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AFTER SIX BY JEANNETTE WINTERS RELEASE BLITZ

Release Blitz, After Six: Barrington Billionaire’s Series: Book Six by Author Jeannette Winters

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Logan Henderson, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, had spent his life trying to separate himself from the family name. There was no amount of lives that he could save which could ever make up for his father’s actions.

Cordelia Sparks searched for the truth about her grandfather’s death. To get it, she’d need to take on a family that for decades was known for being ruthless and very powerful. Although she was taught to be honest, her mission required a certain level of deceit. Getting caught meant she could suffer the same fate as her grandfather.
As she gets to know Logan, Cori questions if she was mistaken, but the Henderson family’s shady past holds the answers she needs. When faced with a decision, does she reveal what she’s learned? Doing so means letting go of the past and trusting a Henderson with her heart and future.

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The Henderson’s and the Barrington’s have been friends their entire life. Take a trip with them as they build their lives, one love story at a time.
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Book 1, One White Lie FREE to download
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Book 2, Table For Two
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Book 3, You & Me Make Three
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Book 4, Virgin For The Fourth Time
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Book 5.5 New Beginnings, Holiday Novella

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About Jeannette Winters
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Jeannette Winters is a romance author mixing heart, intrigue, and the steamy pleasure of a Billionaire romance.
Jeannette grew up in a large family, number ten out of eleven children, eight of them being older brothers. She quickly developed a great sense of humor, mostly from necessity. One of her greatest joys is sitting on the porch where they were all raised and hearing the stories from years gone by. Quietly laughing to herself, she notices how they embellish the stories more and more each year.
Storytelling was passed down from her grandfather and mother. Jeannette caught the bug at a very young age. If she didn’t have her head in a book, then she was off somewhere with a notebook, jotting down stories of what she would write if one day she became an author. Although the notebook may have vanished, the stories are still vivid and waiting for the right time to be told.
Despite having an amazing family, there have also been some sorrows in her life, including the loss of loved ones. Over the years, Jeannette has spent countless hours volunteering for different organizations and acting as a caregiver to those most dear to her. As a result, supporting the elderly became of utmost importance.
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KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL: THE ROCK GODS BOOK 4 & 7 BY ANN LISTER

Kindle Countdown Deal, The Rock Gods Books 4 & 7 by Author Ann Lister

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The Rock Gods, Looking At Forever Book 4 & Beyond The Music Book 7 by Author Ann Lister are on a Kindle Countdown Deal for a limited time.

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Looking At Forever
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Mick Wheland, Ivory Tower’s bad-boy guitarist, has recently realized two important things about himself. He prefers sex with men over women, and the idea of a committed relationship doesn’t scare him as much as it once did. He’s seen the positive effects of love from watching his band-mates find life partners, and now he’s thinking he might be ready for the same himself. The problem is knowing where to look for Mr. Right, and living out of a suitcase while touring with a band is not exactly conducive to finding real love.
Sonny (Rooster) Roostarelli leaves the seclusion of his Vancouver cabin, where he went to lick his wounds after a contentious divorce, and moves back to Los Angeles. He claims relocating to L.A. is for business purposes, but now that the dust has settled on his failed marriage, Rooster feels he might finally be ready to settle down – with a man.
A chance encounter for Wheland and Rooster on a busy L.A. street rekindles an old friendship between the two professional musicians. Rooster needs a short-term place to stay and Wheland has plenty of extra space at his hillside estate and that lands Rooster in Wheland’s guest room. What starts out as a music collaboration opportunity quickly turns personal when the chemistry they have becomes too strong to ignore and soon the music they’re making spills from the studio and into the bedroom.
The road is a grueling bitch musicians love to hate. Being on stage under the hot lights can sometimes be the only place they feel comfortable and alive. Can two high-profile rock stars make a life together in such an artificial world – on and off the stage… or will past mistakes and family secrets keep them from finding their forever?

Beyond The Music
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Lincoln Stallworth, bass player for Black Ice, has quietly watched each of his band mates fall in love and has accepted the fact he’ll probably never find the same for himself. He doesn’t really believe in true love, couldn’t fully understand the absurdity of it, or the notion there could be just one perfect person for everyone. A debilitating health issue began to shadow Lincoln in the middle of their last tour. As his physical symptoms worsen, Lincoln has to fight the urge to hide from the world and himself inside his estate.
Aaron Baylor enters Lincoln’s life at his lowest point. Lincoln feels broken, damaged beyond repair, and he’s ready to give-up. Aaron’s patience and unwavering support slowly begin to pull Lincoln back to being present in his own life and gives him hope for a future and for love. Will Aaron be the glue that holds the broken pieces of Lincoln’s life together? Can Lincoln fight his way back to good health and take a chance at love? Or will the task be too great for Lincoln to handle?
Beyond The Music is Book 7 in The Rock Gods series. This is the final story in the series, but also the launch of a new M/M spin-off series, Guarding the Gods, which will have many cameo appearances from The Rock Gods characters in each story. If you enjoyed The Rock Gods, I hope you’ll give Guarding the Gods a try!

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Ann Lister is a native New Englander currently living on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. She has pulled details from her years living in the New England area and uses many local settings and landmarks in her novels.

After graduating art school, marrying, and raising two daughters, she established her own video production company. Her nearly two decades working in video production included work within the music industry and won her a coveted Telly Award. Her ‘behind-the-scenes’ exposure to the music world and her love of rock music is the inspiration for her erotic rock star romances.

The Rock Gods series gave her Bestselling Author status on Amazon. Beyond The Music, Book 7 in the series, hit #1 in the Gay Erotica genre during the Pre-Order and held that spot for several weeks. This last book in The Rock Gods series launches the spin-off series, Guarding The Gods, which releases in early Summer of 2016.

Fall For Me, Book One in the series was a Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Award. Each book in this series brings her two favorite elements together: musicians and the love between two men. These stories focus on what it truly means to love; love unconditionally, love without restrictions or labels, love without fear or judgment – to just simply love.

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CHECKMATE INC BY SHELLY ALEXANDER SALE BLITZ

Series Sale Blitz, A Checkmate Inc.series by Shelly Alexander

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Some guys are late bloomers, but when they finally hit their stride, they make up for lost time. Checkmate Inc. is a fresh new series of super sexy, sizzling hot heroes. It’s fun, flirty, and features smart, gorgeous, dirty talking guys who love bold and bright women.

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Leo Foxx, Dex Moore, and Oz Strong spent their youths studying a chessboard, textbooks… and women, from afar. Now they’re players in the city that never sleeps. Gone are their shy demeanors, replaced with muscle, style, and enough sex appeal to charm women of all ages, shapes, and cup sizes. They’ve got it all, including a multimillion-dollar business called Checkmate Inc.—a company they founded together right out of college.
Some guys are late bloomers, but once they hit their stride, they make up for lost time.
And the bonus? The founding partners of Checkmate Inc. didn’t become successful and smokin’ hot by accident. They were smart enough to surround themselves with guys who helped them transform into the men they are today. So get ready for more stories about the hotties who are connected to Checkmate Inc.
A fun, flirty, and dirty contemporary series in which the sizzling hot players associated with Checkmate Inc. meet their matches.
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A 2014 Golden Heart® finalist, Shelly Alexander grew up traveling the world, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and worked in the business world for twenty-five years. With four older brothers, she watched every Star Trek episode ever made, joined the softball team instead of ballet class, and played with G.I. Joes while the Barbie Corvette stayed tucked in the closet. When she had three sons of her own, she decided to escape her male-dominated world by reading romance novels and has been hooked ever since. Now, she spends her days writing steamy contemporary romances while tending to a miniature schnauzer named Omer, a tiny toy poodle named Mozart, and a pet boa named Zeus.

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IT’S IN HIS ARMS BY SHELLY ALEXANDER SALE & 1 YEAR PUBLIVERSARY

One Year Publiversary & Sale Blitz, it’s in His Arms by Bestselling Author Shelly Alexander

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A Red River Valley Novel Book 4 celebrates one year since publishing. Download for ONLY $1.99 this January. KindleUnlimited subscribers read FREE!

A sweet, stirring romance series with just enough steam and chemistry to make you swoon. It’s set against the charming landscape of the Southern Rockies, where the nights are cool and the romance is hot.

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Lorenda Lawson has built a safe, sheltered life for her two young sons since their father was KIA several years ago. She has a beautiful cottage and a support network of family and friends. No one in Red River suspects that her marriage to Cam was ever less than perfect. Nobody, that is, except the gorgeous ex-SEAL who’s shown up after a long absence: Cam’s notorious twin brother, Mitchell.

Mitchell Lawson was a teenage rebel who fled Red River after the local watering hole burned down, choosing the military over jail. Now he has a new mission: making amends with the town and his sheriff father for his hell-raising days, while resisting the woman he’s always wanted. Between Lorenda’s warmth and sensuality and her boys’ mischievous matchmaking ploys, it won’t be easy.

When a string of fires breaks out, suspicious eyes turn toward Mitchell. Lorenda risks her reputation for his sake—but she’ll need to risk her heart, too, to bring this onetime bad boy home for good.

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A 2014 Golden Heart® finalist, Shelly Alexander grew up traveling the world, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and worked in the business world for twenty-five years. With four older brothers, she watched every Star Trek episode ever made, joined the softball team instead of ballet class, and played with G.I. Joes while the Barbie Corvette stayed tucked in the closet. When she had three sons of her own, she decided to escape her male-dominated world by reading romance novels and has been hooked ever since. Now, she spends her days writing steamy contemporary romances while tending to a miniature schnauzer named Omer, a tiny toy poodle named Mozart, and a pet boa named Zeus.

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Cozy Corgi Mystery Book 2 by Mildred Abbott RELEASE BLITZ

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Traitorous Toys 
A Cozy Corgi Mystery
by Mildred Abbott
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It’s Christmas in Estes Park, Colorado: cozy fires, twinkling lights, soft snowfall, and… murder.
The winter holidays in charming Estes Park lulls Winifred Page and her corgi, Watson, into thoughts of spiced chai and gingerbread as they settle into their new home. Fred’s dream bookshop is becoming a reality, and with Christmas only days away, her only concerns are spending time with family, enforcing Watson’s diet, and finding the perfect gifts.
The toy store beckons Fred and her friend Katie, who dash in out of the cold, during a shopping spree to discover handmade toys, cuddly stuffed animals… and a dying man on the floor.
When Katie’s desperate attempts to save the man ends in her being taken in for his murder, Fred once again dons her detective hat. She puts aside her Christmas list and—with Watson sniffing around—begins a list of suspects. But as quickly as clues point to one person, new discoveries shift the spotlight to another.
With Katie’s freedom in the balance, Fred has little time to think about gifts or to enjoy the holiday lights and music. A killer is on the loose, one who became violent in a picture-perfect Christmas toy shop, and Fred and Watson can’t begin to predict what might happen next…

 

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CHAPTER REVEAL

Despite Watson’s sensitive nose, and the smell of recently varnished floors, we spent the entire day in the Cozy Corgi bookshop. When the motherlode of all deliveries arrived before noon, the majority of the books were at least within the walls of my store, and I now owned more than an empty building. Progress!
After having the sign hung, the floors and walls refinished, and all of the bookcases installed, I’d thought my dream shop was becoming a reality. But with mountains upon mountains of boxes of books taking up most of the large center room, it finally began to feel real. And that realness doubled down. Transforming the place seemed nearly impossible, especially considering the timeline I’d set for myself, but even so, excitement thrummed. It was happening. Finally.
I spent the rest of the afternoon pushing boxes to the center of the smaller rooms that ran around the perimeter of the main floor. The more I worked, the more manageable it seemed. I already knew my favorite space. The corner room in the back left side of the shop. It was the one with the largest river rock fireplace. My uncles’ store had a Victorian sofa and antique standing lamp with an ornate fabric shade I’d been eyeing. Those would go there, and it would be my mystery-themed room. Each little nook would have its own genre. The largest offshoot would be the children’s book area, and while I was going to make every inch of the store as spectacular as I could, the mystery room was going to be just a touch more special.
By the same time next year, I’d have the entire shop decked out for Christmas. As it was, I used some of my illusive time to cut out paper snowflakes and tape them to the windows looking out on the tourists passing by. Next year, lights, trees, and maybe I could even brew some spiced cider for customers. But, for now, wonky snowflakes would have to do for holiday cheer.
“If you keep glaring at me like that, I’m going to leave you home tomorrow.” I glowered at Watson, who peered up at me as I taped the final snowflake on the glass. His corgi eyes doubtlessly did a better job of glowering than mine. “It’s not like you’d be unsafe. With the fortune I just paid for your dog run, the abominable snowman himself couldn’t break in.”
The threat to leave him home was an empty one, and we both knew it. Even with the Fort Knox of dog enclosures, I’d worry about him the entire day and get absolutely nothing done. Never mind the fact that since he’d waddled into my life a little more than a year ago, we’d been inseparable.
Watson’s intense look was interrupted by a sneeze, a second one, and then he went right back to glaring.
“You know, buddy, the Cozy Corgi bookstore is named after you. We’re going to have to work on your disposition before we have living, breathing customers.”
I was fairly certain his brown gaze darkened. Watson was persnickety about which strangers he would allow to fawn over him.
A few seconds longer of our staring battle and I admitted defeat. We had both known I would. The only way I could change his disposition in the moment was to offer him a treat. And I’d already given him five since coming to the store a few hours ago. Since moving to Estes Park, Watson had steadily required more treats, and he was just a bit “fluffier” than was healthy. Not that I had much room to judge. My newest friend, Katie, was a baker, and I felt fairly certain she was intent on me buying an entire new wardrobe, with all the fresh carby goodness she continually shoved my way.
“Fine. You win. But this bookstore isn’t going to put itself together, you know.” I strode to the counter, slipped into my jacket, and grabbed my purse and an incorrectly delivered letter. It seemed I got someone else’s mail every other day. I wondered how much of my own ended up somewhere other than with me. At least all the books had come to the right place.
I couldn’t blame Watson. The smell of stain, varnish, and all the other chemicals used to refinish the wooden floors of the two-leveled shop a couple of weeks before had finally faded. We’d had an entire day and a half of getting the Cozy Corgi ready without runny noses and stinging eyes before the newly installed bookcases that filled nearly every room on the main floor had their turn at a beauty treatment. I was planning on opening the store in January, but that was only two weeks away. If I started stocking the books on the shelves too soon, I feared no one would buy them due to their absorbing the chemical smell.
After slipping on his leash, I stepped outside with Watson, paused long enough to lock the front door of the shop, and then began walking down the sidewalk. The two stores on either side of the Cozy Corgi had been candy shops, but now sat empty, waiting. While some of the stores had closed for the winter season, these were the only ones that felt desolate. I was certain it wouldn’t last for long.
“One more stop, and then it’s family dinner night.”
Watson turned his unimpressed gaze on me again.
“Barry, buddy. You get to see Barry.”
And with that, his eyes lit up and he gave a little hop. My stepfather was Watson’s favorite human in the world, outside of myself. And there were times I wasn’t entirely certain I outranked Barry.
Though it was barely four thirty in the afternoon, the sky was dark and only a small pink glow remained over the rim of the mountains. Snow fell in thick soft flakes, and while it was cold, there was no wind, so it was a crisp pleasant sensation. The weather mixed with the garlands, light-festooned streetlamps, and the ropes of glowing tinsel across the street made me marvel at my new life.
When we first moved to Estes Park from Kansas City the month before, I’d felt like we’d landed inside a snow globe. Now, with the holiday barely a week away, I was convinced we lived in a Christmas village. The sensation was compounded by the endless rows of shops on Elkhorn Avenue, all of which were either vintage fifties and sixties mountain style or those, like mine, that looked like small log cabins.
Within five minutes, we walked close to the end of the next block, and I checked the address on the envelope. The return address showed that it was from a Denver law office. There was no business name, but the numbers matched those under the silver script that read Rocky Mountain Imprints on the glass door.
A bell chimed as we walked in, and Watson let out an irritated snuff seconds before the smell hit—not overly unpleasant, and less harsh than what my own shop currently smelled like, but it was a weird mix of heat, plastic, and something I didn’t have a name for. Endless racks of T-shirts and hoodies filled the store, and every inch of wall space was papered in square designs, ranging from cute forest animals, to Smokey Bear, to borderline risqué logos about hiking naked.
“Welcome, and Merry Christmas!” A cute blonde woman waved at me from behind the counter.
I nearly jumped at the sudden sound of her voice. I hadn’t noticed her amid all the cacophony of fabric colors and images. Not to mention she was nearly pixie small.
“Thank you! And Merry Christmas to you.” I motioned down at Watson. “I hope you don’t mind that my dog is with me.” Estes Park was extremely dog friendly, but Watson and I had encountered the rare shopkeeper who didn’t appreciate animals in their store. In their defense, Watson tended to leave a cloud of dog hair wherever he went, as evidenced by every article of clothing I owned.
“Of course not!” The woman’s bright voice was nearly as cheerful as a pixie. “He’s adorable. We actually sell T-shirts for dogs.” Her eyes narrowed as she inspected Watson. “He’s… a basset hound, right? I don’t think we have any of those, but I do a lot of the art myself. I can custom-design something for you. Maybe a basset hound wearing reindeer ears or something for the season?”
I shook my head and managed to smile instead of grimace. “Thank you, but no. Watson would murder me in my sleep if I tried to put clothes on him. Once in a while, he’ll let me get away with a little scarf, but even then he gives me attitude for days after. And he’s a corgi.” A basset hound and a corgi both were long and short, but really couldn’t look more different, with basset hound ears nearly dragging the floor, and a corgi looking for all intents and purposes more like a chiseled fox.
“Well, if you change your mind, let me know. I’ll happily create something for a corky. I’ve never tried to do anything with scarves, but it could be a fun adventure.”
corky? I was going to have to remember that one. Maybe that could be a new nickname when Watson was being a snot.
As we walked closer to the counter, the woman seemed to get smaller. Granted, that wasn’t an unusual sensation for me upon meeting petite women. I was a healthy five foot ten, which seemed like a good size to me, but anytime I was around women the stature of my mother, I grew the tiniest bit self-conscious. At thirty-eight, I’d expected to outgrow that particular insecurity. Maybe by the time I was forty….
“I am actually not here to shop. Sorry.” I held out the envelope. “This was delivered to my store by accident. It’s addressed to a Sarah M. Beeman, but it had your shop’s address.”
The blonde’s eyes narrowed as she took the envelope, and then she glanced toward the back of the store before flashing me another smile. “Thank you. I’ll see that she gets it.” She cocked her head. “Wait a second. You said it was delivered to your store? I don’t think I’ve met….” Her gaze left me once more, flicked to Watson, and then I saw understanding. “Ah! The Cozy Corky, the bookshop that’s coming. I saw your sign. It’s adorable.”
She might not know her dog breeds, but with that comment, she won my approval. I was particularly proud of the wooden sign above my door with a corgi sitting on a stack of books. I held out my hand. “That’s me. My name is Winifred Page, but everyone calls me Fred.”
“Fred! That’s almost as adorable as your shop sign.” She slipped her tiny hand into mine. “I am Peg Singer.” She tilted her head toward the back. “My husband, Joe, and I own the shop.” She broke our hands’ embrace and then gasped. “I have the best idea! That logo would be amazing on T-shirts and hoodies, we can even put them on hats. If you buy them in bulk, I’ll give you a discount, and then you can mark them up and sell them at your store.” She gestured behind her at a row of trophies. “Each summer we locals have a softball season. There were so many shop owners by the end of last year, we talked about splitting into two teams. You could lead the new one, and your little dog could be the mascot. Joe does really wonderful things with jersey imprints.”
I shook my head, a little more emphatically than I’d intend. “I’m so not a sports person. Any team I’d be on would be guaranteed to lose. And Watson is about as athletic as a beached whale.” I reminded myself I needed to get off to a good start with the other business owners, so I paused, considering. “The Cozy Corgi logo on shirts and stuff might be cute, though.”
“I promise you it would be.”
“Let me think about it, but….” I fished around in my purse for my newly printed business cards “Let me leave you my information and you can send me the details. Will that work?”
“Absolutely!” The card went the way of the letter. “I’ll send you some options and quotes in the next couple of days.”
I hadn’t figured out what I was going to do with the top level of my shop, it had been an apartment before—and the scene of a murder. I hadn’t wanted to extend the bookstore up there, preferring to keep it more of an intimate space, but maybe Cozy Corgi merchandise could be fun.
Watson pulled on his leash, obviously done with another smelly location. I followed his lead. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Peg. We should probably get going, though. My little guy is getting hungry.” I loved Watson for all that he was, even his often grumpy disposition. But one of my favorite parts of puppy motherhood was always having a ready excuse to leave.
“It was great to meet you as well, Fred.” She gave a finger-wiggling wave to Watson. “And you too, Walter.”
I truly did like the idea of the Cozy Corgi merchandise, but I made a mental note to double and then triple check spelling on any proofs she might send my way. The Cozy Corgi could easily end up being the Grumpy Goat or some such nonsense.
The snow had picked up, and as Watson and I stepped outside, the cold fresh mountain air was such a contrast to the plasticky smell of the T-shirt shop that I stood there for a second to luxuriate.
I turned back the way we’d come, and the store next to Rocky Mountain Imprints caught my eye. I wasn’t sure how I’d missed it to begin with. Toys filled the window, and like my shop, the outside was a log cabin façade. The arched wooden sign over the door read Bushy Evergreen’s Workshop. Unlike the T-shirt store, even from my spot on the sidewalk, it was easy to see the place was completely decked out for Christmas. I gave Watson an apologetic grimace. “One more stop before Barry. But this is the last one. I promise.”
Before he could sit down and refuse to move, I pushed open the door and ushered him inside.
Sure enough, the place was as charming as it seemed from the outside. I’d toured all the stores when we first moved, but I’d been so focused on all the drama, I hadn’t paid too much attention to aesthetics. Bushy Evergreen was an unfortunate name choice, but workshop was appropriate. It felt like Watson and I had stepped through a portal and landed in Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. The tiny place practically overflowed with toys. For a second I couldn’t figure out what was unusual about it, but then it hit me, only increasing the sensation of being in a place owned by Santa. Most of the toys—much like Estes Park itself—seemed to be from a time long ago. Tops, jack-in-the-boxes, wooden train sets and cars, and endless rows of stuffed animals. Many of the wooden toys and figurines looked expertly hand carved. In all the chaos of toys, three different Christmas trees were stuffed here and there, twinkling brightly. Garland was roped around every available surface, looping over the perimeter of the walls and outlining the shelves and tables.
“Wow.” I stood in awe and forgot that I was nearly forty. This place was Christmas morning—smells of hot chocolate and molasses, the feeling of rushing down the stairs to find brightly colored packages under a sparkling tree.
There was a warm chuckle from somewhere to the left. “Never get tired of seeing that expression on people’s faces. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed one on a dog before, but even your furry friend appears enchanted.”
I glanced at Watson. Sure enough, Watson’s gaze flicked from one thing to another and he seemed captivated by it all, rather than irritated at keeping Barry waiting. Talk about a Christmas miracle. Maybe we really had stumbled upon Santa’s workshop.
Catching myself, I looked toward the voice, and seemed to misplace my own. The man standing behind the counter was no elf. Nor was he Santa. He was a tall, rugged mountain of a man. Dark red hair and stunningly handsome. Where Peg had made me feel like a giant, this man made me feel like… well, probably how Peg had felt next to me, I assumed.
He flashed a bright white smile, somehow increasing his good looks, which shouldn’t have been possible. “You all right?”
I nodded and had to lick my lips so I wouldn’t drool, more than anything. I pointed to the garland strewn magically over the store. “Yes. I’ve just never seen garland that lights up before.” That much was true, the crystalline garland was a constant shifting rainbow of colors. It almost looked like it was made from shards of glass or snow, and somehow glowed in countless sparkling hues.
His thick brows creased. “Yeah, it was my idiot brother’s idea. Pretty spectacular stuff, unless you’re the one hanging it. I think I bled for a week.” Whatever irritation he felt vanished. “Looking for a gift?”
I shook my head. I was not looking for a gift. Although, since I was in a toyshop… “Yes, though I have no idea what to get. I have nieces and nephews. Two who are fourteen and two who are eight. Two boys, and two girls.” He had a small dimple in his chin. Not too deep as to be distracting, but just enough to highlight how chiseled his jaw truly was. “Well, they’re my stepnieces and stepnephews actually. I’m not very good at this whole aunt thing. My stepfather has two daughters; they’re twins.” His blue eyes might actually be made from sapphires. “And of course they married twin brothers, because Verona and Zelda weren’t identical enough, they had to marry twins. And they each have a fourteen-year-old and an eight-year-old, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m supposed to do for presents. Judging from the way they reacted the last few Christmases, I’m a horrible gift giver.”
Watson yanked at his leash, pulling my attention to him. He cocked one of his puppy brows at me and sat down.
He’d just earned himself another treat.
If I’d kept going, I probably would’ve told the man my entire family history. I turned back to him but focused on a carved bear over his shoulder. Maybe he was like an eclipse, you could function if you didn’t look directly at him.
“I can definitely help you out with the eight-year-olds, but I doubt we’ll have much to offer the teenagers. They seem to want nothing more than cell phones, iPads, and cash.” He gave another chuckle, proving that the sound of his voice was just as distracting as his appearance, no matter where I looked. “Depending on what they’re into, I just got a new shipment of….” His voice trailed off momentarily, causing me to look him full in the face again. “Wait a minute. I recognize you, and your dog. You’re—” He snapped his fingers a couple times. “—Fred Page, the one opening the bookshop where the old taxidermy place used to be. Where Opal was killed.”
For a moment I was beyond flattered that he had not only recognized me but recalled my name. Then I quickly realized chances were he’d been much more captivated by the murder and investigation that had swirled around me upon my arrival in town than he was about me personally. And that, more than keeping my focus away from him, helped me to quit acting like a complete fool. “That’s me. For better or worse. Watson and I are the ones opening the bookshop. You must be… Bushy?”
Even as I said it, I knew it couldn’t be. A man like that didn’t have the name Bushy.
He shook his head, and once more there was a flash of irritation like there’d been about the garland. “No. This was my father’s store originally. He still carves a lot of the toys, but it’s mine now. Bushy Evergreen was one of Santa’s original elves. He was a woodcarver and was in charge of the toyshop. My father felt a kinship with him. I would love nothing more than to put a sensible name on the place, but we’ve been here for over fifty years. Doesn’t make good business sense to change it now.” His charm was back. “My name is Declan, thankfully, not Bushy.”
Before I had the opportunity to somehow put my foot in my mouth again, there was a slamming of a door, and a voice rang out from somewhere in the back. “Declan, you’re never going to believe what I just found. I was just driving back from the grocery store and there was this old chest sitting beside a dumpster.” A man rushed through the doorway carrying a wooden box that looked like it had been kept at the bottom of the ocean for the past century. At a glance, I almost thought he was Declan’s twin, but it was a fleeting notion. He had the same height, coloring, and hair, but even though he had similar features to Declan, everything seemed off somehow—not malformed, just not as pleasing. Even so, he was very clearly related to Declan. “I was thinking I can clean it up, and Dad could—” His words fell away as he noticed me, and halted. “Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to be so loud. Didn’t realize we had customers.”
Two other figures emerged from the back. I wasn’t sure if they’d been there the entire time or if they’d arrived with the strange Declan look-alike. An ancient-looking man with snowy hair, who was clearly Declan’s father, and a raven-haired woman, who was just as beautiful as Declan. Both of them halted as well.
“Yes, imagine that. A toy store having an actual customer at Christmastime. Shocking.” The coldness and shift in Declan’s voice drew my attention away from the other three people. His handsome features were suddenly hard. But a heartbeat later, he was charming again, his voice warm and pleasant. “Might as well make introductions while we’re all here. This is Fred Page, the one who’s opening the new bookshop.” He gestured from me toward the three individuals. “This is my father, Duncan, my brother, Dolan, and my wife, Daphne.”
“That’s a lot of Ds.” I wasn’t sure if it was the residual effect of Declan’s stunning appearance or his abrupt shift from warm and inviting to cold and harsh, but whatever it was, I chose to say that instead of hello, nice to meet you.
Dolan gave a maniacal laugh, the father’s brows knitted in an expression which reminded me of Watson in his grumpy moments, and Daphne smiled as she spoke. “That’s true. I’ve often wondered if Declan married me simply because of my name. My mother-in-law’s name was Della, believe it or not.” She shrugged and patted her flat stomach. “We won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl until the little one arrives, but I can guarantee you the name will start with D.”
Dolan let out another wild laugh. It wasn’t exactly off-putting, but a little crazed or something. Actually there was something off entirely. I couldn’t figure out what it was. I only knew that the Christmassy cheer of Santa’s workshop had morphed into something else. And probably sensing it himself, Watson once again pulled on his leash, this time making it very clear he wanted to go.
“Well….” I attempted to force an easy-breezy tone, but was fairly certain I failed. “It’s lovely to meet all of you.” I refocused on Declan, this time not mesmerized by his appearance. “I’m running late for dinner with my family. Mom’s making a big spread. I’ll drop in before Christmas and find something good for the eight-year-olds.”
And once more, Declan was all handsome charm and pleasant voice. “Please do. I’m sure we’ll find something perfect for them. It was a pleasure to meet you, Fred. We’ll look forward to visiting your store when you open.”
“Thank you. I appreciate that.” I gave a wave that hopefully encompassed everyone. “We’d best get going. Merry Christmas.”
Dolan and Daphne responded as I turned and hurried out the door. I paused in the cool air once more, but this time it wasn’t refreshing. Just cold. I glanced down at Watson.
“What in the world was that?”
He didn’t bother to respond, only took off down the sidewalk, pulling me with him.
Before I’d taken two steps, loud voices reached my ears, and I glanced through the window, past the toys, to see Declan shaking his fist as he yelled at Daphne. Dolan jumped between them, shouting something as well, though I couldn’t make it out.
Duncan’s old eyes met mine through the window and clearly told me to mind my own business.
I hesitated despite his stare, wondering what I should do.
With another tug on his leash, Watson made the decision for me.






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Bickering Birds, Cozy Corgi Mysteries #3

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Reading the Cozy Corgi series is pretty much all you need to know about Mildred. In real life, she’s obsessed with everything she writes about: Corgis, Books, Cozy Mountain Towns, and Baked Goods. She’s not obsessed with murder, however. At least not at her own hands (nor paid for… no contract killing here). But since childhood, starting with Nancy Drew, trying to figure out who-dun-it has played a formative role in her personality. Having Fred and Watson stroll into her mind was a touch of kismet.
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WAR GAMES by JESS ANASTASI Blog Tour

When one of her pilots is shot down behind enemy lines, Lieutenant Theresa Brenner will stop at nothing to save her before she’s captured and tortured, even if it means being part of the dirtside team led by Colonel Cameron McAllister. Bren might respect the way the colonel commands his men, but she’ll never trust Cam—no matter how charming he is—because he was responsible for her brother’s death.

Colonel Cameron McAllister has a covert mission behind enemy lines to team with the Ilari rebels and overthrow the bloodthirsty dictator who’s torn their planet apart. The last thing he needs is to get sidetracked searching for a downed pilot, especially since it means having Lieutenant Theresa Brenner tag along. Not only doesn’t the frosty pilot have the ground game to keep up with his seasoned group, she’s a potential distraction with all those gorgeous blond curls of hers—and she might be just like her brother, whose foolhardiness got his men killed.

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Jess has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn’t deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. She loves loud music, a good book on a rainy day, and probably spends too much time watching too many TV shows. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia, with her very supportive husband, three daughters, two border collie dogs, and one cat who thinks he’s one of the kids.

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Chase The Sons of Crosby Release Day

Chase Crosby didn’t know what he wanted right now. He was trying to get a grip on who his new mate was. He was told she was an ice dragon, but that wasn’t right either, she was a protector of the ice dragons. He had so many questions, and all he could do was sit there while she was locked away in his freezer to recover from her injuries. 

Emerald was a warrior, and she had no idea what she was going to do with a mate. Even though the vampire appealed to her, she was worried the people chasing her would hurt him or his family to get to her, and she couldn’t allow that.

A Homeland Security Agent had gone rogue and he was after Emerald. He didn’t know exactly who or what she was, but he was going to prove she’d been around for centuries, and it didn’t matter who he had to go through to get to her.
Recommended for 18+. Contains graphic sex and language. 
Spencer Graham had been trying to get a hold of Jason Crosby for weeks, but he didn’t seem to answer emails, mail or the telephone. She had an idea that would make them a great deal of money, but she needed him to invest in her project before it was too late. So, barging into his home at 4 a. m. was the only solution as far as she was concerned. She didn’t, however, expect him to answer the door naked and proposition her as soon as she walked in the door. Spencer did the only thing that came natural to her, she knocked him on his ass…. Jason Crosby was nearly two thousand years old, and in all his days as a vampire, he’d never seen anyone quite like her, not that he thought that was a good thing. He didn’t. She was his mate, and he was only going the tolerate her because he had to


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Chase put the book down on his desk and thought about what he’d just read. He’d been doing that a great deal lately, reading about the woman that was still in his freezer. She had been hard to figure out, what she was and how she’d come to be, but Kilian had come to his rescue just yesterday and had helped him a great deal. Not that he still didn’t have a million questions, but for the most part, he did have a better understanding and knowledge of what she was. “Do you have a question I can answer for you, Lord Chase?” He told Spud, a friend of Jewel, that he didn’t know, what he wanted to ask right now. “Understandable. The lady queen, she has put someone in charge of watching over her. There are few who didn’t want to be here, but she has picked a couple to help you as well. The helper is called Sunshine. She will be here as long as the Lady Warrior is.” Chase had found out that while Emerald was very powerful and old, she wasn’t an ice dragon, but the protector of them. Yes, she was created in ice, but had the appearance of a human in all ways. It was so she would to be able to withstand the heat should there be a need, but her job was to fight with and to protect dragons, dragons made entirely of ice. And not just any ice either, but ice so cold that it was as hard as stone, which would only melt when the heat from the sun shone directly on them for one thousand years. He’d never heard of such a thing. “Where is her dragon, do you know?” Sunshine, his new helper, bowed before him and told him that she was looking for him now. “So, is he dead or alive? Or don’t you know that yet?” “I believe him to be dead, my lord, but I can’t be sure just yet. Forgive me for not having the answer right now.” He told Sunshine that he didn’t expect her to have them all right now, but to keep looking. “I am, my lord. We all are. To have an ice dragon alive would be a great thing.” He didn’t know why but he let it go. To his way of thinking, to have a full-sized dragon around would be scary. But then he hadn’t ever met a dragon, so he wasn’t sure what full sized could mean. To him they were great creatures that smashed houses. For all he knew they could be no bigger than the faerie in front of him. Emerald had been in his freezer for a week now. She’d come out on occasion, stare at him or whoever was in the room with him, then go back inside. Her sword was always drawn, and she was covered from head to toe in ice…her shield, he’d been told. He’d also read that she would be cold at all times, much like someone that was dead. He didn’t want to think about that too much. The rest of his day was spent trying to catch up on some paperwork. He’d moved all his office—well, most of it—into the kitchen when going back and forth between there and his actual office was too time consuming. Besides, he thought that it was working out better anyway, as he seemed to be getting more done than sitting in his office, staring at the wall. 
Dad had been making it to his house about suppertime every night since he’d been told that Chase had his mate. It had been both wonderful and nerve-wracking at the same time. He loved his dad, more than anything, but he asked too many questions and in a small space of time. And that was what made him tense about this entire thing, not having the answers when his dad assumed that he should.  As soon as he walked in the door, Chase put up his hand. “No, I’ve not spoken to her. Yes, she’s still in there. No, I’ve not learned anything more than I did yesterday, and no, I’m not going to go in there and see if she needs me. She’s fine where she is.” Dad sat down, but looked to be a little miffed. “Dad, I’m scared enough without you adding to my already overflowing cup of what ifs.” “Can’t a man be curious about his newest family member?” Chase said that he could, so long as he didn’t ask him about her. “You think she’s going to be all right in there after all this time?” “No, I think she’s dead and I’m only waiting until you leave before I go in, wrap her in a thick blanket, and bury her in the back yard.” His dad growled. “Dad, I don’t know anything about her other than she worked for Jewel, knows a lot of languages, and that someone, someone deadly, is after her.”  “There are a lot of people around town that don’t belong here, so you know. And Jason has talked to a few of the people in your mate’s neighborhood, who said that Emerald has helped them out a bit, so they don’t tell them anything.” He said that Jason had told him that last night. “He said that he’s got some people watching those guys in the hotel too. I thought that you should know that they’re not moving around much during the day, mostly in the evening, asking questions. I think they figure that people would be more respective of a few questions after they’ve had dinner. Morons.” “Are they human?” Dad told him that a few of them were, but they were wolves for the most part. “Do you know if they’ve registered with the pack leader? That could be an easy way to check them out.” “They’re by the books, I can tell you that. Donald said that not only had they come to him to tell them that they were here, but they gave him some story about being here on a shopping expedition. To put in a plant of some kind. I don’t know what that would be, and Donald said he can’t ask.” Yeah, Chase knew that as well. They had to report to him if they were wolf, but not tell him why they were here other than to say it was business or vacation. “He said to tell you that he has his men and women working in the hotel that they’re in, and they have been snooping around.” “I hope they’re being careful. These men don’t seem the sort to mess with.” Dad said that they were being extra careful, as they seem to have suspicious minds as well. “What do you mean? They figure someone is looking into their lives?” “Said that while they’re in the rooms—cleaning up, you know—there seems to be a lot of luggage, and most of it is locked up. They can’t tell, like one of us can, what’s in there, but they don’t bother them. One of them told Donald that they could smell silver in the cases, so were kind of afraid to touch them.” Dad looked around then back at him, and Chase found himself leaning in to hear what he had to say. “I’ve been in their rooms…not so they’d see me, but in there. They have all kinds of equipment that I had 
to ask what it was when I got back. Jewel is helping me find out what it is, but mostly it’s lab equipment. And a big saw. Like them kind that you’d have when felling trees for a house.” “To remove my head.” They both stood when Emerald came out of the freezer and spoke. “I’ve healed for the most part, but I now need to feed.” Chase felt his own body’s need to feed overwhelm him. Sitting down, he tried to calm himself and his beast. It wasn’t working. He needed her, they both did. When she moved by him to the sink, he growled low and she paused to look at him. “You’ve been here for more than a week, and I’ve not been able to feed either. I’m sorry. I don’t want to rush you or scare you, but just letting you know.” She nodded and poured herself a glass of juice, juice that he knew for a fact hadn’t been in his refrigerator before she’d opened it. “You know what I am to you.” “My mate. I’m not sure how that works with you being a vampire, but I’m not an easy person to know. I’m a loner as well.” She drained the glass of juice then poured herself another. The next time she drained it, it filled on its own. “What is it you expect from me?” It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her to come sit on his naked cock. To let him have her in a very carnal way. But he only looked at her, hoping to Christ that not only could she not read his mind, but that she wasn’t as dangerous as he’d heard she could be. Then he realized that he’d not answered her yet. “Expect? Nothing that you’re not willing to give me. Answers would be great, but having the questions in any kind of order or even coherent right now isn’t going to happen. I’ve been reading up on what I could find, or someone has given me. I know a little about your kind, but that’s it, just a little.” She asked him what he wanted to know. “You’re a warrior. Where is your dragon?” “He died some decades ago. More than I care to think about.” He nodded and told her that he had figured that was what she’d say. “I was harmed when he was taken off the field we were fighting on. He died later, from other wounds. Not that it matters, but the people who are looking for me now, the ones chasing me, they think that I can tell them things about why I’ve been alive for so long. Something about pictures from long ago. I don’t think that they know what I am. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying to find me. It’s been hard to keep away; they must have resources that are good. But I can’t let them capture me for any reason, because that would cause a lot of creatures a great deal of trouble. Including you. And if I won’t give them what they want, then they’ll simply remove my head.” “They have lab equipment with them. And as you said, a saw to remove your head. I’m thinking, unlike you, that they know just what you are and what you could bring to them if they were to capture you.” She didn’t say anything, but sat at the table he and Dad were at. “What can we do to protect you? I’m assuming that somewhere along the line, you’ve trusted people before who betrayed you. I won’t. Never. And neither will my family.” “As I have been told before. Sorry, but my levels of trust don’t include you just yet. That doesn’t mean that I won’t eventually, but for now, I don’t.” She didn’t elaborate, 
and he didn’t ask. If he was honest, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to know. “You are the son of Crosby, the vampires that saved the Queen Kilian.” “Yes, and you are Emerald, dragon warrior, rider and protector of the ice dragons and last female of your kind.” She nodded, and he could see her shifting under the façade of clothing that she had worn when she’d come out of the freezer. “You’re magical, the most magical creature that has ever lived, too.” “Yes, and by being my mate, you are as well.” He had already figured that would happen, but it didn’t make it any easier for him to question her. “You will be safe with me, Chase Crosby. This I can promise you with my sword.” ~~~ Kilian was excited and afraid to meet the warrior. She knew who she was, of course. All creatures of the earth knew who the great Emerald was. But when she entered the dwelling that housed her, she knew immediately that while she was healed, she was still very weak. Looking at Chase as he sat with her at the table, Kilian wondered if he knew that she was just as hungry as he was. “I’ve come to bless you with some of my magic.” Kilian had only come to talk to the warrior, but knew that she was going to need more than she was getting right now. “My lady, you need to feed, and soon. I’m sure that you’re aware of this, but you’re unwell.” “I’m all right. I’ve been talking to the vampire here.” She nodded at Chase and he smiled. Kilian loved this young man—because he was to her, young—more than she did any of the others. Which was saying a great deal, as she loved them all very much. But Chase had a heart of gold, and he was as kind a person as she’d ever met. “He has it in his head that he’s going to protect me. I don’t need protecting from a vampire, or any other creature that comes to this house. So we’re coming to an understanding, he and I. He’ll let me do my job and not get in my way.” “You do need him, however.” Emerald looked at her, and Kilian could see that she was angry. At who or what she didn’t know, but she bowed before her. “You need only to tell him and Chase will help you.” “He cannot, and you know this.” Kilian said that she knew no such thing, and looked at the warrior when she laughed. “The vampire isn’t going to be—” “Chase. Say it…my name is Chase, Chase Crosby.” He grinned, and Kilian wondered if he knew how much more handsome he was when he did that. “You have to stop calling me the vampire, as that isn’t something about me that a great many people know. Chase. You can say it in several languages, I’m sure.” “It would be all the same, as well you know. But there are things that you don’t understand. You can’t get close to me, vampire. I am a danger to not just you, but to all mankind if they find me. Especially here.” He asked her why here. “You are here. So is your family.” “Yes, so they are. And for what it’s worth, they’d help me in any kind of way that you needed. But as for the men in town that are here for you, I can tell you right now, they have no idea where you are, or that you’ve healed. Nor do they know exactly what we’ll do to them when they try anything. As I said before, we’re a tight family of 
vampires, with magic that none others have. Also, we can call on many other packs and leaps at any time. They like us.” She asked him why he thought that they’d not get to her. “Because, I have taken care that they don’t. And we have people working in the building that they’re in who are watching their every move. Even what they eat and what they send back to the kitchen. Did you know that they don’t drink anything but water? Why is that, I wonder? It could be that they, like me, don’t care for sugary drinks, but who knows? But they like water.” “So, they aren’t human.” Kilian laughed when Chase told her no shit. “I’m not one to fuck with. I have a great deal riding on me staying alive.”  “Yes, you do, and so do I. I have my life and everything that I am riding on you staying alive.” He stood up and Kilian marveled at his height, as she did all the Crosby boys when she was near them. “My brothers and I are working very hard on keeping you safe, and have been since you were put into my freezer to heal. We’ve all taken turns in making sure that you were taken care of, that you had all that you needed, and that no one, at least only those that we trust, knew where you were. As far as anyone knows, they haven’t any idea that you’ve been in my freezer all this time.” When Emerald stood up as well, Kilian decided that she’d come to talk to the warrior some other time, and slipped out of the house as quietly as she’d entered. She found herself smiling at nothing when she made her way back to her home.  There were going to be fireworks when those two came together, and Kilian was glad that she was close enough to see them when they did. The Crosbys were a powerful group of men, but they paled considerably when their magic was put against one as strong as the warrior. Chase was going to be a vampire to be reckoned with, more so than he was now. “My queen?” She looked at Sunshine and allowed her to speak freely. She found this rule, as old as she was, the most annoying of all of them. To have to ask to speak to her. “We have located the body of the ice dragon, my lady. Three, as a matter of fact. They have been dead for a great many years. His body, like that of two others, has been hidden within the caves of the mountain. By the same hand, we believe. They have not been bothered, my lady. Their bodies are still as they had been when they entered. No human has ever touched them. Not in all these years.” “The ice warrior, you think she put them in there?” Sunshine nodded. “How did they perish? Were you able to ascertain that?” “Yes, my lady. Two of the dragons were very old and worn out. They wished to die and did so. They have been moved and put to rest in the gardens here. I hope that is all right with you. The cave they were found in, it was not proper for ones such as them. Her dragon, the ice warrior’s, he was killed by his own hand. She brought him to the cave to be with his family in his last moments, I think. But he ended his life on his own.” Kilian asked how they were related. “His parents, my lady. Both his mother and father were put there by the warrior, as well as several, smaller dragons that were killed by war. The dragon of the ice warrior, he had been hurt badly when he was hidden away. He finished himself to free her of his life.” 
He had been her true dragon, and Emerald should have died with him…her heart having beat with his. But since he killed himself—the only thing he could do for her to be free to move on—her life did not end with his. As soon as he died, by his own hand, it separated their hearts. Her heart would beat for only Chase now. It was the thing that Kilian might have done, should she have been a dragon for a warrior. “How do you know this? That he died by his own hand?” Kilian was handed a thick slab of stone, hand cut and a great many years old. She read the accounting of the incident then looked at Sunshine. “Have you told anyone of this?” “No. I was to tell his lordship, Lord Chase, but I thought you should know first.” She nodded. This changed so many things for them. “He gave her his all, my lady. All that they were, even his parents, was gifted to the warrior for her service to them. This is a great thing he did for her. And the title that is now hers.” The king and queen of the dragons had been found, it seemed. After all these many years, their bodies had been found, and Kilian was both saddened by their deaths and happy that someone had taken care that their bodies were safe. She herself had looked for them whenever she was out and about, the earth not giving her their whereabouts, and now she knew why. Emerald had hidden them away so that their forms could be safe. For all of them. “Tell the Crosbys that I wish to speak to them. All of them. And the warrior. She might know what her dragon has done for her, but I have my doubts. But I have to let them all know what this means. Not just to Chase and Emerald, but to the family as a whole. There will be others now that will come for her, and when they do, there will be hell to pay.” Sunshine asked if she could be paired with the warrior. “You will need to ask her, my child. And do not be surprised if she tells you no. Her life has been hard since she was created, and I doubt she has had a friend or helpmate at all since then.” “I will await your conversation with them before I put the question to her.” Kilian thought that a good idea. “She is the queen of the warriors as well as the queen of the dragons. When she brought them all together, do you think she knew what she had done?” “She might have, as I said, but I doubt it. The note that was left for her, where did you find it?” Sunshine told her that it had been under the king, with the two crowns that they had worn. “I would say that she didn’t know, nor does she have any idea what they have given her. And indirectly to young Chase. He will be…well, I hope he will be more receptive of it than Jason might have been before meeting his own mate. Otherwise, we might have a greater war on our hands than we have ever had.”  She didn’t think that Chase would be a problem, not with this or anything that had to do with his mate. But Kilian was as sure as she stood there, in her garden, that Emerald would be. She would be angry at a lot of things, but mostly at her dragon for putting her into such a position. Kilian was both looking forward to telling her and not. This wasn’t going to be easy, she knew it.