*BOOK BLITZ* – Valkyrie by Kitty Thomas

Valkyrie by: Kitty Thomas

Dark-ish Standalone/Norse Gods 

Tropes: enemies-to-lovers, forced proximity, fated mates, strong heroine, growly alpha male, shifters, berserkers, witches, dark elements

Blurb

ODIN:

On the day I met the witch, she prophesied my death.

She said it was fate and couldn’t be changed.

I’ve gathered my warriors. I’ve laid my traps. I’ve moved my pieces across the board.

She is the piece that unlocks everything, I know she is.

And she’s wrong. Everything can be changed.

FREYJA:

A powerful god seeks to destroy my people unless I go live with him.

“You don’t have to marry him. You don’t even have to sleep with him. He just needs a witch.”

I’ve been told this multiple times, but I don’t trust this man.

He’s keeping something very important from me… and he’s such a charmer.

I may allow him into my bed, but I can never let him into my heart.

NOTE: This is a standalone. 

TEASER

Valkyrie (c) Copyright 2022 by Kitty Thomas. All rights reserved. Excerpt used with permission of the author.

“I want to talk about the mark,” I say, skimming right past all of that. If he thinks he can distract me or pacify me with ice cream and cherries like a small child, he’s crazy.

“We don’t need to talk about it. It doesn’t concern you,” Odin says.

My spoon makes a loud clanking sound against the bowl. “Excuse me, but a glowing magical handprint on my throat one hundred percent does concern me.”

“No it doesn’t. You don’t have to worry about it. It’ll go away on its own.”

“I thought you said it couldn’t be undone and that it’s beyond you,” I say, mocking his overly serious tone of only moments ago.

“It can’t be undone and it is beyond me. I have no control over that mark, but I do know it will fade on its own as long as no further steps are taken.”

“But what does it mean? And steps for what?” He’s not going to slither off the hook that easily.

“I have control of the berserker. You don’t have to worry.”

“The berserker? Is that the name of that thing I saw you shift into?”

He levels me with a hard, serious look. “You haven’t met the berserker.”

“Oh Odin, teach me to be scary like you,” I singsong.

“Little girl, you have no idea the fire you play with.”

“I am fire.”

He considers me for a moment and nods. “I think that’s a fair description. You’re also a valkyrie. And it’s clear you didn’t know that before today.”

“What’s a valkyrie? Or does that not concern me, either?”

He just stares at me for a long time. Only this time it’s not lust, it’s a power move. I bet all his little underlings look away. I bet he thinks I’m about to look away. I don’t. I just hold his gaze.

“Can you tell me the rules? Is blinking allowed or do I lose if I blink?”

“You are the most infuriating…”

“I don’t have to be here. You could have chosen to leave the Vanir alone. I don’t even know why I’m here. What do you need me for, Odin? Besides the obvious.”

The one thing I’ve been able to ascertain that he wants from me is the same thing every man wants from me, and Odin hasn’t disguised his desire to have me in his bed.

He leans closer, speaking each word slowly, clearly, and precisely as if I need this all spelled out again. “You signed a contract… with your blood… and if you think I’m letting you out of it or that you can annoy me to death…”

“I may have to stay in Asgard with you, but I don’t have to stay at this table. And since dinner is over and you seem to have no intention of telling me anything worth hearing, I’ll take my leave.”

I stand and turn to go, but his hand wraps around my wrist, stopping me. Just this simple touch sends a harsh bolt of desire spiraling through me.

His voice is low and calm when he speaks. “The mark is a partial mating claim. My berserker thinks you’re his fated mate.”

I whirl back around at this news. “I’m sorry… what? Oh, no, absolutely not… I am not going to be mated to… that thing… or to you for that matter.”

“That’s right. You’re not. I have control of the berserker. I don’t know how long it will take for the mark to fade but it will fade if the mating remains incomplete. I’ve never marked anyone, but with most berserkers it’s two or three weeks.”

I realize he’s still holding my wrist, his thumb softly stroking the back of my hand.

“Why does the berserker think I’m his mate?”

“Because you’re a valkyrie.”

“I’m not going to ask you again what a valkyrie is.” I’m tired of his childish games.

He sighs. “Valkyries work for me. They collect the bravest fallen warriors in the human world for an army I’m building.”

“The army the Vanir fought?”

“There were a few berserkers in that fight, but no, it’s a different army, for a different purpose.”

He’s still stroking the back of my hand. I’m not even sure if he realizes he’s doing it. But I can think of nothing else.

“I don’t work for you,” I say.

“Oh really? You signed a contract… in blood…”

He seems prepared to pull this speech out at my every protest. “I meant, in my capacity as a valkyrie… I don’t exist to serve you.” I don’t even know that I believe his valkyrie line. And it does sound like a line, probably just more of his seduction tactics.

He chuckles. “I’ve never met a valkyrie that was also a goddess. Maybe you’re supposed to lead the valkyries, the way I command the berserkers.”

“I think you should let go of me, now,” I say, holding his gaze.

He jerks his hand away as if burned. His shocked expression tells me he didn’t even realize he was stroking me like that for so long.

“Sure, you’ve got control of the berserker. No need to worry.”

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AUTHOR BIO

KITTY THOMAS writes dark stories that play with power and have unconventional HEAs. She began publishing in early 2010 with her bestselling COMFORT FOOD and is considered one of the original authors of the dark romance subgenre.

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*BOOK BLITZ* – In the Shadow of a Hoax, by Maci Aurora (Fareview Fairytales #2), includes excerpt.

Publication date: January 24th, 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Synopsis

In the Kingdom of Kaloma, a woman is forced to rely on a man to “keep her” and is forbidden from maintaining anything of her own. It’s the law.

In the remote village of Sevens, at the northernmost point of the kingdom, there lives a family with four daughters and a son, toiling day in and day out together, hopeful a treaty with the boarding kingdom of Jast might change things.

When one daughter—at risk of being imprisoned for fighting back—hides away in the Whitling Woods. She stumbles upon a dying man and despite the risk to herself, chooses to save him. Only who he is has the power to change everything…

Tarley Fareview, idealistic and stubborn, does what she can to support herself in spite of an unjust Kaloma law. When she fights back after being attacked, she flees into the woods disguised as a boy. While in hiding, she discovers a dying man and must decide if she risks her life to save him. Unable to walk away, Tarley chooses to intervene and works to save the stranger, only little does she know that by doing so she’ll also risk the heart she promised herself she’d never give to anyone.

When the Crown Prince of Jast, Lachlan Nikolas—forced by the king to attend treaty negotiations with the kingdom of Kaloma in disguise—is attacked, his horse bolts, and they both careen over a cliff, falling to their deaths in a raging river below. Only, miracle of miracles, Lachlan doesn’t perish, and instead is given a second chance at life, but at a price. When he wakes, he’s not only been stripped of his clothes but also his identity. Saved by a strange woman—in a terrible disguise because she looks nothing like a boy—Lachlan must learn very quickly how to survive in a world where he isn’t a prince anymore and with zero skills other than his entitlement and his charm. Unsure who to trust, Lachlan must reinvent himself, learn how to survive, open his heart to discover the truth about worthiness, and discover what it means to sacrifice one’s self for true love.

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Excerpt

It was nearing sunrise on the fifth day. The twilight teasing the flap of the tent. The birds were only beginning to sing, and though the music of the birds waking and the river beyond were usually her salve to get her moving, her eyes were so heavy, and her body weighted with exhaustion. Her mind and senses lulled toward sleep by the sound of Ollie’s clear breathing and the song of the birds, so she shut her eyes.

Just for a moment, she told herself. Ollie’s safe. I’ll rest. Just for a moment, she thought and slipped into the rest of the darkness.

“Tarley?”

She stretched her body, uncurling it, and basking in the gloriousness of warmth and rest. Her hand dropped against something unforgiving, her head pressed against a wall. She moaned, disoriented, and grabbed hold of the mound under her quilt trying to figure out what had crawled into bed with her.

“I’ve always enjoyed a good fondling, but I prefer it being reciprocal.”

Tarley’s eyes snapped open at the foreign sound—a man’s voice with just the hint of an accent with which she wasn’t familiar. Skin. That’s what her eyes focused on. Lots of it. An arm. A shoulder. A scruffy jaw in need of a shave as she raised her gaze. Full lips arched with a smile, the bottom slightly fuller though the pronounced arches of the upper. He was grinning, and his eyes—a myriad of colors—were darkened with a ring of deep green at the edges.

Realizing she was flush against him, holding him, Tarley jerked back, scrambling to the opposite side of the ten, only there wasn’t enough room to maneuver. She regretted the quick movement, her body protesting with aches and pains of not enough sleep.

“Ollie. I–” She couldn’t meet his gaze.

“You were asleep.”

Her cheeks heated realizing she’d been holding him in her sleep. Holding onto him the night she’d been trying to save him flashed in her mind reminding her she’d held him before. To save him, she snapped at her inner self.

Her eyes danced across the quilt until she found the bravery to meet his gaze.

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AUTHOR BIO & LINKS

Romance author.

Lover of stories.

Maci Aurora has been writing stories since she was a child. When she was eleven, she fell in love with reading Sunfire Historical Romances about girls who made a difference in their lives and still fell in love. In high school, a friend introduced her to Lavyrle Spencer and Judith McNaught, and from there, her writing journey was cemented in telling stories about love. Having already published many novels (all of which are threaded with romance as upper YA and New Adult titles) under the pen name, CL Walters, Maci Aurora wanted to write stories that offered the same attention to story and characters but with additional steam.

Maci writes in Hawaiʻi where she lives with her husband, their children, and their fur-babies.

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*REVIEW* – Broken Limits (The Limit Book 3), by Marissa Farrar and S. R. Jones

#RomanticSuspense #ReverseHarem #WhyChoose #DarkRomance

Blurb

It’s all fun and games…until someone gets hurt.

It was meant to be a game. A way of surviving and gaining some money, but somewhere along the line emotions got involved, and I lost all perspective.

They did too. No matter what they might like to pretend, those four troubled men got as swept up in the dangerous allure as I did. They pushed me to my limits and beyond, but I pushed them, too.
One of them couldn’t take it though, and our pact fell apart.

I ran. I ran fast and far but instead of running to safety, I raced straight into the arms of danger.
Who will save me now?

Are they missing me? Do my broken, messed up men think about me as much as I think about them?
My new captor thinks he holds all the cards, but my time on the island has taught me how to play his depraved games, and I will fight with all I have.

My Review

Action packed and emotionally intense conclusion – 5 stars!

Following on from the absolute doozy of an ending in the previous book, I was itching to find out what was in store for Honor and her men. I was not disappointed – Broken Limits is an action-packed and emotionally intense read which kept me on the edge of my seat. To gain maximum enjoyment from the read however, I recommend reading the previous books first.

In this, the final instalment in the trilogy, Honor finds herself held captive. She hopes that her men will realise she is missing and that they are able to rescue her before her old nemesis manages to enact whatever nefarious plan he has in mind for her. Throughout the series I have enjoyed how Honor’s character has grown in strength and it is this strength that is put to the test during the shocking events that play out.

I have also enjoyed the emotional journeys Honor’s men, Asher, Brody, Wilder and Rafferty, have gone on as they come to realise just what Honor means to them. In this book I just loved how they step up to the challenge of her disappearance, whilst grappling with a gamut of emotions and soul searching, including guilt, fear, and anxiety.

The plot is suspenseful and fast-paced, with scenes of violence, non-consent and references to abuse and I was itching for a HEA. It also contains a number of twists, as Honor’s past and that of her men converge before it reaches its satisfying conclusion.

Highly recommended for fans of the genre.

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*REVIEW* – RENT GIRL: A DARK MAFIA/CARTEL INTERRACIAL CAPTIVITY ROMANCE, BY NENIA CAMPBELL

#darkromance #interracial #mafiaromance #suspense #captiveromance

Blurb

(He was the one thing she couldn’t run from.)

Beatrice Arsenault has spent the last ten years running. She’s changed her looks and changed her name and lives her life off the books or under the table, constantly looking over her shoulder for the one person she knows is looking back.

(She’s the one thing he could never leave.)

Dominic Xiang is a name that strikes fear into the hearts of hardened criminals. He runs an empire of vice and blood, which he rules with an iron fist. But when he met Beatrice ten years ago, he had just enough of a heart left to break.

(If they don’t bury the past, they’ll bury each other.)

Now he’s found her again, and she’s dancing on the edge of his knife. Whether it cuts her ties or ends her life is all up to him . . .

My Review

Dark, intense and more than a little crazy! 5 stars

Rent Girl by Nenia Campbell is an unapologetic dark read containing Dominic Xiang, a hot but crazy villain with few if ANY redeeming qualities, and Beatrice Arsenault, a troubled heroine whom he sets his sights on. He is the LAST person she needs to be with but unfortunately for her, as soon as he notices her there is no escape. The phrase you can run but you can’t hide certainly came to mind when I read this book!

I love the dark romance genre which allows the writer and reader to delve deep into the psyche of bad men such as Dominic. His world is not a pretty one and this book contains scenes of violence, murder and abuse, not to mention morally questionable behaviour towards the heroine. Although I was shocked at some scenes and at times felt that Beatrice would be better off without Dominic, the author slowly but surely turned it round and as the story progressed my dark heart started cheering this complex couple on. I was SO immersed in the interplay between the couple and the wider characters and plot that I read it in little more than a day.

The book has two timelines, one after the couple first meet and the other ten years later when Beatrice’s luck runs out and Dominic, intent on revenge, finds her once again. Dual timelines do not always work for me, but I found it done really well here and it helped illustrate how the dynamics between the couple changed over time and how they grew as characters.

Beatrice finds herself held captive and consumed by Dominic for much of the read and is revolted by his world. The author does an excellent job of showing us just how deep this revulsion goes. I loved how despite being powerless she stood up to him as much as she could. I enjoyed her character growth and Dominic’s realisation that perhaps she means more to him than he thought.

Just how far will Dominic go when it comes to punishing Beatrice for her deceit? Has he ANY capacity for forgiveness, love, or redemption? Will Beatrice ever be more than the rent girl/whore she sees herself? Can she love a monster? What will happen to her once he grows tired of her, especially given how he deals with his enemies and those who get in his way… These questions and more buzzed around my head during the read.

I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as the book approached its finale, and I was a quivering mess as various chickens came home to roost for the couple. I loved the ending. It was just perfect.

Recommended for fans of the genre.

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ARC REVIEW – Her Wicked Scot (The Highland Warrior Chronicles Book 4), Christina Phillips

#HistoricalRomance #EnemiestoLovers #HighlandRomance #MarriageofConvenience

Blurb

A warrior rumored to have no heart. An ice princess, who has vowed never to love again. A forced marriage that could break them both…

Sent into Pictland to discover the identity of a desperate assassin, Ewan MacKinnon fights his fascination with the aloof princess, Briana. Although he wants nothing more than to take her into his arms, he won’t taint her with the curse that has blighted him all his life.

After her first disastrous marriage, Briana is determined to dedicate her life in service to Pictland and her beloved goddess. But her goddess is elusive, sending only visions of a splintered future–a future that is tied irrevocably to the one man she fears could shatter her heart forever. The enemy of her people, Scots warrior Ewan MacKinnon.

Coerced into a marriage of convenience, Briana and Ewan battle both duty and desire as political intrigue tightens its noose around them. But with the assassin edging ever closer they must forsake the shackles of their past and risk their fragile love for a chance of surviving an ultimate betrayal.

My Review

Delicious Enemies to Lovers Historical Romance with a hint of magic! 5 stars

Christina Phillips weaves a delicious enemies-to-lovers romance full of passion, political powerplay and danger in Her Wicked Scot, number 4 in her Highland Warrior Chronicles.

Highland warrior Ewan MacKinnon and Pictish princess Brianna are unexpectedly thrown together by the political machinations of their time. Scarred by past events in their lives they both have their own internal battles to overcome before they have any chance of their union leading to a HEA. I loved how their relationship unfolds and also how the author portrays the danger swirling around them, a danger that Brianna, touched by the goddess, perceives in visions, visions which she struggles to comprehend but which tie her to Ewan, the enemy of her people. The path to their future is not an easy one.

I enjoyed the undeniable attraction the couple have for each other, illustrated in their words and actions, not to mention the passionate scenes they enjoy together. I particularly loved how protective Ewan is of Brianna and how she, although mistrustful, slowly places her faith in him. The way the author portrays their growing feelings for each other is both realistic and moving. Yet trust is fragile as events and the actions of others test them at critical moments in the story.

Just who is the real Ewan MacKinnon? Can Brianna trust him or will he betray her and her heart? As for Ewan, can he protect Brianna from danger, even if he feels the greatest danger is himself? Just what is the meaning of the goddess’ visions?

I was glued to my Kindle throughout as the story unfolded, enjoying reading about how Brianna and Ewan grew both as individuals and as a couple, against the wider political issues at play. The book can certainly be read as a standalone, as each book in the series feature a different couple, but I feel the reader will gain more from reading the series in order. I am very much looking forward to future books in the series.

Please note, a copy of the book was given to me by the author and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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*RELEASE BLITZ* – THE PROPOSAL LAUGHBOX, BY JULIA KENT

OUT NOW—The Proposal Laughbox (Laughbox Boxed Sets, Book 2) by Julia Kent (@jkentauthor)

Release date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance

Cover Designer:  Angela Jenks

Retailer Description:

The Proposal Laughbox contains THREE full-length novels and TWO novellas – ONE ALL NEW! – from New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Julia Kent’s series.

Who doesn’t love a funny, heartwarming proposal? Diamond engagement rings, flowers, candy, romantic dinners — it’s all in here in rom com style.

Julia Kent’s madcap style, that is.

Future brides swallow engagement rings, paparazzi crash tender moments when billionaires pop the question, mistaken identity causes mayhem, small-town lumberjacks ask their girfriends for their hands in marriage, and rock stars make grand gestures on New Year’s Eve.

Laugh, swoon, blush and let your imagination heat up as you read across varying series, different heat levels, but all connected by love.

This boxed set includes:

Shopping for a Billionaire’s Fiancee

Random Acts of New Year

Shopping for a CEO’s Fiancee (A USA Today bestseller)

Random Acts of Yes

and an ALL NEW novella, Love You Fiancee, featuring Kell and Rachel from Love You Right, as Kell pops the question during the I Will Always Love You festival in his hometown of “Love You,” Maine – where every day is Valentine’s Day.

Sink into five fun books that leave you with all the feels, loads of laughs, and strange looks from people around you as you read, giggle, and fall in love.

Note: each of these books can be read as a standalone, but they are part of larger series. All of my Laughbox boxed sets are designed to give readers a taste of my books, centered on a specific concept (in this case, proposals and engagements). Full disclosure for readers.

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Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 21 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French, German, and Italian, with more titles releasing in the future.

From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).

She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.

She loves to hear from her readers by email at julia@jkentauthor.com, on Twitter @jkentauthor, on Facebook at @jkentauthor, and on Instagram @jkentauthor. Visit her at http://jkentauthor.com

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Excerpt from Love You Fiancee

His lemur was limp.

And it was all his fault.

His and his alone.

That’s what Kell got for ordering a lemur costume online instead of finding a store and trying one on, or having one made to order. Two-day shipping was the biggest selling point, and though he’d bought the most expensive option, there hadn’t exactly been a plethora of choices.

Of all the bungles: He’d planned his marriage proposal down to the last detail, but forgot about the lemur costume until it was almost too late.

Leo the Limp Lemur would have to do.

Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

*REVIEW* – The Last Dominant, Eris Adderly

#scifithriller #scifiromance #powerexchange

Adult/18+ read

I am a member of a lot of different Facebook groups and this author came highly recommended by a fellow reader. I can’t for the life of me remember which of the many groups her recommendation was in, but if by any chance you are that person and you just happen to be reading this post THANK YOU SO MUCH! I absolutely LOVED this book and have now found a new author I can add to my list of ‘must reads’  – her backlist looks amazing too!

Blurb

“I can have whatever I want. I own you.”

Qillian Wehr is the last of his kind. A bloodline of unspeakable power.
To the Imbrian government, he is a weapon. A last resort in their age-old war with Rhyolus.
His leaders want insurance. They want an heir.
 They need a genetic match.
 And now, they’ve found her.

Exotic. Stunning. Lethal.
 Rushkah Ekhayl would murder Qillian in his sleep if she got the chance. She’s Rhyolusian. She is his enemy.

The Last Dominant is a scorching enemies-to-lovers romance where a taste of treason unlocks desires of submission and control. For mature readers only.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy sci-fi thriller contains elements of power exchange.

My Review – Super-hot and emotionally charged read!

This is a super-hot enemies to lovers sci-fi romance, containing a solid plot and sizzling scenes of power exchange and I found it to be a fabulous read. The powerful Imbrian Qillian is coveted as a valuable weapon in his people’s war with their enemies. He is tasked by his political masters to effectively breed Rushkah, a genetically compatible captive Rhyolusian, to ensure another of his ilk, and the evolving relationship between them is full of passion as the couple navigate their predicament.

Qillian and Rushkah are both dominants at heart, which makes for a fascinating read, full of conflict as the pair try and assert control over one another. Despite his strength and undeniable power, Qillian is just as much a pawn as Rushkah, and I found it fascinating how he deals with the situation. What starts off as mutual hate, distrust and loathing slowly transforms into mutual respect and more as the couple are closeted together by order of the Imbrian leaders who have their own methods of compulsion… 

The way these two characters rub each other up the wrong way is just so entertaining – Qillian is at heart a grumpy archivist, used to his own company and is frustrated by the very presence and actions of Rushkah, who seeks to get under his skin and defy him at every turn.  I could not put this book down as I was so invested in what this couple were going through and what would happen if and when the bloodline had been secured. The read contains some violence, as a number of powerful Imbrians view Rushkah and her people as little more than animals. 

This page-turning read is recommended for sci-fi readers who like engaging characters, great worldbuilding and intense and smoking hot lovemaking scenes.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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