#TirgearrTuesday – Earthbound by Melora Johnson

Ally Reynolds is a veterinarian specializing in raptor rehabilitation in New Hampshire. Other than one horrific incident in her childhood and a little extra “spark” for healing in her hands, both of which she has kept secret from even her best friend, her life has been singularly boring. It has also been extremely lonely. Ally longs for someone to share her life with, but how can she trust someone with her secret?

Matthew Blake, an ornithologist at Cornell University, calls Ally, asking for her help with an injured raptor. Matthew grew up in New Zealand and has lived around the world. He has read about Ally’s high success rates in raptor rehabilitation and suspects there is more to it than is generally known.

Matthew has some secrets of his own; he is a demon hunter. He suspects Ally’s healing powers could benefit him. He wants her to join him and thinks they’d make a great team.

Can Ally trust him or is he just using her? Matthew definitely has more secrets, and some of them are about her.

• • •

“Doctor Reynolds,” a male voice called out from across the room, pulling me back to the present. It sounded somewhat familiar.

I looked up, shielding my eyes from the afternoon sun shining in the front window as a male figure strode toward me, blond hair haloed by the light. He stopped in front of me.

Startled, I rose to my feet and looked into a chiseled face, his eyes the indeterminate blue green of sea glass like I’d collected along the shoreline once as a teenager. His dark golden blond hair was short and spiky, his lopsided grin pure perfection. He was gorgeous.

In my experience, gorgeous men were not to be trusted. Well, no men really were. Oh, all right, no one was, period.

“Doctor Allyson Reynolds? I’m Doctor Matthew Scott Blake. I’m honored to have you join us. I’ve read your articles in the Raptor Rehab Newsletter.”

He held out a hand, but when I put out mine to shake it, he simply captured mine in his and placed his other hand over it. His eyes flashed green with golden flecks in the sunlight.

“I’m glad to be here,” I said, not at all sure I was anymore, as my pulse sped up. “Please, call me Ally.”

“All right, Ally it is.”

I want to climb him like a tree. I swallowed, aghast at my own thoughts. I’d only known him a few minutes.

His hands were so warm. My mother’s voice played in my head, Gorgeous men are dangerous, arrogant, and being involved with them will lead to no good. I frowned.

“It’s so good to see you…” he said. At my expression, he faltered and cleared his throat. The wattage of his smile dimmed significantly. “I mean, to meet you. I’ve been following your work since I arrived in the States, in the newsletter.”

He turned, drawing my hand through his arm. “Please, let me show you around the facilities here.”

“Uh, thank you,” I murmured, wondering how to tactfully withdraw my arm. My attraction to him was overwhelming. At the same time, his overly familiar attitude seemed a little odd.

A tall woman, her long, brown hair in a ponytail, appeared at the doorway through which Matt had arrived. She positively glowered at my arm through Matthew’s. She wore work boots, khaki shorts, and a sand colored polo shirt with the university logo, so I assumed she worked there as well. She approached us and stopped several feet away, then turned a bright smile on Matthew. “Hi, Matt. What brings you down from the Ornithology Lab?”

“This is Doctor Allyson Reynolds, the veterinarian and raptor rehabilitation specialist I suggested to Rick we bring in to help with the injured eagle from Sapsucker Woods.”

Shelly took one more look at my arm entwined with Matthew’s then smiled again at him. “Would you like me to show her around?”

He paused a moment before replying. “That’s okay, Shelly. I can handle it, I know my way. No need to take time out of your busy schedule. I’ll just show Doctor Reynolds around, then bring her to meet Rick. He’s the one overseeing the care of the eagle. Oh…” He turned to me. “This is Doctor Shelly Madison, she’s a clinical associate professor in zoo medicine.”

I saw my chance and pulled my arm out of his, ostensibly to shake Shelly’s hand. I murmured hello. She responded stiffly. Her behavior made more sense to me than his. Why treat me like an honored guest? I was just a vet who specialized in raptor rehab. I had been so anxious to get out of town I’d jumped at the chance, but now there was one question paramount in my mind—why had he called me? They were the experts here.

“Now, let’s show you around the animal hospital here.” His hands clenched, his bicep bulging under his short sleeve as he tugged the inner door to the offices open for me.

I fought the urge to retreat a step. Here stood a warrior from medieval legend. It would have been more appropriate for him to be dressed in leather armor than a button-down, short-sleeved khaki shirt, but he grabbed my hand and drew me around Shelly. “We’ll start in the library.”

As we walked, I had a stern conversation with my subconscious. Go to Ithaca, you said. You’ll get away from anyone Jen wants to set you up with, you said.

Matthew squeezed my hand. I looked up to see him beaming at me. My stomach lurched. I was out of the nest and free falling.

• • •

Melora Johnson grew up in a small town in Upstate New York, and still lives in the state with her husband, daughter, a black cat, and quite a few chickens. She writes poetry, horror, science-fiction & fantasy but dabbles in other genres and daylights as a librarian because that is where she hears the best stories. She also runs a thriving writers group. Of course, into every life a little rain must fall, as well as the occasional tornado, but you’ll find that amply covered in her writing.

• • •

Find Melora Online:

Website – http://www.melorajohnson.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MeloraJohnson.Writer

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18209725.melora_johnson

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/melorajohnson

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/melorajohnson

Blog – http://melorajohnson.wordpress.com

Tirgearr Publishing  – http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Johnson_Melora

#tirgearrtuesday – One Night in Cape Town by Lily Harlem

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Blurb:

The week before her big day, Tia catches her fiancé getting down and dirty with her best friend. She quickly washes her hands of them both. But why waste a perfectly good and very expensive honeymoon to her dream spot–South Africa?

After bumping into the same cute guy three times in Cape Town, Tia’s reminded she still has desires. Before long, they’re hiking over Table Mountain together, and getting to know each other. Levi is charming and funny, sexy and strong.

When trouble brews in the African sky, a wild storm leaves them stranded on the mountain as night falls. Levi’s survival skills provides them with quick shelter as the storm rages above. But for Tia, another storm rages between her and her sexy saviour. Will he teach her to trust again? Or is there more to the hot American than meets the eye?

Extract:

By the time they reached the cable car station they’d been plunged into darkness and the raindrops were like bullets hammering down.

“Fuck.” Levi banged on the locked door.

“It doesn’t look promising.” The building was in darkness, clearly abandoned by the staff. “What are we going to do?” Tia stepped behind a wall to give herself some relief from the driving wind.

“I guess we’ll have to hike down.” He took out his map and shook it. “Shit!” The wind tore it from his hands. “Jesus Christ.” He scrabbled for it, but it was too late. A current of air had claimed it and sucked it upwards.

Tia clenched her fists; her hands were cold, but her body was warm from the exertion.

“Damn it.” Levi stepped behind the wall with her and leaned his head back on the bricks.

“I don’t think we can hike down,” Tia said. “The weather is too bad. We’ll get struck by lightning or slip to our deaths.”

Levi pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes. “Damn it. I’m so sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?” Her brain was ticking through their options, which weren’t many.

“For getting you into this situation, it sucks.”

“Hey, I came with you of my own free will. It’s no one’s fault.”

He dropped his hands. “That’s kind of you to say.”

“Damn shame this door isn’t open. We could have just sheltered in there for the night.”

“Shall I go and see if the gift shop or café is open?”

“Yeah, good idea.”

“You wait here.”

“Okay.”

He disappeared around the corner. Tia stared at a bush to her right that shook and shivered in the wind. Another huge clap of thunder made her jump and she pressed her hand over her mouth.

A few minutes later Levi returned. “No luck.” He pushed his fingers through his hair, flattening it on his head. “We’re on our own up here for the night.”

“I know.” Under any other circumstances a night alone with Levi was very appealing, but right now Tia was thinking about survival.

“What have you got in your bag?” he asked.

“Some food and water, not much. A torch, my phone—”

“Phone.” He tutted. “Let’s just call for help.” He scrabbled in his pocket and pulled out his. “Damn it. Out of battery.”

Tia shielded hers from the rain. “No signal.”

He shook his head and sighed. “What else you got?”

“A cap, sun cream and a scarf.”

“Okay, that’s not bad, we’ve got food and water covered, and we’re warm and waterproof.” He looked at her jeans. “Sort of.”

“We have to get out of this, though.”

“Yep. I’ve got a square of tarp in my bag. It’s not huge, but if we find an indent in the rocks we could block ourselves in.”

“Oh, I saw one, not far from here. When you said about wild animals I thought it looked like a small cave, a lair or something.”

Through the darkness she saw hope flash over his eyes. “Great. Lead the way.”

About the Author:

Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is a best-selling, award-winning author of contemporary erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Totally Bound, HarperCollins, Evernight Publishing, Pride Publishing, Sweetmeats Press, and Tirgearr Publishing. Her books regularly receive high praise and industry nominations and have been USA Today reviewer’s recommended reads.

Before turning her hand to writing, Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse, and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes: The Glass Knot, The Silk Tie, In Expert Hands, and Scored have been blessed with many 5* reviews.

Lily co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes under the name Harlem Dae.

One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy.

 

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One Night in Sydney by Jan Graham #TirgearrTuesday

This week, we welcome Jan Graham and her contribution to the City Nights series!

ISBN: 9781370633944
ASIN: B01J4VS2EQ
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Blurb:

Abigail Devon is all about business, until the dream of keeping her company alive fails and she finds herself seeking distraction in the arms of a tempting stranger she met on the plane. Kane Matheson is a man like no other, and once Abby gives into her attraction to him, passions spark and a night of erotic pleasure begins.

Kane can’t believe his luck when his flight to Sydney places Abby along his path to a fun filled weekend. She’s his kind of woman—business minded, clever, and with curves in all the right places. When he discovers they have more in common than savvy business expertise and undeniable sexual heat, he’s faced with a daunting choice, and left wondering if pleasure can win out over wise business sense in one of the most beautiful harbour side cities of the world.

Extract:

“You know, if you like, we could hang out together in the city for a bit, maybe when you’ve finished your busy day.” Kane didn’t look at her this time; speaking from his reclined position, head tilted back against the rest with his eyes closed. “I only have to try on a suit and then I’m done for the day. You could meet me there, let me know if you think I look okay, you know, thumbs up or down, and then we could grab a bite… or something. Whatever takes your fancy, beautiful.”

He raised his lids and angled himself slightly to look at her for the final part of his statement, the wicked expression and cheeky glint in his eyes giving Abby the distinct impression he hoped that he’d be the something that took her fancy. He did. But it couldn’t happen.

Abby didn’t believe in love at first sight, but she did believe in lust at first sight and Kane ticked all her boxes. Feeling breathless, hardened nipples, feeling flushed when they touched, and that increasing ache between her legs. Luckily the flight was a short one, so she’d be able to escape him soon enough. In her party days they probably would have been in the bathroom, reaffirming her membership in the mile-high club, but those days were behind her. She doubted she’d renew that membership again any time soon.

“I really don’t think that’s possible. But thanks for the offer.” She wondered if he knew she was lying. Of course it was possible, all she had to do was say yes. She merely chose not to.

“That’s a shame. I have this feeling we’d get along really well.” He tore the edge off the bottom of a page in his magazine, grabbed a pen from his shirt pocket, scribbled a number on it and handed it to her. “In case you change your mind.”

Abby laughed and stared at the mobile number in her hand. He certainly was persistent.

“I assume you’ve run out of business cards?” She continued to chuckle as the plane began its descent. “You did say you understood business, right?”

“I did. I also said I was on a pleasure trip. I’ve left all business accessories at the office. This weekend, I’m just a regular guy who uses any piece of paper on hand to give the woman he likes his number.”

Oh Lord, thank heavens the plane had just touched down. She folded the paper, slipped her fingers into the front of her shirt and tucked the number into her bra. It was a mistake to put it there, and Abby knew it the moment her gaze met Kane’s, who was now standing waiting for her to step out into the aisle.

“What?” she asked innocently as Kane stared down at her cleavage with a devilish grin on his face. “It’s just a silly habit I picked up in my partying days. I’d pop anything important in my bra and that way I wouldn’t lose it.”

Grabbing her handbag from the floor, she stood and moved to walk out into the aisle but Kane blocked her way. His body forming a human wall as he retrieved her bag from the overhead cabin. Luggage sorted, Kane didn’t move, fixing her in place with his heated gaze.

“I’m glad you think I’m important.” His devilish grin didn’t waver and he spoke in a tone laced with lust. “I’m also delighted to know that when you take off your clothes tonight and get naked, you’ll be thinking about me.”

She was about to burst into flames. Abby raised her hand, placing it on his chest with the intention of pushing him back, only to find her fingers lingered on the defined muscle beneath her touch.
“We’ll see,” she whispered.

Kane placed his hand over hers, gently gripped her fingers and raised them to his mouth. He kissed her knuckles tenderly and smiled. “We will. Now off to your very busy business day, Abigail Devon.” Stepping back, Kane handed over her bag before ushering her into the aisle. “I look forward to receiving your call later today.”

Unsure how she made it to the plane’s exit on trembling legs, Abby breathed a sigh of relief once she made it into the terminal. Allowing the disembarking crowd to carry her forward, she picked up her pace. The more distance she put between Kane Matheson and herself, the better. Today was all about saving her company, not indulging in a quickie with a man she met on a plane.

About the Author:

Jan Graham is an author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense; all her writing is erotic, some of which includes BDSM elements. She has numerous published titles to her credit, with more to come once she overcomes her current bout of procrastination.

Jan lives in Newcastle, Australia where she writes, reads, feeds her Netflix addiction, and drinks coffee with friends.

For those who enjoy labels and tags, as well as being an author, Jan is a blogger, a submissive, an aunt, dyslexic, a lover of all things erotic, naughty, a participant in the BDSM community, a widow, an orphan, and a member of The Australian Sex Party (no it’s nothing kinky, they are a legit political group).

In short, she is generally a bit of an eccentric who lives her life slightly left of center.

You can find out more about Jan and her work by stalking her on the various social media sites where she occasionally hangs out.

• • •

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The War Queen by J.M. Robison #TirgearrTuesday

ISBN: 9781370236688
ASIN: B01LXD0C6N
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Blurb:

How do you dethrone a heart when its owner has stolen your kingdom?

Altarn is used to tolerating the biases of men. It comes with being the first female to secure the political State Head of Blindvar. But Kaelin, the State Head of Ruidenthall, crosses the line when he proposes a merger of their two states. Altarn has reason to believe this is Kaelin’s attempt to make himself king of both. Believing it’s her responsibility to “dethrone” him, she rides to her last ally to ask for aid.

While on the road, she’s kidnapped and taken to Ruidenthall. She wakes from a drug-induced sleep to hear about a foreign army marching upon Blindvar, and Kaelin capitalizing on her kidnap to make himself king. He threatens her life if she tells anyone, but she will suffer tyranny under a king if she does not.

When the final battle forces her hand, she has but one choice: to save Kaelin’s life or let him die. She never expected to dethrone his heart instead.

TheWarQueenbyJMRobisonSMbanner

Extract:

All seven members were already seated, one baron for each major city in Blindvar. There were actually six cities, but there could not be an even number on the court.. The seventh was a random member qualified to be a court official, currently held by a female named Brigot. The idea of females serving in positions of authority was not settling easy.

Altarn walked to the head of the table, sitting in her large, leather chair which felt awkwardly like a throne, reminding her of the last king the Blindvarn citizens had dethroned more than three hundred years ago.

Her seven members waited for her to speak. Perseth pushed his glasses higher up his sweaty nose. Leodin coughed into his sleeve.

Females were not discouraged from positions in politics, but the concept still troubled many. It had been a traditionally male position to hold both the state’s title and to fill the positions in court, but Altarn had been in a particular mood eleven years ago and had broken it. She became the first female State Head and had already served one year out of the three-year session.

Two men had competed for the State Head with her. The background check on one revealed he had a criminal record. The second was leading the election by a large margin until authorities discovered he was born in Luthsinia.

“The minutes will reflect the presence of all representatives from their respective cities,” Altarn began. “On seven Midar, year three twenty-four After the Reign of Kings.” She paused to let the court scribe catch up. “So being, I am unaware as to the nature of the request for court so I will let another member proceed from here.”

Perseth stood from his chair and straightened his buttoned waistcoat over his round belly. “Baron Perseth of the City of Fellsbarren requested this session due to concerns with the present dealings with the State of Ruidenthall.”

His nasally voice made Altarn want to hand him a tissue. She drummed her fingers on the armrests. She had suspected as much.

“May I speak freely, Lady?”

“Proceed.”

Perseth pushed his glasses higher up his nose. “We all think it is impulsive of you to threaten Ruidenthall with war.”

His eyes, too round and too close to his nose, swept over the other members of the room, who all nodded.

“They have been our friends and allies since the war to dethrone our king. If Luthsinia didn’t cut straight between our two states, we might even be one. A lot of us have family who either came from Ruidenthall or who live there now.”

“Is it so easily forgotten the Lord of Ruidenthall is trying to steal Blindvar from us?”

The members at the table moaned.

“Please reflect on my use of the word ‘impulsive.’”

It pushed on the edges of her serenity to listen to Perseth’s boldness and not respond to it. But she’d been called to court to listen to a problem, not create one.

“Scribe, will you please read us the letter from the Lord of Ruidenthall concerning the matter our lady has just mentioned?”

The scribe pulled a book off the shelf at his desk and thumbed through it, pages snapping crisply. “Seventeenth of Kaidar,” the scribe read. “Year three twenty-four After the Reign of Kings. Addressed to Lady Altarn Shadheing from Lord Kaelin-drath Morrendrake. It reads:

Greetings, Lady of Blindvar.

It is fortunate our two states are such great friends. It has come to my recent attention that a number of Ruidenthall citizens have taken a fancy to your small town of Heathe. So much so, that there are more Ruids than Blindvarns. I’ll have to visit to see what the attraction is. After all, who would sacrifice great Ruid food to live in a small Blindvarn town where the closest city is thirty miles out?

Of course, having this offset of Blindvarns to Ruids must make it a tad more difficult for the yearly census for you, which gave me an idea. Since our states are such good allies, I propose—just as a speculative thought—that Heathe be merged into the State of Ruidenthall in exchange for a small bit of land out of my own good state, if you like.

Maybe this small exchange can start something bigger, and maybe someday Endendre will eventually be one state instead of divided into three. Of course, it is just an idea, and something like this has never been done before between our two states. Please reply with your thoughts. If it is disagreeable, I’ll digress.

Signed, Lord Kaelin-drath Morrendrake of Ruidenthall.

The members at the table watched Altarn like ghosts waiting for the moment they could pounce on the living and suck out their souls.

About the Author:

Born in small town Bennington, Idaho, J.M. wanted to be just like her big, story writer sister. Big sister paints now, but that initial role model was all the springboard J.M. needed to fearlessly leap into writing the novels of her heart. Getting around the world as a soldier has helped broaden J.M.’s views on cultures and personalities, and settling down as a Deputy Sheriff in Nevada for a time has helped her maintain all the fine intricacies humans are capable of which has helped define her characters into something realistic and believable. Without any prior claims to fame, J.M. is proud to showcase that hard work, even from rock bottom, DOES pay off.

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Deadly Alliance by Kathleen Rowland – an extract #tirgearrtuesday #romance #suspense

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Blurb:

Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, walked on the wild side in Iraq, but now he lives in the shadows. After his evasive partner, Les, was shot in a random drive-by, Finn discovers cash is siphoned monthly. He fights to keep his investment company afloat. When the late partner’s girlfriend, Amy Kintyre, applies for his bookkeeping job, Finn suspects she knows about his company drain and hires her.

Amy needs a nine-to-five with free evenings and weekends to get her fashion design business back on track. She unearths Les’ s secret bank account and alerts Finn. Freezing of the money laundering account sets off havoc within an Irish gang. Amy witnesses a gang fight between a brutal ISIS fundraising organization and the Irish. Desperate to escape a stalker’s crosshairs, she seeks refuge with Finn. As danger heats up, sparks fly hotter.

Les is alive. After cheating the Irish mob, he became their target. Mistaken identity took the life of his disabled twin brother. Now Les makes another deal—trading Amy and stolen drugs for their forgiveness. Stakes are high as Finn tracks assassins across the San Bernardino Mountains. If he gets her back, can he trust her?

Extract:

The front door opened. “Sorry, we’re closed.” Holding a broom, Burlie swept behind the bar.

Finn stepped closer. Drunken merrymakers, they were not. His heart hammered like it was stuck in overdrive.

“We offer protection.” Speaking with a Spanish accent, the shortest of the trio dressed like the others, donned the ISIS-style full face black mask.

“I have protection.” Burlie’s big mouth nailed his coffin.

A second thug grabbed the bartender’s hand and pulled out clippers. “You’ll change your mind, one finger at a time.”

“I just paid the Irish.” Panic burrowed into Burlie’s high-pitched cry. He thrashed his arms as he tried to pull his hand back.

“Us you pay”. His utterance with the object in the first position identified him as an Arab speaker. Light glinted off shiny metal. The thug pulled a combat knife, grabbed Burlie’s arms, spun him, put the blade to his neck. Finn dialed 911 and then shouted, “Finn Donahue here. Gang trouble. Burlie’s Jazz Club,” To grab their attention even more, he heaved in a breath and released a long whistle. His distraction worked.

Burlie broke from the hold, and Finn thanked God for the curious.

“Where are you?” Heavy boots pounded toward him.

Finn’s phone vibrated, but he killed the call and darted into the first door he saw, the one with the frosted pink window. He spotted Amy at the sink and pointed his index finger up.

He took off his coat and wrapped it around his fist. After rapping on the glass, he wound up and threw a hard punch through the window. Glass splintered as he connected with the thug’s nose. Prepared to jump aside, he opened the door.

Amy followed and jumped over the guy spread on the floor, holding a hand over his bleeding nose.

He struggled to stand. Finn patted him down, took his gun, and pointed it at him. After the guy stood, Finn walked him to a chair. “Don’t move.”

“I’ll phone the police.” A high-pitched squeal came from the back of her throat. “Never mind. Police are here.”

From the street, the blue light of a cop car radiated across the club’s interior like a strobe. Uniforms burst through the door.

The first officer made radio contact with homicide, and the second, much younger, rushed to the nearest thug and pulled out flex-cuffs.

“Stand over there, Amy.” Finn motioned toward a corner.

She rolled her eyes and dashed toward Burlie who wrestled with the Arab and tried to keep him from moving toward the young rookie. Amy pulled an item from her purse. A Swiss army knife? Out came a miniature cork screw.

The rookie cop turned the Arab around to be handcuffed and leaned him against a wall. The thug used the hard surface as leverage to throw himself against him.

Finn saw it coming. A switchblade . . .

Meet the author:

Book Buyers Best finalist, Kathleen Rowland, is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.She grew up in Iowa, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Kathleen now happily exists with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California, where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write while listening to characters’ demanding voices in her head.

• • •

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