Darragh thought the bedding went quite well…until Brighit kneed him in the groin
A mistaken identity. A gruesome murder. Was it self-defense? Or Regicide?
Trained as a warrior, Brighit of Clan Cruadhlaoch despises the trappings and demands of womanhood…
Selfish dreams need to be set aside for the good of the clan, but a shocking murder only causes more turmoil. Especially as she stands accused. With no one else to turn to, can Brighit find escape in the arms of her new husband or will he require she reveal her inner most secrets?
Darragh of Clan MacNaughton is expected to follow his father into kingship but has little desire for the coveted title…
His willful wife is another matter. He has great desire for her. Despite her denial, he sees her womanly virtues and it sets him afire to know her, both body and soul. Will she resist his overwhelming need to possess all of her?
99 Cents Pre-Order Promotion! (Regular Price: $3.99 on Release Day)
Award-winning author Ashley York writes historical romance full of passion and intrigue set in 11th and 12th century Ireland, Scotland, and England where life was wild and survival was never guaranteed.
Whether it’s in the mysterious ring forts of Éire, the Scottish Highlands, or the battle fields of Hastings her characters fight hard and play hard. Good or evil, primary or secondary, they all evoke strong emotional responses.
Passionate about history and research, York may tweak some historical facts (like the location of the Baron’s Rebellion), but the flavor of the time is undeniable. With heroes and heroines you’ll want to read about again and again, her stories are fresh and unpredictable but still finish with a satisfying HEA.
Today we have the gorgeous cover reveal for Katy Ames’ AFTER THE STORM! Check it out and be sure to preorder your copy today!
Title: After the Storm
Author: Katy Ames
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Day: Jan 18th!
About After the Storm:
Tristan Hurst is tired of running. He’s spent every day since he was 16 trying to escape the consequences of one inexplicable, horrible night. So when his cousin buys a Caribbean resort and offers him a job away from the family firm, Tristan jumps at the chance to leave behind his intolerable father and the life he barely lives.
Tessa Armstrong has a plan and moving to a tropical island isn’t part of it. But when she lands the position of head pastry chef at a luxury hotel, she can’t pass it up. A new country, a new kitchen. And a fresh start far away from the secrets that are becoming harder to ignore.
On an island where neither expected to end up, Tessa and Tristan discover something they’ve always wanted: a safe haven. And when friendship becomes something more, they think they’ve landed in paradise.
But there’s a storm coming, and the secrets they’ve worked so hard to escape aren’t far behind. And with them, a truth that has the power to wash away a love they never dreamed to find.
A standalone contemporary romance from the author of After the Island and After the Fall.
Tessa covered her stack of crêpes with a kitchen towel then waved. “Hey. Looking for something?”
He turned towards her, hand still on his neck. His eyes hit her face.
They were wary, almost hesitant. But oh, so blue. Not deep and dark, but bright and icy. And watchful.
“Yes.” His voice came out scratchy. Unused.
“Okay…” She scanned the kitchen, checking to see if there was anything out of place. Or something that looked like it belonged to him.
Tessa was about to ask what he was looking for when he saw something behind her. He came forward and, without thought, she stepped out of his way. “Did you find what—” Tessa turned and stopped. She watched in horror as he stuck one long finger into the bowl of whipped cream.
Her cream. For her cake.
“Excuse me!” She yanked the bowl away and hugged it to her chest. And told herself not to stare when he casually pushed that finger into his mouth and sucked it clean, his eyes narrowing as he watched her hands flex.
“Give it back.”
Tessa turned, shielding it from him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Those black brows dropped, the line between them deepening. “Eating.”
“Not this, you’re not.” Tessa swallowed back a crazy laugh. This guy was nuts. Coming into her kitchen, taking her food. Sucking on his finger while looking at her like that.
With his attention on the whipped cream, the intruder took one step forward. Just one. And it practically had Tessa pinned to the counter. Her head fell almost all the way back as she watched, astonished, as he reached around her and dipped his finger—the same finger—back in, scooping up a huge dollop.
Tessa closed her eyes on a gasp. What the…!? She couldn’t believe he’d done it again. And she definitely couldn’t watch him lick it off.
“Stop,” she squeaked. Tessa glared at the black-haired giant and summoned all of the command she was used to wielding in a kitchen.
“That’s enough. You need to leave.” She looked pointedly at the door.
He didn’t pay any attention. Instead, he retrieved a drop of cream from the corner of his mouth with his tongue and propped his hip against the opposite counter. “You really should share.” He wasn’t looking at the bowl anymore. Those hypnotic eyes were on her.
Tessa wasn’t getting into a staring contest. Not with him, not on her first day. Not in her kitchen.
“You really should ask permission before taking things that don’t belong to you.”
“So I’ve been told,” he said, shoving both fists into the pockets of his dark jeans.
About Katy Ames:
Katy Ames has spent most of her life on the East Coast and hopes to spend more of it in the UK. In part, so she can indulge in her serious plaid obsession. There isn’t a teenage drama on the CW or a period British TV show she hasn’t binge-watched at least twice. And she can be persuaded to do most things with the promise of bourbon, coffee, chocolate, or a nap, not necessarily in that order. Katy is mom to a small human who has an obscene amount of energy and a blissful ability to ignore swear words, and wife to a man whose reading habits are far too serious. Katy and her family reside in Washington, D.C., a city she where never planned to live and loves so much she’d be happy to talk about for hours. Just ask.
Katy writes contemporary romances that feature heroes who are strong but not so silent, heroines who aren’t afraid to kick ass, and stories that get a little messy before they end happily ever after.
Pak Han-Yong’s day is here. An elite hacker with Unit 101 of the North Korean military, he’s labored for years to launch Project Sonnimne: a series of deadly viruses set to cripple Imperialist infrastructure.
And with one tap of his keyboard, the rewards are immediate.
Brendan Chogan isn’t a hero. He’s an out-of-work parking enforcement officer and one-time collegiate boxer trying to support his wife and children. But now there’s a foreign enemy on the shore a blackout that extends across America, and an unseen menace targeting him.
Brendan must do whatever it takes to keep his family safe.
In the wake of the cyber attacks, electrical grids fail, satellites crash to earth, and the destinies of nine strangers collide.
Strangers whose survival depends upon each other’s skills and courage.
For fans of REVOLUTION, Tom Clancy, and Thom Stark’s MAY DAY, ALL SYSTEMS DOWN is a riveting cyber war thriller which presents a threat so credible you’ll be questioning reality.
The sun rising over the Yalu River was the best part of Pak Han-yong’s day.
It began with darkness. In the distance, on the far side of the river, his homeland lay swaddled in unbreaking night. The fields and the factories, the port and the mills all slept. Then the horizon would lighten, from black to blue to gold, and the three faraway smokestacks appeared from the port city of Sinǔiju; first as silhouettes, then as gray fists, casting long shadows.
Next, the sun. Crimson light burned at the edges of red pine forests and reflected off the rice paddies. River, land, and air awoke to the glory of the Supreme Leader and the world’s chosen people. Tears sprung, as they always did, as light brought his beloved North Korea to life.
He observed it all from his desk on the tenth floor of the Shanghai Hotel in Dandong, China, across the border from the land of his ancestors.
China. After two years, Han-yong still had trouble internalizing the wealth of this nation. The Chinese lived in skyscrapers, profligate buildings of steel and glass. So different from his home city of Chongjin, where families lived modestly in single-story “harmonica homes,” so named because of their resemblance to the tiny boxes that make up the chambers of a harmonica.
On Fuchun Street, ten stories below, cars bustled. Unnecessary, extravagant. In Chongjin, nearly everyone was content to ride a bicycle or take public transit. And when they did drive, his people didn’t smoke like the Chinese. If you smoked, you wouldn’t catch the constant engine problems of your soviet-made Volga or ZIL.
Even from thirty meters above, it was apparent how the well-fed Chinese had been made soft by water that flowed reliably and electricity that ran all day. Food here wasn’t rationed by the gram. No one in China grew strong and clever from struggle and strain. There were no hardships here. And for that, he despised the Chinese, military allies or not.
“Long live the Shining Sun of North Korea,” he said. These people aren’t better than us. We have nothing to envy in the world. He lowered himself into the seat of his desk, rearranged his mouse so it squared perfectly with his keyboard, took a final sip of tea, and continued to monitor the attack that had started hours earlier.
Today, Han-yong fell into his routine, despite the enormity of the day’s events. Routine was the scaffolding that held his life together. He had woken in the earliest hours, barely speaking to his five roommates in the converted hotel room, had slipped into his pressed uniform, and spit-polished the single silver star on his shoulder. Then, after quickly wiping dust from the portrait of the Supreme Leader that hung alone on the wall, he’d moved to the common area to drink his tea and work until sunrise.
Two years of waiting, and today it has finally begun. He rubbed his hands together. Every day Han-yong worked here, visited the canteen, and bunked in his room. He rarely slept more than five hours. And never, in those two years, had he left the tenth floor of the Shanghai Hotel.
For all the differences between China and North Korea, there was only one that mattered, and it was why Han-yong was here at all. The Internet. On the North Korean side of the river, the global Internet, for all practical purposes, did not exist. There was a limited internal network that pointed to a handful of websites. But North Korea had fewer Internet protocol addresses in the whole country than could be found on a block in some Imperialist cities.
Here in China, though, the Internet reached nearly every corner of the globe. And because of that, Han-yong and the other elite hackers of Unit 101 could touch a banking system in London, a hospital network in New York City, or a data center in Tokyo.
“Junior Lieutenant Pak!” The gruff voice of the senior lieutenant shattered Han-yong’s reverie and brought him spinning from the window, springing to his feet, fingertips raised to eyebrow in salute. “You are to come with me.”
The senior lieutenant was very different from Han-yong. He was loud and assertive, tall by North Korean standards, and good-looking enough that he probably did well with women when he took leave—an amenity provided only to senior officers. But, most grating, he was a traditional military officer, untrained in online warfare, and knew just enough to stick his fingers where they didn’t belong.
Still, there was nothing to do but obey.
They waded the corridors in silence, past the desks where scores of other hackers from his unit sat immersed in a war that had begun with an attack on an Imperialist supercarrier only hours earlier. As Han-yong sauntered through the ranks of Unit 101, his pulse quickened with pride. They were the elite, plucked from grade school from across the country and enrolled in Command Automation University in Pyongyang. They had trained with the singular focus of learning to hack into secure enemy networks. They had become warriors. Instead of tanks or drones, their weapons were in code. They had mastered digital viruses, worms, the dedicated denial of service attack, trapdoors, and botnets. They had simulated cyber war amongst themselves and infiltrated foreign targets. At every stage, they had been tested and evaluated, and only the most gifted had come to wear the uniform.
The senior lieutenant stopped the door that led to the stairwell. “The colonel has ordered a meeting with you,” he said, one hand placed haughtily on his hip, not bothering to meet Han-yong’s eyes. He’d assumed the pose of a Manchurian guerrilla fighter from the war movies. “You will speak when spoken to and answer all inquiries in full.”
Han-yong couldn’t help himself. “Sir, what inquiries?”
“About the interconnect logic bombs,” the senior lieutenant snapped, unlocking the door. The stairwell beyond was devoid of decoration, except for a creamy swirl on the vinyl tile, like the pattern on the lid of a paint can. “Hurry now.” And he started up the stairs, feet tapping a marching rhythm.
The Imperialists of North America had many weaknesses, but Han-yong had been ordered to focus on the power grid. The system was a relic of the 1960s, set up with no thoughts for security, but instead as a way to balance the supply and demand for electrical power across vast swaths of territory. In their arrogance, the Americans had organized just five power-grid interconnections across the entire country, electrically tied together and operating at the same frequency.
While it may have so far proven a sufficient way to balance loads—power companies with little demand could transfer electricity to areas with greater demand—the reality was that a single significant disturbance could collapse all of the systems tied to the interconnection. And Han-yong did not have the means to cause just a single disturbance.
He had the means to cause thousands.
The project was code-named Sonnimne, after the smallpox gods of Korean mythology that long ago crossed the Yalu River. It was both a nod to the new pestilence they would unleash and a reference to how the plague had already spread in secret, machine to machine, substation to substation.
Han-yong had planted logic bombs—malware that could be triggered in response to an event—in substations across the United States. It had taken months of steadfast work. The difficulty was writing the combustible code within a Trojan application in a way that was at once difficult to detect, easy to spread, and powerful once deployed. While the wait and the work had been excruciating, the payoff would be enormous. And imminent.
They reached the top of the stairs, and the senior lieutenant produced a key to open the gray-painted industrial steel door. The eleventh floor was reserved for high-ranking officers, their quarters, and computer servers that required additional security.
Sweat beaded on Han-yong’s brow. The colonel ranked just three steps below a general, and was likely the most senior military official Han-yong would ever speak to in his career. A slipup here might find him dishonored and discharged, or eating rats in a reeducation camp.
They rounded the first corner through the carpeted corridor, where Han-yong noticed, with more than a little satisfaction, that the smell of mildew pervaded every bit as strongly as in the floor where the junior officers worked. The senior lieutenant pulled up short in front of a door with a brass room number in the Western style. Before they could knock, a man inside bellowed, “Junior Lieutenant Pak Han-yong. Come in. Come in.”
The voice was not what he’d expected. Friendly. Jovial, even. Han-yong poked his chin through the doorway.
Nothing about the scene that greeted them was as he had imagined. The hotel suite was gaudy by North Korean standards. The walls, which should have been bare except for the requisite photograph of the Supreme Leader, were decorated with paintings of mountains and birds in a style that Han-yong vaguely recognized as Japanese.
The room was not sleeping quarters, but an office far larger than the room Han-yong shared with the other soldiers. At the center of the space, a heavy-grain oak desk displayed unrecognizable artifacts: three swords on a wooden rack, an unfolded fan with red tassels and a painted orange sun, a clay jar in the shape of a boar, and a half-dozen other oddities that Han-yong had never seen. They were beautiful, and he felt guilty for admiring the work of foreigners.
The colonel himself was also a surprise. A crisp military uniform did nothing to hide his bulk. No one Han-yong had ever met carried more than a few pounds of extra weight. How could they, when even prison guards and soldiers, who received the best rations in the country, still lived off just enough to fill their bellies?
“Junior Lieutenant,” the colonel began, leaning back in his chair, “your commanding officer tells me we are ready to move forward with project Sonnimne. And I understand that you have implanted code throughout the US system of interconnects?”
“Not exactly, sir.” Han-yong hesitated, unsure of how much technical detail to provide. “I created a zero-day exploit. A new kind of virus, sir. It uses entirely original code.” The colonel raised an eyebrow. “That means it can’t be detected by malware filters,” Han-yong continued. “The virus triggered a patch update in the operating systems of the high-voltage distribution facilities and spread throughout.”
The colonel inclined forward, his chair squealing under the weight. “What do you mean by ‘spread throughout?’ How many facilities have the virus?”
Han-yong paused, careful to give the correct information. “All of them, sir. All of the distribution facilities in the United States now have the virus.”
The senior lieutenant let out a dry cough. Otherwise, for several seconds no one moved or spoke. Han-yong shifted his weight between feet.
“But … that must be thousands,” the colonel said.
A trickle of sweat trickled down Han-yong’s brow toward his eye, but he ignored it. “Yes, sir. There are over nine thousand electric-generating facilities and over three-hundred thousand kilometers of high-voltage lines spread between them. These substations alone carry seventy percent of the most-hated nation’s electricity. They all have the virus.” The sweat droplet fell into his eye. He blinked it away.
“Do you mean to say that we have a virus that can wipe out seventy percent of the American electrical grid?”
“No, sir. When the majority of the US power grid goes down, the lower-voltage lines won’t be able to sustain the added load volume. They will topple under the stress. This virus will wipe out one-hundred percent of the American electrical grid.”
The colonel’s mouth hung open as if he were about to speak, but couldn’t, while the senior lieutenant wore a self-satisfied smirk that reminded Han-yong of a least weasel with a bellyful of stolen eggs.
The colonel’s jaw tightened below a layer of fat. “If the virus is dispersed so completely, then why has nothing happened? The lights are still on in the West.”
Now it was the senior lieutenant’s turn to explain. “The virus has two stages. The first is the spreading stage, which is only recently complete. The second stage is activation, when the logic bombs that have been hidden in the code will deploy. We are ready to deploy that on your order, sir. Today, if desired. Along with the hundreds of other attacks Unit 101 has prepared.”
Han-yong nodded, proud that his efforts fit so well with the whole. Each team member had his own projects designed to attack global enemies; separate and equally deadly projects to take out Imperialist infrastructure. Some cyber soldiers had built malware to disable railways. Some had built code to choke airline traffic. Still others had built viruses to cripple the Imperialist military communications.
“At your command, we can activate the logic bombs with a keystroke,” the senior lieutenant continued. “The virus will cause the power grid to overheat and self-immolate. I have no way of knowing how long it would take to repair, but every time the Americans try to rebuild the lines, we can bring them down again.”
At that, the colonel laughed heartily, the fat of his jowls jiggling with mirth. “You both are too young to appreciate the irony in what we are about to do. You see, when the Soviet Union collapsed decades ago, our system also faltered. The subsidies that had sustained us fell away, and our power plants rusted into disuse. Our streets went dark. And many of our cities are still without power, as you know. The fatherland is still in the dark.”
Han-yong nodded. All too well, he knew of the humiliations his countrymen had suffered under the sanctions of their enemies.
“But our time has come,” the colonel continued. “Like the thousand-li horse, we are too swift to be mounted, too elegant to be cowed. At last, it has all come together. The fight has only begun, and already the enemy falters. So now we will strike at the heart. Today we will lash out with this and everything we have. This is our chance to repay, blindness for blindness, a world that sent us into blackness.”
About the Author
Sam has worked as a wildland firefighter, journalist, and owner of a mid-sized marketing agency. Though he’s lived in France and Spain, his heart belongs to Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, Tehra, two wonderful children, and a messy cat that keeps them from owning anything nice.
Today we have the gorgeous cover reveal for ROAD TO EUGENICA by AM Rose! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy February 5th!
Title: Road to Eugenica
Author: AM Rose
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Release Date: February 5TH!
About Road to Eugenica:
Two dimensions – And the girl who connects them.
Yesterday, Drea Smith couldn’t do anything spectacular—even walking and texting at the same time was a challenge. But today, she suddenly has more answers than Google, can speak and understand numerous languages, and she can fight. Like a boss.
Drea has no idea where her encyclopedic knowledge has come from, but she’ll take it when she discovers someone out there knows her secret and wants her badly. And that they’ve been searching for her since she was born.
Since she was created.
With the help of her best friend Dylan, who just wants to keep her safe, and Maddox, a mysterious new boy who is prepared to get her answers, Drea will have to push her new skills to their limit as she uncovers nothing is quite what it seems.
“Right on. I’m Maddox.” He extends his hand toward me.
Right on? Who says that? And who shakes hands unless they’re meeting an adult? A guy with perfect hair and bright white teeth does. And he’s smiling at me. Waiting for me to say something, do something. Crap. I extend my hand. Please don’t let it be sweaty. “Hi, I’m Alexandrea.”
As soon as he takes it, something inside me ignites. I barely passed chemistry, but it’s the only word I can use to describe the feeling. It’s not a connection, it’s something deeper. Stronger. More powerful. Like energy maybe. And it’s hot like fire. I pull my hand away and grip my fist to my chest.
Maddox Georgas has a beautiful smile, model worthy. But when he sees my confused expression, it falters some. “Everything okay?”
“Just…I’m not much of a Shakespeare scholar.” The warmth that ignited my skin when we shook hands is gone now. It was nerves, that’s all. “You might regret this.”
His smile widens again as he sweeps an arm toward the door. “I won’t.”
About AM Rose:
A.M. Rose is the author of Road to Eugenica, and writer of young adult novels of all genres as long as they have a hint of romance, the drinker of too much coffee (with way too much coconut creamer), and lover of all carbohydrates.
Currently, she lives in Houston, TX with her three boys (yes, her husband is in that count) and three cats. When she isn’t writing about swoony boys or ways for her MC to get into trouble, she is an avid reader, critiquer, (is that even a word?) and trampoline enthusiast.
A.M. Rose is a graduate from San Diego State University with a BA in Communication and a minor in underwater basket weaving. (Okay, maybe not the basket weaving part.)
Today we have the cover reveal for The Clover Chapel by Devney Perry! Check out the gorgeous cover and be sure to preorder your copy now!
Title: The Clover Chapel
Author: Devney Perry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Day: May 30th
About The Clover Chapel:
She took a dare and fell in love. Truth would have been the smarter choice.
After years of living under her father’s thumb, Emmeline is ready to break free. She’s abandoned her life as a New York socialite to follow her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher in a small, wholesome town. Seeing the man that nearly broke her was absolutely not what she had hoped to find in Prescott, Montana.
Nick hasn’t seen his Emmy in nine years, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten a thing about the woman he loves. After just one blissful night as man and wife, he gave her up, sacrificing his own happiness to keep her safe—far away from him. But the moment she walks back into his lonely life is the moment he decides never to let her go again. He won’t waste his second chance. All he has to do is win back Emmeline’s heart, keep her safe from the shadows in his past and prove to her that taking a wager on him is a sure bet.
“You asked me back then if I believed in fate. I didn’t until I met you. And I’ve spent nine years thinking I’d never see your face again. But fate brought you back into my life and I’m not going to mess it up again.”
I struggled to swallow the lump in my throat and speak. “You left me.”
“Please believe I did it for a good reason. And not a day has gone by when I haven’t regretted it.” He stroked the side of my trapped hand with his thumb.
“Why?” My eyes filled with tears the second the word passed my lips.
“I promise I’ll explain. Just not tonight,” he said.
My heart sank and I sagged into the heavily padded bench seat. This was his test and he had failed miserably. I didn’t want a deflection, a promise to explain later. He could disappear tomorrow for another nine years for all I knew.
“No,” I said. “No chances. You could have found me. You could have explained. You’ve lost your chance.”
His jaw clenched and the muscle on his forehead twitched. If he actually thought a couple of sweet sentences—which lacked an apology, I might add—would have me falling all over him again, he was sorely mistaken.
“I stayed away from you because I figured you would have moved on. But you’re not happy. I can see it plain as day. Give me a chance?”
I looked to the table. “No. I want a divorce.”
“You won’t get one.”
“What?” I gasped, my eyes snapping up to his.
“No divorce. I’ll contest it.”
“Do you really think challenging me and my legal team is a good idea, Nick? You’ll be wasting both our time and money.”
“I don’t care. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
“Is this about my money? Is that what you want? Then fine. Name your price. Just let me go.”
“It’s not about your fucking money. It never was. But I’m not letting you go until I get my chance.”
About the Author:
Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.