throat closed. Pops had made the chair long ago when Tobias had come to live with his grandfather. It was how they had formed a bond, building a few pieces of furniture, but this chair had been the first. To a lonely, wild child, it was something solid, something stable. Now Tobias had broken another memory of the man who had shaped his life.

He didn’t know how long he sat there feeling sorry for himself, but it was long enough for the sun to rise high in the sky. He finally got to his feet, slowly this time, and went outside to piss.

The ground tilted this way and that, but he held onto the side of the house, splinters digging into his fingers that he’d have to be sober enough to pull out later. It was April, or at least he thought it was. The days blurred together, although winter had been long enough to make it hard to get to town for more whiskey.

Tobias pissed behind a tree since the outhouse was literally full of shit and needed to be closed over and new hole dug. Another task he hadn’t gotten around to doing. So he pissed on a tree and shit in the bushes. No one was around to care.

He knew he was a pitiful mess. A ridiculous, pitiful mess.

He made his way back to the house and his stomach reminded him he hadn’t eaten in quite some time. After some scrounging he found a bit of jerky and a biscuit that might have been made a decade earlier. It was food and his body needed it. He resisted the urge to chase the food down with his favorite drink. Instead he went back outside to the well and used every ounce of energy he had to pump the handle until he got some cool water. It tasted good, surprising him. He splashed some on his face and hair, waking himself up a bit more.

Tobias wandered over to the gravestone that sat beneath the big tree outside the house. Pops had loved to watch the sunset from that spot. Now he could see it every day from his final resting place.

“Ah, Pops, I miss you.” Tobias sat down with a thump and rested his arms on his knees. “I’ve failed at just about everything.”

The wind rustled the branches above him, the leaf buds emerging after the cold winter. Somewhere in the distance, birds chirruped at each other and a hawk squawked in the morning air. It was peaceful outside, but he would never discover the same within his soul. It was as black as the ashes that coated his heart.

“I wish you were still here. Selfish, I know, but if’n you were here I wouldn’t be alone.”

Not entirely true, of course. Tobias had run everyone else off in one way or another. He was alone because of his own stubborn foolishness. He’d gotten fired from his last job a month ago. No, it had been three months. Three months.

Where had three months gone?

Into a bottle, he thought sourly. With very little money left, he had to do something besides drink himself into the ground beneath Pops. Not that anyone would notice if it happened. Hell, he could lay there stiff as a dead opossum for months until someone found him. Likely never even get buried. Such was the life of a man who didn’t give a shit.

“What can I do?” He shook his head. “I’m lost, Pops. I can’t find my path.”

Tobias looked south as though he could see the start of his fall from humanity. It had been five years ago when they had fallen for that con man, Vaughn Montgomery, or O’Connor, as they knew him. Losing the deed and money had been the first step to hell. Now Tobias was trapped there with no way back up.

He needed a miracle.

About the Author:EmmaLang

Beth Williamson, who also writes as Emma Lang, is an award-winning, bestselling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her books range from sensual to scorching hot. She is a Career Achievement Award Nominee in Erotic Romance by Romantic Times Magazine, in both 2009 and 2010, and a semi-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

Beth has always been a dreamer, never able to escape her imagination. It led her to the craft of writing romance novels. She’s passionate about purple, books, and her family. She has a weakness for shoes and purses, as well as bookstores. Her path in life has taken several right turns, but she’s been with the man of her dreams for more than 20 years.

Beth works full-time and writes romance novels evening, weekends, early mornings and whenever there is a break in the madness. She is compassionate, funny, a bit reserved at times, tenacious and a little quirky. Her cowboys and western romances speak of a bygone era, bringing her readers to an age where men were honest, hard and packing heat. For a change of pace, she also dives into some smokin’ hot contemporaries, bringing you heat, romance and snappy dialogue.

Life might be chaotic, as life usually is, but Beth always keeps a smile on her face, a song in her heart, and a cowboy on her mind. 😉

Website: http://www.bethwilliamson.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bethwilliamson

Twitter: http://twitter.com/authorbethw

 

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Spotlight: The COWBOY and The VAMPIRE, Book 3 by Hays & McFall

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rough Trails and Shallow Graves

The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection

Book Three

Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall

 

CV-book-3iGenre: Paranormal Romance/Western Romance

Publisher: Pumpjack Press

Date of Publication: May 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9838200-4-8

Number of pages: 358

Word Count: 82,900

Cover Artist: Aaron Perkins

 

Book Description:

Say goodbye to LonePine, Wyoming, a typical small town in the American west with typical small town problems — romantic intrigues, warm beer and vampires.

When Lizzie goes missing on their wedding night, Tucker is forced to team up with his bloodthirsty Russian nemesis to find answers. Crashing through cowboy country, the vampire spirit world and wrecked salmon canneries, they confront an evil more ancient than even the undead — human greed — twisting science into something terrible.

Can there be a happily-ever-after for a cowboy and vampire, or is their unusual love just a delusion?  Time to cowboy up.

This is the third book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection.

Available at Amazon

 

Reviews of the first two books….

Introducing racial issues isn’t the only adjustment the authors have made to the vampire mythos, but it’s more than just the details that set this series apart. Rather, it’s the way the authors utilize those details to create meaningful conflicts and world-altering choices for the characters…the book is first and foremost a thriller, upping the ante in every chapter as bullets fly and relationships strain under the weight of old loyalties and new revelations…with strong writing, funny characters (no irony is lost on one vampiress who takes to sporting a “Future Farmers of America” jacket) and plenty of action, it’s hard to fault the authors for keeping the focus on a story this riveting. ~ Kirkus Reviews

As a vampire novel, The Cowboy and the Vampire is sure to satisfy Dracula fans’ expectations. However, this book has a little something extra to offer readers. A little something that harkens back to the days when man fought against the wild in the name of civilization. Hays and McFall have succeeded in mixing the Western genre tropes with the Gothic conventions to create a zany grey romance.

 ~ Writastic Thoughts from the Thinking Realm

One of the weirdest stories I have ever read. It’s right up there with Neil Gaiman’s man-swallowing woman parts and talking tents. Instead, here we have rocket-launching, womb-sucking, Bible-bending, non-pointy-toothed vampires. And love. And cowboys. Depending on what you are looking for, that might be a good thing. If I had to liken this book to a movie, it would either be to Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, or maybe more appropriately, Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk to Dawn.

~ The Avid Reader

The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance is one of the funniest and most engaging books I have read in a long time. Jam-packed with adventure, vampires, true love, and a cast of characters you will not soon forget, you find yourself turning the pages thinking, “What more could possibly happen to these two?” And then, you find out. I never imagined the melding of a contemporary western and a paranormal romance could ever be so seamless or so much fun.

~ Bitten by Books

A choice and very much recommended read, not to be missed. Relationships are tumultuous when they may only last a few decades, but when they last eternity, it can get more difficult. “Blood and Whiskey” is a novel of adventure, horror, and cowboys as a follow up to previous novel ‘The Cowboy and the Vampire’, as couple Tucker and Lizzie retreat to a tiny town to of LonePine, hoping to settle down, but the reality of the Vampires on their trail may make that an impossibility. A riveting read that explores many concepts on top of the intrigue of vampires in the lawless lands of the west, “Blood and Whiskey” is a choice and very much recommended read, not to be missed.

~ Midwest Book Review, Micah Andrew, Reviewer

If you’re looking for a combination of sex, blood and Western romance, pour yourself a shot of the good stuff and settle in for a wickedly good read.

~ Renee Struthers, Eastern Oregonian Newspaper

About the Authors:

Between the two of them, Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall have worked in writing jobs ranging from cowboy-poet to energy journalist to restaurant reviewer to university press officer. After they met, their writing career took center stage when they wrote the first book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection as a test for marriage. They passed. Clark and Kathleen now live in Portland, Oregon.

www.cowboyandvampire.comHaysMcfall

www.facebook.com/cowboyandvampire

@cowboyvamp (Twitter)

@cowboyvampire (Instagram)

We’re Having a PARTY!!!

 

 

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Something for everyone! Great Books! Great Authors! Loads of Fun!!!!

 

 

 

Spotlight on: Cowboys & Vampires

Let ‘er buck!

The Cowboy and the Vampire Reboot

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The phrase “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is a lie. It’s a damn lie. People do it all the time. Art is truth.

To mark the upcoming May 2014 release of the third book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection, the series was treated to a gothic western makeover, with artwork commissioned exclusively for the series.

“We wanted to give readers something special and the new covers get right to the heart of the series,” said co-author Hays. “Go on and judge the books by these covers! They bring together the paranormal and the western elements perfectly, setting a dark tone with just a hint of the humor.”

“Each time you look at the images, you see something a bit different, even more of the opposites-attract romantic theme pops, and the overtones of simmering passion,” said co-author McFall.

Get caught up on the love between Tucker and Lizzie now before the release of book three.

AVUR web coverA Very Unusual Romance

The Cowboy and the Vampire

Book 1

Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall

“Deliciously dark.” – Booklist

Welcome to LonePine, Wyoming, where the best of the American west faces off against the rise of the undead. It’s a love story for the ages.

Worlds collide when a broke cowboy and a glamorous big city reporter fall lipstick over boot heels in love. But she carries a 2,000-year-old secret in her veins that will test their unusual romance.

Saddle up for a hilarious, existential gallop through the dying west with an army of ancient bloodsuckers in hot pursuit.
 

Blood and Whiskeyblood and whiskey

The Cowboy and the Vampire

Book 2

Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall

“Strong writing, funny characters … riveting.” – Kirkus Reviews 

Welcome back to LonePine, Wyoming. It’s like any other slowly dying town in the modern American West. Except it’s suddenly lousy with vampires.

Cultures clash as the vampire illuminati ride into town to settle ancient scores, test loyalties and thrash out a new world order. Can the fragile relationship between a cowboy and a vampire survive lust, betrayal and country music?

Grab the reins and hold on tight as Tucker and Lizzie stampede through rural America and across the vampire afterlife, desperate to protect their unlikely love.

A Tangled Publishing History

The first book of this series, A Very Unusual Romance, was published in 1999, long before the vampire craze. With comparisons to Anne Rice and Zane Grey, the book gained a devoted following with initial sales of more than 10,000 print units. Fast forward a decade, and the publisher (Llewellyn) brought out the book as a second edition in 2010, aiming to capitalize on the Twilight mega-hit. Meanwhile, the authors wrote the second book in the series — Blood and Whiskey — bringing it out under their own imprint (Pumpjack Press, 2012). In 2013, they gained the rights back for the original book, and now, with book three poised for publication in May 2014, the restored Cowboy and Vampire series has been redesigned with exclusive art and is coming out for the first time in 15 years as a complete collection. Yippi-ki-yay!

About the Authors:HaysMcfall

Between the two of them, Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall have worked in writing jobs ranging from cowboy-poet to energy journalist to restaurant reviewer to university press officer. After they met, their writing career took center stage when they wrote the first book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection as a test for marriage. They passed. Clark and Kathleen now live in Portland, Oregon.

Connect with the authors:

www.cowboyandvampire.com

www.facebook.com/cowboyandvampire

@cowboyvamp (twitter)

@cowboyvampire (instagram)

About the Artist

When asked about his biggest artistic influences, Aaron Perkins says there are too many to name, but when pressed mentions Gustav Klimt, Modigliani and the full-on art deco and nouveau movements, abstraction expressionism and surrealism. Aaron is also a big fan of concert poster art. That heady and diverse collection of inspiration shows up in The Cowboy and Vampire Collection covers.

HIS DAKOTA BRIDE – Romance To Sigh For

HIS DAKOTA BRIDE
Dakota Hearts, Book 5

Lisa Mondello

His dakota bride final

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: March 17, 2014

Words: 22,050
Language: English

ISBN: 9781940512044

ASIN: B00IA6OF9I

AMAZON    SMASHWORDS  B&N

REVIEW:

Lisa Mondello has written another “pull at your heartstrings” romance with HIS DAKOTA BRIDE, Book 5 of the Dakota Hearts series. The shorter length contains all the emotional impact of a full length novel in a fast paced plot of lost love and redemption.

I think this might be my favorite book in the Dakota Heart series . . . but I’ve said that after reading each title. Sigh.

Wade McKinnon returns to his hometown of Rudolph, South Dakota to renew the love he once shared with Skylar Barnett. The only problem is Skylar thought he died in a Tsunami five years ago. Since she was pregnant with Wade’s son, she moved to Rudolph to be around his family but kept the child’s father a secret. She eventually meets and marries a good fellow by the name of Jay, who tries to make the marriage work until he realizes Skylar will never love him.

Wade has been in hiding since his secret work for the government placed his family in jeopardy all those years ago, but as soon as he learns of Skylar’s newly single status, he decides to “resurrect” himself. Skylar is not the only one hurt by his deliberate disappearance. The tight McKinnon family is wounded, as well, and everyone is having a hard time separating the joy of his return from the anger over his lies. Wade obviously has a lot of fences to mend.

I see-sawed between the characters motives, undecided about who was right and who was wrong. I understood Skylar’s pain and wanting to distance herself from Wade but I also validated Wade’s decision to remain in hiding. In the end, I just wanted them to kiss and make up and boy howdy, did they ever! It was a sweet journey to get there because those two characters are chock full of raw angst. The layers are so perfectly written that I found myself experiencing the same internal tug of war as Skylar and Wade.

Ms. Mondello weaves a brief synopsis of the coupling history from the first four books, and includes key characters in the story line. It’s because of her subtle effort that I would not have been confused if HIS DAKOTA BRIDE had been the first title I read from the series.

HIS DAKOTA BRIDE is short, sweet and full of romance – and demonstrates why Lisa Mondello a NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY Best Selling Author.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The story of the South Dakota McKinnon clan continues in HIS DAKOTA BRIDE, book 5 of DAKOTA HEARTS.

Her heart had always belonged to Wade McKinnon…

When single mother, Skylar Barnett, came to South Dakota, she thought her life was just beginning. Newly pregnant, she waited for the love of her life, Wade McKinnon, to join her so they could start their life near his family. But her joy quickly shattered after learning Wade was presumed killed during a tsunami that hit the small Asian island they’d both worked on in the Peace Corp. She’d spent the last four years making peace with her decision to marry a man she didn’t love so her baby would have a father. But marrying the wrong man when her heart belonged to Wade was the biggest mistake of her life.

Secrets and circumstance kept them apart…

No one in Wade McKinnon’s life knew that his work with the Peace Corp. was just a cover for his real job in a secret military agency. Not even Skylar, the woman he’d fallen hard for the moment he’d laid eyes on her. But when his mission in Asia suddenly became too dangerous and all agents in the field were ordered to disappear, using the tragic events of the tsunami on the island where they’d met seemed like the only way to keep Skylar and their unborn baby safe until the situation cooled down. As much as it killed him, Wade stepped aside when he learned Skylar had moved on with another man. But now that she’s free, he’s determined to do everything he can to win back her love and claim the life they’d dreamed of sharing.

The Dakota Hearts series includes:

HER DAKOTA MAN book 1
BADLAND BRIDE book 2
DAKOTA HEAT book 3
WILD DAKOTA HEART book 4
HIS DAKOTA BRIDE book 5
DAKOTA WEDDING book 6 (later in 2014)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

lisa_web_pic_3_smaller

USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Lisa Mondello, has held many jobs in her life but being a published authors is the last job she’ll ever have. She’s not retiring! She

Her first book, All I Want for Christmas is You won Best First Book in the Golden Quill. Her books have finaled in the HOLT Medallion, and the Colorado Award of Excellence contests. In 2011 she re-released her award winning book All I Want for Christmas is You along with a re-issue of her romantic comedy, The Marriage Contract, with a new contemporary romance called The Knight and Maggie’s Baby.blames the creation of the personal computer for her leap into writing novels. Otherwise, she’d still be penning stories with paper and pen.

In 2012 she reissued the first 3 books of her popular Western Romance Series TEXAS HEARTS including Her Heart for the Asking, His Heart for the Trusting and The More I See. Writing as LA Mondello, her romantic suspense, MATERIAL WITNESS, book 1 of her Heroes of Providence series made the USA TODAY Bestsellers List.

You can find more information about Lisa Mondello at lisamondello.blogspot.com

@LisaMondello

https://www.facebook.com/LisaMondello.Author

Lisa Mondello’s Series “Dakota Hearts”

~~~ REVIEW AND CONTEST ~~~

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I LOVE Lisa Mondello’s books. So when offered the opportunity to review her contemporary western series, Dakota Hearts, I began doing the happy dance all over the house – much to the dismay of my husband. My dog, on the other hand, was quick to join in on the joyous demonstration. He had no idea why we were bouncing around like a runaway tennis ball but participated with true canine gusto.

If reading a trio of sexy contemporary western novellas from Ms. Mondello isn’t enough to make you swoon like a romance addict, the contest accompanying her virtual book tour most certainly will leave you weak in the knees.

~~~ CONTEST ~~~

$25 Amazon Gift Card

You can purchase the current titles from the Dakota Hearts series and still have money left over for other books on your TBR list!

Click the link to enter . . . but not before you read my review and the excerpts from Her Dakota Man, Badland Bride and Dakota Heat.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba112f539 

REVIEW:

Dakota Hearts is a fun, sexy,  grab-your-heartstrings kind of  series. You don’t have to read the books  in sequence. I personally like the idea of following characters from one novel to the next but it’s not necessary. Each title has a stand alone plot that may reference events from previous books but will not leave you confused if you haven’t read them. What I especially enjoyed was the shorter length. I don’t know about the rest of you but I live a busy life and don’t have days to read a novel. If I start a book on Monday, it might be Friday before I have a chance to read again and by then, I’ve lost some of the momentum. In my humble opinion, it’s not the number of pages that makes a great book – it’s a fast moving plot, realistic, lovable characters and snappy dialogue. Lisa Mondello has demonstrated her ability to provide all this and more.

Dakota Hearts revolves around the McKinnon brothers during a weather related disaster in the small town of Rudolph, South Dakota. Each man is as sexy, strong and delectable as his respective book cover.

HER DAKOTA MAN wowed me with Logan McKinnon’s fierce, alpha male passion. I want one! Oops . . . note to hubby, I already have one :). This is a story of lost love and second chances, and holds all the emotional angst you’d expect from such a journey.

Poppy and Logan shared a great love but when Poppy goes away, her best friend, Kelly, begins to weave a plot that affects all of their lives. She seduces Logan, tells him she is pregnant so he will marry her, then miscarries. The scam works and Poppy never returns to Rudolph, South Dakota again . . . until Kelly convinces her otherwise. Dying of cancer, she reaches out to Poppy, making her promise to go back and face Logan.

It’s obvious from the get-go these two lovers still harbor feelings for each other. Things get passionate fast and the rest is a story of dealing with guilt, grief and finding hope again.

BADLAND BRIDE is the second book in the Dakota Hearts series. We meet Keith “Hawk” McKinnon, local doctor and love interest to Regis Simpson, an insurance adjuster traveling from town to town in the South Dakota disaster area ripped by ice storms and floods. Regis is used to living on the road – no roots, no relationships – and likes the life because she believes everyone she cares about will eventually leave. Hawk is determined to change her mind but boy howdy, does he have his work cut out for him. For once, the guy is willing to commit and the heroine has cold feet. An interesting twist. There’s a lot healing going on in the good doctor’s hands but his great bedside manners make this physician hard to resist.

DAKOTA HEAT is Sam McKinnon’s story and third book in the Dakota Hearts series. Sam’s a hotshot firefighter, going where needed to put out fires, which this time happens to be in his hometown of Rudolph, South Dakota. Disastrous floods have made the community a target during the summer fire season. He didn’t expect to meet anyone like Summer Bigelow, a 911 dispatcher from Providence, Rhode Island, but he’s awfully happy she’s been re-assigned to Rudolph, even if it is to avoid a serial killer. Things start to sizzle right off the bat between Sam and Summer. As the fires heat up, so does their romance which leaves the question, is either one ready to settle down in a small, South Dakota town?

Each story is novella length which makes for fast, out-of-the-gate beginnings, wickedly delicious middles, and breathless endings. This is one series you won’t want to miss – especially if you are a fan of contemporary romance, western romance or romance with a sexy kick.

Her_Dakota_Man_final

HER DAKOTA MAN

Dakota Hearts Book 1

Lisa Mondello

Genre: Contemporary romance

ISBN: 978-1-9405-12-006

ASIN: B00FRSX700

Word Count:  37,000 words

Cover Artist: Purple Girl Design

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Book Description:

She needed to risk the truth to get a second chance…

Poppy Erickson had spent the year wondering how all their lives might have been different after hearing the deathbed confession of her childhood friend. She’d left South Dakota years ago because she couldn’t bear to watch the man she loved loving another woman. But now she knows the truth. She’ll keep the promise she made to a friend, but will Logan understand when he learns the truth? More important, can they again recapture the passion that had been between them all those years ago?

He needed to face the past to get the love of a woman he thought he’d lost…

Everyone knows that the Dakotas didn’t get the name Badlands for nothing. Harsh weather and rough living are a way of life. But single dad, Logan McKinnon, had seen more than his share of bad times after the death of his wife a year ago. The last thing he needs is Poppy Erickson, an old flame and his late wife’s best friend, showing up unannounced to help after devastating floods nearly washed away their hometown. With no place to stay in town, he has no choice but to offer her a bed at his house.

But can he live under the same roof with a woman he’d once loved passionately without feeling he’s betraying his late wife?

Excerpt Her Dakota Man :

One look on Logan McKinnon’s face told Poppy that his foul mood had very little to do with the devastating destruction all around the Badlands of South Dakota…and everything to do with her showing up in town after nearly ten years.

She didn’t have to be standing next to him to feel his anger simmering just below the surface of his composure. Sitting in her rental sedan was close enough. What the hell was she thinking coming back home? Why had she made that ridiculous promise to Kelly?

She parked the car next to his truck and took a deep breath, mumbling under her breath as she pulled the door handle, “This may just turn out to be the stupidest thing you have ever done, girl.”

Truth was, even as pissed off as Logan looked, he was still an amazing sight to see. Part of her had hoped that she was wrong. That she’d gotten over him a long time ago. That she’d take one look at him, make sure he and Keith were okay, and be able to get back in her car and drive right to the airport in Rapids City.

He turned to her, standing tall and proud. His thick dark hair blew in the March wind, fluttering around his face and making him all the more strikingly handsome.

Yep. Stupid.

He was taller than she’d remembered, and he’d long since lost that too-lean teenage body that had driven her crazy in her youth. He worked hard on his ranch and it showed in how much his arms and chest had filled with muscles.

Despite the cold, he’d taken off his jacket while he worked in the yard and Poppy had a clear view of just how much his male body had filled out in places she’d dreamed of touching.

Lord, help her. She was in trouble. And she hadn’t even stepped out of the car yet. She pushed the door open and stepped outside to get it over with. It was either going to be the shortest visit on record…or the life changing experience she’d been dreaming of ever since she was a teenager.

“Hi, Logan.”

Logan starred at her for a long, agonizing moment. She read the emotional tug of war playing on his face as the sudden chill from the South Dakota winds bit into her exposed skin like a whipping.

Then his expression turned hard. “What are you doing here?”

He must have heard the car drive up. But Logan’s four-year-old son, Keith, remained so focused on the mud puddle he was poking a stick into to even notice anyone was around. That was good. The next few minutes would go easier for both of them if Keith weren’t aware of the tension.

Logan stared at her as if he’d been startled. Or maybe too focused on making sure his son was safely playing nearby to notice her car had driven up.

Or perhaps he’d been too pre-occupied with assessing the damage the recent angry South Dakota weather had done to his property. Poppy had seen just how Mother Nature had shown no mercy to her childhood town as she drove from the airport to the ranch. She couldn’t exactly blame Logan for being in a foul mood because of that.

Seeing her was just the icing on the cake.

“What the hell are you doing here, Poppy?” he repeated.

She took in a deep breath, smelled the muddy earth and decay all around her, and said, “I came to help.”

He took one long look at her, from her high-heeled boots, up the length of her legs, pausing at her hips. She could almost feel his eyes as if he were staring at the flesh beneath her fresh pair of blue jeans. When his gaze finally reached her face again, she slid her sunglasses to the tip of her nose and stared right back at him in challenge. A slow smile played on her lips. She could never last as long at this as Logan before caving into laughter. But she knew Logan was in no laughing mood.

“Poppy Ericksen. Rudolph was practically washed off the map from all that rain we had. After all this time, what makes you think I need anything from you?”

Even though his voice was even, she could tell he was still pissed. But he’d never show it. Keith was still poking at the mud and puddles on the driveway just a little ways away, completely unaware of present company.

“What’s the matter, Logan? You don’t look happy to see me,” Poppy said, pulling her sunglasses off her face with a wary smile.

BADLAND BRIDE

Badland_Bride_western_romance_from_USA_Today_Bestselling_Author_Lisa_Mondello

Dakota Hearts – Book 2

Lisa Mondello

Genre: western romance

ISBN: 978-1-940512-01-3

ASIN: B00GIZ1OD8

Word Count:  28,000 words

Cover Artist: Purple Girl Design

Amazon    BN   iTunes

Kobo   Smashwords

Book Description:

She’d spent a lifetime packing armor around her heart…

Raised an Army brat, Regis Simpson was used to calling new towns home, learning to quickly make friends but never letting anyone get too close. When devastating floods tear through the Badlands of South Dakota, she thinks Rudolph is just another town that needs to be rebuilt. Nothing more. The sooner she gets her work done, the sooner the people of Rudolph can heal and she can move on to the next town in need. She never counted on the sexy town doctor, Keith “Hawk” McKinnon or his determination to break down walls she’d spent a lifetime building, making it impossible for her to leave.

He’s determined to break down her walls and give her a reason to stay…

Nothing pained Hawk McKinnon more than seeing people he’d known his whole life hurting. He traded a high-paying salary at a city hospital to come back to Rudolph and make a difference where he’d dug his roots. When the beautiful Regis Simpson comes to town offering help, he’s immediately drawn to her even though she’s spent a lifetime believing that everyone she loves leaves. Now she does the leaving and once her work is done, she’ll be leaving again. He’s determined to do everything possible to make her stay.

Excerpt Badland Bride

After easing herself out of the car, Regis limped up the newly built wooden ramp, unpainted and still sporting the color of wood that hadn’t been exposed to the elements for long. She winced through the pain as she took each step toward the front door. A small sign hung next to the door giving the clinic’s hours. She tried the door and it wouldn’t budge. Her shoulders sagged in defeat.

“What does he do in the middle of the day? Go fishing?”

“Nope, house calls.”

Regis swung around to see a tall man walking up behind her on the ramp. He had the Irish blue eyes she’d seen on many models in advertising magazines she’d bought when she was a teenager, and the dark hair that looked a little unruly in the wind, but seemed to fit him perfectly. The light scuff of a beard wasn’t more than a day old, but already dark and covering his square jaw.

For a moment, Regis was so taken with this handsome stranger that she’d forgotten why she was there.

* * *

“Dr. Hawk, or whatever his name actually is, does house calls? I thought that sort of thing went extinct with the dinosaurs. The guy must be a hundred years old.”

Hawk fought to keep from smiling.  “There are days it seems that way.”  He then looked at the woman’s leg, and frowned as he saw the blood staining her pants. “We’d better get you inside so that can be cleaned.”

“The door’s locked,” the woman said, leaning against the rail as he came up beside her.  Her face was pale, most probably due to the pain she was experiencing and the loss of blood.

He smiled, looking down into her eyes. “Luckily, I have a key.”  They were pretty brown eyes, he decided.  No, they were hazel. And the fact that he didn’t want her to turn away so he could know for sure surprised him.

Standing six feet tall, he towered over her small frame, although he was probably no more than eight inches taller than her.  And she smelled like fresh soap as if she’d just taken a shower. But looking at the dirt and blood on her hands, that probably wasn’t the case.

“You must rate to have your own key to the doctor’s office. When does this Hawk doctor usually come back?”

He slipped the key into the door and turned the handle. Then he smiled as he pushed the door open and held it for her to come inside. “Why don’t you have a seat here. It’ll just be a minute.”

Hawk curled his fingers around the woman’s upper arm gently and helped guide her to the chair. As she sat down, a look of relief washed over her face.

“Does that take some pressure off?”

“What?”

“Your leg. Does sitting help?”

As he waited for her to reply, he walked behind the receptionist desk and sifted through the wall organizer that was filled with insurance forms. Nancy was going to have a fit if he had this woman fill out the wrong one.

“Ah, a little.”

He felt a muscle pull between his eyebrow as he glanced at the forms. For all his higher education, insurance forms were a mystery to him. Finally he sighed and dropped the papers on the desk.

“I’m going to need you to fill out some forms, but I’m not sure which one’s right at the moment and my receptionist, Nancy, will have my hide if I have you fill out the wrong form. So why don’t we just have a look at your leg first and fill out paperwork later?”

“Your receptionist?”

“Yes. She’ll probably be back from lunch before I’m done.”

“You? Wait, you’re Dr. Hawk?”

His lips curled up just slightly. “It’s just Hawk. But if you prefer, you can call me Dr. McKinnon.”

Her mouth hung open just slightly. “Oh, I’m…oh, okay.”

“Did someone tell you I was a deranged killer?”

“What? No, of course not, it’s just…”

She was adorable, all flustered with her flub. Hawk couldn’t resist teasing her. “They said I was a mean old bastard who was going to cut off your leg?”

She rolled her eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Then what?”

“You aren’t…I wasn’t expecting someone so…”  She took a deep breath.

“So…handsome?”

Color immediately stained her pale cheeks. “Young. You look like you just graduated college.”

He chuckled. “So they didn’t tell you I was good looking. They told you I was old.”

She sighed heavily. “No. Mr. Bennett didn’t say anything except your name is Hawk. What kind of person walks around with a name like that anyway?”

“Me,” he said. “And I can assure you that you are in good hands. I may not be a crusty old doctor, but I not only went to college, I made it all the way through med school, my internship and a stint at the city hospital in Sioux Falls before coming back to Rudolph and starting my practice here.”

Her shoulders slumped. “I didn’t mean to imply—”

“Let’s get you cleaned up,” he said. “Let me help you—”

He bent down to help her to her feet, and he caught a whiff of her soapy scent again. Normally he didn’t notice such things. But he was having a hard time not noticing every little detail about this woman from the slight hook of her nose to the patch of too many freckles on her left cheek.

“No, I can do it.”

“Okay, follow me,” he said as they made their way down the hall to the first examining room. He opened the door and let her into the well-stocked room first. Then he carefully helped her to climb onto the examining table before going to the sink to wash his hands. When he was done, he put on a white medical jacket that was hanging from a hook on the door, and then turned to her.

“Now that you know my name, why don’t you tell me yours?”

“Regis Simpson. But people call me Reggie.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why would people call you Reggie when Regis is such a pretty name?”

Her lips lifted to a sideward grin. “You’ve got one hell of a bedside manner, Doctor.”

“Did it make you forget the throbbing in your leg?”

She thought a second and then chuckled softly. “That’s not why you said that to me.”

“Are you sure about that?”

Dakota_Heat_Military_RomanceDAKOTA HEAT

Dakota Hearts – Book 3

Lisa Mondello

Genre: contemporary romance

ISBN: 978-1-940512-02-0

ASIN: B00H2W66H0

Word Count:  23,000 words

Cover Artist: Purple Girl Design

Amazon   BN  Smashwords

Book Description:

Hotshot Sam McKinnon was always leaving town, chasing another fire until his own hometown became vulnerable during the fire season after a devastating winter flood left debris and destruction in its path. He didn’t expect out of town dispatcher, Summer Bigelow, to catch his eye or his heart.

It hadn’t been Summer’s idea to move from Providence to South Dakota, but when a serial murderer suddenly turns his attention on Summer, her boss insists she leave town…at least until the heat dies down. She’s dealt with high tension, life or death situations many times in her job. It isn’t until she meets Sam McKinnon and falls for the sexy Hotshot that she really begins to know fear. The fear of losing someone she loves.

Excerpt Dakota Heat :

The girl was new.  Sam walked around the Interagency Fire Crew basecamp with familiarity.  He saw faces he recognized from working in different locations over the past few years.  But the girl…  Yeah, she was new.  He doubted he would forget the soft blond color of her hair or the slight tilt of her head as she read through paperwork, pretending she didn’t notice the people around her.

He grabbed two water bottles from the bucket full of ice in the back of the Quonset hut and walked toward her.  She didn’t look up until he held the water bottle in front of her.

Blue eyes met his with a mixture of irritation and surprise.

“You’re dropping ice pieces on my paperwork,” she said.

He noticed the smooth as silk sound of her voice before the water splatter on the top page of her paperwork.  He immediately pulled the water bottle back a few inches.

“Sorry.  I thought you might like something to drink.”

Her face softened as quickly as it had shown irritation.  She reached her hand out and took the water bottle, and then placed it on the bench next to her before shaking her hand of the residual moisture the bottle left behind. “Thank you.”

“You’re new here,” he said as he sat down next to her.

Not looking up, she said, “So are you.”

She smelled like soap and lavender.  After breathing in smoke and dirt for so long, it was refreshing to breathe in the sweet scents of a woman.

“Not exactly.  I grew up in Rudolph.”

That earned him a lingering second glance.  One that afforded him a few seconds to really look into her eyes, at her face.

“Really?”

“My whole life.”

She glanced around quickly.  “When I got in last night I was told the basecamp here was new this year.  I didn’t realize South Dakota had a dedicated fire basecamp.”

Sam had never worked fire duty in his home state before.  And he’d never come to a new location and been so familiar with faces as well as the location.  His reason for wanting to come back to South Dakota this year was personal.

A lot of his friends who worked with the Interagency Fire Crew were still reeling after the deaths of nineteen Hotshot firemen in Arizona last summer.  Some had quit fighting fires altogether at the urging of their family.  Sam’s own mother had tried her best to do the same during many phone calls since the tragedy, but Kate McKinnon settled for having him come home to Rudolph to work.

“This was just constructed this year.  The Black Hills are a hot spot this year because of all the flood and ice damage that occurred over the winter.  When I found out they were setting up a base here to do fire control for the season, I put in a request to work here.”

She nodded.  “Must be nice to be home.  At least for the season.”

She glanced down at her paperwork again.

He chuckled at how quickly she fell into her reading again.  “You’re looking at that like you’re cramming for a final exam.”

She shrugged.  “I feel I am.  This is my first season working fire dispatch anywhere.”

“Ah, then that explains it.”

“Must feel good to be home after—”

“Summer?”

Both Sam and the girl looked up to see the chief calling out from across the tent.  The girl quickly collected her paperwork and stuffed it in a folder.

“Be right there,” she called out.  She turned to Sam, lifting the bottled water in her hand.  “Thanks for the water.”

“No problem.”

But she was already trotting over to the superintendent’s office.  He hadn’t even had a chance to get her name.  But he would before the day was done.  This was one woman he had a feeling he wanted to get to know.

About the Author:lisa_web_pic_3_smaller

USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Lisa Mondello, has held many jobs in her life but being a published authors is the last job she’ll ever have. She’s not retiring! She blames the creation of the personal computer for her leap into writing novels. Otherwise, she’d still be penning stories with paper and pen.

Her first book, All I Want for Christmas is You won Best First Book in the Golden Quill. Her books have finaled in the HOLT Medallion, and the Colorado Award of Excellence contests. In 2011 she re-released her award winning book All I Want for Christmas is You along with a re-issue of her romantic comedy, The Marriage Contract, with a new contemporary romance called The Knight and Maggie’s Baby.

In 2012 she reissued the first 3 books of her popular Western Romance Series TEXAS HEARTS including Her Heart for the Asking, His Heart for the Trusting and The More I See. Writing as LA Mondello, her romantic suspense, MATERIAL WITNESS, book 1 of her Heroes of Providence series made the USA TODAY Bestsellers List.

You can find more information about Lisa Mondello at lisamondello.blogspot.com

@LisaMondello

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