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November 30, 2013

Braine Reviews: Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye + Giveaway

Series: Hard Ink 1
Format: Print ARC
Read Chapter 1
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Avon
Source: Publisher
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Purchase: 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.

Tall, dark, and lethal...

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome--pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge...

Post turkey gobbling, Laura Kaye's HARD AS IT GETS  helped me snap out of my tryptophan coma. It was a great balance of romance and suspense, it's fast paced, tight with tension, sizzling with passion and hot smex. This is my first LKaye read and I promise you, it won't be the last. I love her writing voice and she has an easy way of telling a story. Even on those tricky action packed scenes, she wrote it in a vivid but uncomplicated way which made my palms sweat and had me gripping the poor paperback tight. Gripping!

So what's the story about? The main vein of HARD AS IT GETS is deep going back to Nick Rixley's days in Afghanistan, serving in the military under the leadership of Rebecca Merritt's dad so there's some history by association between the two. Fast forward to the present. Becca's brother, Charlie, is missing and he left instructions for her to seek Nick's help. If not for his insatiable curiosity and instant attraction to Becca, Nick would've left the case alone. As Nick and Becca continue their search for Charlie, the plot gets curioser and curioser involving gangs, dirty cops, drug trade, millions of dollars and a connection to her family that Becca wasn't expecting. 
Her honesty, her touch, her very presence settled a blanket of comfort around him like nothing else had his past year. And he wanted to wrap himself up in it and never let go. How the hell that worked without getting hurt at his hands, without his bitterness and anger weighing her down, he didn't know. - Nick on Becca
I love romantic suspense, it keeps my heart thumping non stop from the sexual tension, bedroom gymnastics and suspenseful action happening alternately. As the plot gets more complicated and dangerous, Nick, Becca and their ragtag team's off-the-books covert operation has that high velocity feel to it that's associated with spy movies or vigilante shows. And as if that's not enough to keep your heart thumping, our two lovebirds are relentless in as far as sexing up the story. Nothing is platonic between these two, even a simple lesson in boxing turned into one hell of a show it made me look up Oscar dela Hoya's old boxing videos on YouTube! Hubba! Hubba!

The list of secondary characters is quite expansive but not dizzying. Adding several key persons in a story where they share several attributes can be quite tricky. If not done well, readers might get confused or fail to differentiate one person to the next. LKaye managed to steer clear of that and gave us individualized characters. My favorite supporting cast would be Jeremy, Nick's brother, and Marz, the computer genius of the team. Jeremy is just a goof ball and Marz is a beefed -up, sexy geek. And I love beefed-up sexy geeks.

HARD AS IT GETS is a fab series introduction. Here I thought I was going to read a sappy, angst filled romance story between a tattoo artist and a walk-in client. Well I sort of got that and so much more. I love the alternating layers of romance and suspense, I love the colorful cast of characters and more importantly, the plot is fantastic. It build gradually until it turned into this monster of a conflict one has to wonder how is Nick's team going to solve this? So yeah, the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger and I can hardly wait for book 2 because I need answers to these questions LKaye herself wrote in:
Who or what is WCE? How was Merritt connected to them? To Church? What were they looking for when they ransacked both [Becca & Charlie] your houses? Who was the "company" tonight at the club? What do these codes go to? When will they strike again because you know they will. - Beckett



10 Reasons to Fall in Love with 
Hero Nick Rixey

I’m very excited to be celebrating the release of my twelfth novel, Hard As It Gets¸ the first in my new super sexy contemporary romance series called Hard Ink. The series has hot, alpha, prior military guys, a tattoo shop setting, an edgy suspense plot, a super steamy romance between hero Nick Rixey and heroine Becca Merritt, and a great bromance.

One of those hot, alpha guys is Nick Rixey, the hero of Hard As It Gets. Nick was second-in-command of her Army Special Forces unit before his commander’s black op went back and injured or killed most of the team. A year later, Nick’s out of the Army on an undeserved other-than-honorable discharge and nursing some deep physical and emotional wounds. I absolutely loved writing Nick’s character, and here are some reasons why I think you just might fall in love with him, too:

Nick has ink. I love tattoos on guys, including in my fiction! And Nick has quite a bit of ink, starting with that awesome tribal on his shoulder on the cover. You’ll get to explore what the rest are along with heroine Becca as the book unfolds! Yummy!

Nick does ink. One of the things I loved about Nick was that he had all these hard edges, but then he had this artistic side. Nick has always drawn and, as part owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, he’s learned how to do it with ink and a tattoo gun. I love the combination! And there’s a really sexy scene where Nick draws a little something with Becca!

He boxes. Jeans. Bare feet. No shirt. Boxing gloves, the kind that leave the fingertips exposed. Muscles in motion. Yeah, that’s a scene in Hard As It Gets.

He’s a good big brother. Nick is big brother to Jeremy, the other owner of Hard Ink. They have great chemistry and an awesome bromance, plus a few intensely emotional scenes I loved writing. And Jeremy’s an awesome character himself!

He’s loyal. Nick would do anything, risk anything, sacrifice anything, for those he cares about. And it makes him so admirable.

He’s tortured. Tortured heroes are my favorite, and Nick is about as tortured as they come. He still suffers physical pain from two gunshot wounds to his lower back, and he carries a world of emotional pain over what happened to his SF unit for which he blames himself. It makes him sympathetic and flawed and just a character you’ll want to hold and make it all better!

He is sexy as hell! See the notes on boxing and ink, above! LOL Nick has dark chocolate brown hair and super pale green eyes. It’s a killer combination. Add to all that a gun holster over broad shoulders and…thud!

He’s prior military. Nick served in the Army Special Forces for a lot of years, and he has taken that code to heart. Loyalty. Honor. Duty. Service. Courage. What’s not to love?

He’s a true hero. Despite how much Nick blames himself for what happened to his SF unit, Nick was a hero on the day the ambush happened, going as far as to help administer medical treatment to another teammate after he’d been shot twice in the lower back. His heroism continues into Hard As It Gets, where he does the right thing and helps Becca despite some serious misgivings about getting involved with his commander’s daughter. He knows the right thing and he does it, making him a true everyday hero.

When he finally gives into love, his redemption is so sweet! The more they resist, the harder they fall, and that’s definitely true of Nick Rixey in Hard As It Gets. I just love when a tortured hero finally finds what he needs to start healing, don’t you?

For me, all of these add up to one seriously hot, tortured, lovable hero, and I hope you’ll fall in love with Nick Rixey just like I have!

Would you like to know more about Nick? Post a question for him or his author lady, and we’d both be happy to chat with you!


Thanks for reading!
Laura


“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”
~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets


Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Stalk her!

She's gifting TWO Kindle Paperwhite 3G e-readers, in addition to the FIVE print copies of the book which the publisher is giving away.

Good luck!



Terms & Conditions
The Kindle Paperwhite 3G giveaway is international unless excluded. If your country is not on the list that Amazon delivers to, you will not be eligible win this prize.

Author Laura Kaye is not responsible for damage to the Kindle in transit. All issues regarding this must be addressed to Amazon.

All accessories for the Kindle Paperwhite 3G must be purchased by the winner – the prize is the Kindle Paperwhite 3G only.

Entrants must be 18 or over.









November 28, 2013

SALAMAT, a Talk Supe Giveaway


Salamat is how we say Thank You in Filipino or Tagalog. 

It's that time of the year where we're reminded to give thanks to our blessings. I'm thankful for the health and love of my family and friends. That's a gift that one can't put a price tag on. 

I'm thankful for all the Supies who continue to support, visit and follow Talk Supe. It has been a wonderful ride so far and though there were bumps in the road, THANK YOU for sticking around. 

On a more serious note, I'd like to take advantage of your tryptophan induced food coma to raise awareness about Typhoon Haiyan and the destruction it caused in the Philippines, my home country. In behalf of my countrymen, I hope that you could pay your blessings forward by donating whatever you can regardless of how big and small.


HOW YOU CAN HELP
  • UNICEF staff in the Philippines is being repositioned to provide emergency aid and the organization is gearing up to deliver supplies to children and their families. Donations can be made online or by texting RELIEF to 864233 to donate $10.
  • CARE teams are on the ground in the Philippines and the organization plans to provide emergency relief to thousands of families. Donations can be made online or by calling 1-800-521-CARE within the U.S. or +1-404-681-2552.
  • World Vision is mobilizing nearly 500 staff around the country to respond to the disaster. Donations are accepted online and the organization also lets you sponsor a child in the Philippines.
  • The American Red Cross has volunteers spread throughout the region and accepts donations online. You can also mail a check to your local American Red Cross chapter designating Philippines Typhoons and Flood in the memo line.
  • Save the Children is mounting disaster relief efforts to help children and families in the area. Donations can be made online or by texting DONATE to 20222.
  • AmeriCares is deploying medical aid and a relief team to Philippines, and says an emergency shipment with enough medical aid for 20,000 survivors is already on its way.
  • The Philippine Red Cross has deployed staff and volunteers across the region. You can easily make a donation through organization's website.
  • To donate to the Salvation Army's Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, visit its website or text TYPHOON to 80888 to donate $10 and reply YES to confirm your donation. The organization uses 100% of all disaster donations in support of disaster relief.
  • The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has sent an emergency response team to assist with safe water, hygiene and sanitation needs, with additional aid to follow. Donations can be made online or by calling +1 855 9RESCUE.
  • The International Medical Corps is on the ground coordinating with their partners in the Philippines to distribute and provide medical aid. Donations can be made online or by calling1-800-481-4462.
  • Mercy Corps responders are working with local partners to provide food, water and shelter. Donations can be made online.
  • Handicap International supports people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in situations of poverty, conflict and disaster. The group has been working in the Philippines since 1985 and is preparing emergency aid for the hard-hit city of Tacloban. Donations can be made online.
  • Catholic Relief Services says its assessment teams have reached the hard-hit island of Leyte by boat. The organization will prioritize emergency shelter, water and sanitation, household relief items potable water and toilets. Donations can be made online or by calling 1-877-435-7277.


That said, I'm paying it forward to my beloved Supies. I wish I have deeper pockets so pardon me for the limited prizes.

+ a $5 Amazon Gift Card


Good luck and Salamat!






photo credit: distopiandreamgirl via photopin cc

November 27, 2013

Braine Reviews: Two Roads by L.M. Augustine + Interview

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Mobi
Release Date: August 26, 2013
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
The only person poetry-loving Cali Monroe hates more than herself is Logan Waters, the geeky kid who lives in the dorm building next to hers.

Ever since Cali's parents told her she would amount to nothing, she has felt entirely inadequate. Friendless and alone, she takes on the mean girl role in hopes it will make her feel better--and Logan serves as the perfect target. He infuriates her with his obnoxiously long lashes, his all too perfect dimpled smile, and his complete lack of personality outside of his intelligence. It doesn't hurt that he's part of the reason her brother is dead, either. So Cali hates him, and he returns the favor. Thus, their prank-filled, insult-driven rivalry is born, and torturing Logan quickly becomes the highlight of her life.

But when Cali's parents set them up on a blind date, she begins to realize Logan might not be as boring as she always thought. He shares her love of poetry, takes a sadistic pleasure in making fun of crepes, and he makes her blush when he calls her smile pretty.

And hey, maybe those long lashes of his aren't that obnoxious after all…

Two Roads is New Adult Romance about finding love, standing out, and learning to embrace who you are. It contains some language and mild sexual content.
4.75 to be exact
TWO ROADS is about two best friends turned bitter rivals after a tragic incident broke them apart. Logan Waters, Cali Monroe and her brother Ben have been hanging out since they were kids. As Ben and Logan are a little older than Cali, she worshiped them and even had a crush on Logan before things went south. When Ben committed suicide four years ago, Cali blamed Logan for her brother's death and since then, she vowed to make Logan's life miserable. And that she did but not without serious retaliation from her ex-bestie. TWO ROADS is a flirty, snarky and very funny new adult contemporary romance that will have you laughing, giggling, smiling and maybe even crying in it's silly fuzziness.

The cauldron rating says it all and the only reason why I didn't give it a full 5 cauldron score is because it was a little predictable on some parts but even if it were so, I still had a blast reading TWO ROADS. Suicide is a serious issue and losing someone close to you because of it is not only painful but polarizing. Cali and Logan has been wallowing over Ben's death for years and they blamed everyone and everything, including themselves, for Ben's suicide and dealing with that kind of guilt over something you can't control is brutal. Now though TWO ROADS' theme is heavy, I liked how L.M. Augustine tackled it with a lot of humor which I think is more effective than presenting it in a dark and sorrowful way.

Even if I was constantly laughing and giggling over these two's silly pranks and ball busting conversations, I felt the sadness and denial seeping through their otherwise snarky banter. One can tell Cali and Logan are masking the pain of Ben's death and it's during those moments where they reminisce that I felt the most emphatic to these two. There's nothing more permanent than death and and all those questions that will forever remain unanswered coupled by a multitude of what-if's are the ones that got to me the most.

TWO ROADS is told in Cali's POV and this little lady is a piece of work. She really took to heart being a mean girl not just towards her friends but her parents too. To describe her relationship with her mom and dad as strained is an understatement because Cali is simply disrespectful to them. She would curse them out, do things to defy them even go to the extent as to make them believe she's promiscuous just to prove the point that they can't tell her what to do. Cali definitely deserves a hard shake, a furious smack and hard spanking because of her despicable behavior. Still I found it hard to really dislike her because I saw how bad she's suffering in silence and despite the attitude, Cali is self-aware and remorseful for her actions.
But the thing is, this mean girl front gives me a place to hide from all of the guilt I feel over Ben's death. It gives me strength, meaning. Like if I can bring everyone else down to my level, I won't be so alone.
Logan Waters is a geeky dream boat, math equations, hot chocolate and all. On the outside he might be giving Cali tit for tat for her aggressive pranks but in hindsight, I feel he simply let her use him as an emotional punching bag as she sort out her feelings about Ben's death. Cali came close to taking it too far with Logan a couple of times but this dude kept his cool and rolled with the punches. It's so hard not to love him because Logan is so in tune with Cali and was basically her rock while she goes through her levels of grief. And like what I said in Click To Subscribe, I wish I met and hooked up with 'em geeky boys and maybe my formative years would've been better. 
The truth is, when Logan and I are going at it like this, we're in our own little world. A world full of fire and passion and hate and dying puppies, sure, but our world all the same.

Everything is intense when it comes to Logan. Everything feels amplified. The hate, the confusion, the passion -- all of it is so freaking strong.
TWO ROADS is definitely a winner! It gave me lots of LOL moments stemming from the back and forth pranks these two are throwing at each other. I was beyond entertained over their verbal foreplay, felt warm and fuzzy over their love for poetry and more tender moments. I also felt sad and a little helpless over Cali and Logan's feeling of loss. Mr. Augustine did a great job in writing a heartfelt story about loss and love from a girl's POV. He wielded his wit carefully and tastefully without sacrificing the message that death is one of the most permanent kind of pain there is and the polarities of grief that go with it. Mr. Augustine is fast becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors and you can bet that I will gobble up his upcoming adult contemporary novel. I'm sure it'll be another hit.

Before y'all go rabid on me, I know Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone may not be the exact fit to play Logan & Cali BUT when they have the right kind of personality to pull it off. These two can pull off snarky perfectly
Peter Parker (Spiderman) meet Olive (Easy A).

Purchase Two Roads




BRAINE: Hi L.M. or should I say, Brad! Congratulations on TWO ROADS! I've read several glowing reviews for your New Adult novel and I have to say, I can't help but feel proud of you! Woot! So let's chat about this a bit to encourage our Supies to give it a whirl shall we?

L.M. Augustine: We shall! I've returned from my usual duties of saving the world JUST for this interview. So you could say I'm excited. ;-) 


BRAINE: Your debut novel, Click To Subscribe, which I totally LOVED, was YA. It was received really well by the blogosphere and I was half expecting you to write another YA Contemporary. What made you shift to New Adult?

L.M. Augustine: Well, it wasn't actually that big of a jump. TWO ROADS is definitely on the younger side of NA, but the themes I was going for weren't YA themes, and Cali and Logan were definitely college characters so writing it as NA just felt right. I don't write for a particular category, though, in any of my books, so you'll see a mix of YA, NA, and adult from me in the future; I do whatever the stories wants.


BRAINE: And that's why I'm such a big fan of your work not just because of the humor but really because of what you've mentioned. Even your characters don't take things too seriously which I find very appealing. From a writer's perspective, was there a significant difference between writing YA v NA?

L.M. Augustine: Yes! I definitely think the difference between the two is in the themes. While it would be easy to say what separates the two categories is the amount of sex and the emotional intensity, I just don't think that's true. YA is about learning to be independent and to be your own personal while NA is about actually going out and making it in the world, living on your own, and so on, which are two very different things, so it was a big change to write a story that is more "in the real world." 


BRAINE: Click To Subscribe was told from the male perspective, should we expect the same thing from TWO ROADS?

L.M. Augustine: Nope! I tried my hand at the female POV this time. It was actually lots of fun, and I think/hope I did it pretty believably. 


BRAINE: As you can see, I think you did pretty well, Angie would be proud. New Adult is known for its heart wrenching and tearjerker stories, do we need a reading kit for TWO ROADS? If so, what do you recommend that said kit contain?

L.M. Augustine: Um… so I actually didn't intend for TWO ROADS to be all that sad. Maybe a teeny bit, but I wasn't really expecting people to cry. But… lots did, somehow. So maybe bring tissues just in case? LOL. (Oh--and you'll need a punching bag. Cali may or may not do something that will make you hate her for a while, but hopefully you'll watch her grow as a person after her mistake and learn to lover her again.)


BRAINE: Speaking of Cali, can you tell us something about your characters? Aside from Logan's obnoxious eyelashes (I hate it when the guy's lashes are better than mine, ugh! You don't need it, seriously!) and Cali's annoyance about it, what is it about these two that readers can connect with and maybe love?

L.M. Augustine: I think they both embody something that we all feel at some point in our lives, in that they both have these seemingly great, carefree lives, but deep down, they both feel so left out but are too afraid to admit it to themselves or to each other. Plus there is also a tragedy connecting their pasts that will hopefully make you feel for them, but they keep it locked away, afraid to tell the other how much it still hurts them. But more importantly, they're funny. They pull off some pretty epic pranks against each other, and their rivalry is like a more intense version of what we've all felt at some point in our lives: jealousy and hatred for someone who always seems to be just a bit ahead of you.


BRAINE: OMG the pranks are really, really good!You have a penchant for writing geeky heroes, why not go the tried and tested jock, alpha, brawny male mold? Don't get me wrong, I think geeks are sexy but in the context of romance novels, they're not popular. 

L.M. Augustine: Well, I think you answered the question right there: because geeks aren't popular in romance novels. And I really don't understand that, because in my experience the most awesome people (in both genders) are the geeks. So it's my mission to put geeks back up on romance readers' radars, and to remind you all just how badass and attractive nerds can be. ;) 


BRAINE: I agree, I love geeks too! Given the right tools, I think they can be sexier than some of these models. As a new author I'm sure you've had your share of "bad" reviews. What was your reaction when you read the first "bad" review and how did you deal with it?

L.M. Augustine: Bad reviews don't bother me. They sting a little, but they're part of the job, and I seriously do respect reviewers with the courage to write an honest, negative review, especially when they can keep it civil. However, sometimes the bad reviews flood in all at once, and that's the point in which I go to Buzzfeed to cheer myself up. 


BRAINE: I can imagine! It's like being told your baby's ugly to your face and still be polite. What's your next project?

L.M. Augustine: I'm working on two things at the moment. The one I'll probably end up publishing next is adult romance, and there may or may not be strip teasing to lines of Harry Potter in it. 


BRAINE: LOL... Oookaay... but whatever it is you're writing, come back and invite me to help you pimp it out. Now for the burning question: When are you going to do an L.M. Augustine reveal? I'd be more than happy to set up a mini-tour for that...

L.M. Augustine:  Okay, okay, fine. Let's do the reveal. I'm actually…

…wait for it…

JAMES BOND.

BRAINE: Well fluck! 


L.M. Augustine is a YA romance author who is obsessed with writing about dorky teenagers, love, and happy endings. He currently lives in New England, where he spends far too much time reading books and screaming at his computer, and he believes that the solution to the world’s problems can be found in chocolate cake. Click To Subscribe is his first novel, but it won’t be his last.

L.M. prefers to remain anonymous so let's stalk him!






Blitz + Giveaway: Born In Chains by Caris Roane

Born In Chains
Men In Chains 1
Caris Roane
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Paranormal Romance
October 31, 2013
In the epic battle of vampire against vampire, one warrior’s fate is bound to a mortal woman who controls him, commands him, and craves him like no other…


CHAINED FOR LIFE

Two years ago, the rogue vampires invaded Lily Haven’s home and kidnapped her son. Now, if she hopes to see her child again, she must do the unthinkable—bind herself, body and soul, to a vampire warrior. She must choose one of the rogue army’s prisoners of war and force him to do her bidding. But when she sees the warrior Adrien, naked, beaten, and straining against his chains, it is she who is held captive…



HUNGRY FOR MORE

Adrien has been waiting for her. A beautiful woman who appears to him in visions. Who soothes his tortured body, feeds his erotic cravings—and quenches his thirst for blood. But Lily is more than he ever hoped for. She is the master of his destiny, and he is her willing slave. Even when she asks him to find the ultimate weapon for his enemies, he must obey her. Even if the task destroys them both, he will fight for her love, forever…

Purchase Born In Chains


 

Caris Roane has published nine paranormal novels and novellas and writing as Valerie King, fifty Regency works. In 2005, Romantic Times gave her a Career Achievement award in Regency Romance. As Caris Roane, she currently writes paranormal romance for St. Martin’s Press and also self-publishes the continuing stories for her Guardians of Ascension series as well as stories set in other worlds.

Link up!



3 winners will EACH receive ALL of the following prizes at the end of the tour:

· signed paperback of BORN IN CHAINS
· eBook of EMBRACE THE DARK
· notepad
· versatile calendar
· sticky notes
· Romance Trading Cards (RTC's)

Contest open internationally, ends Dec. 31, 2013




November 26, 2013

Braine Reviews: Highland Protector by Catherine Bybee + Giveaway

Series: The MacCoinnich Time Travel Series 5
Format: PDF
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Amazon | iBooks | Smashwords 

From New York Times Bestselling Author Catherine Bybeecomes the long awaited next installment in her MacCoinnichTime Travel Series.

No ordinary hero can save Amber from death…it will take a Highland Protector

Amber MacCoinnich’s survival depends on her traveling to the twenty first century, or so her mother’s premonition told her. Death taunts Amber and offers peace in her endless pain. Without the mysterious savior her mother spoke of, Amber prepares for death only to wake with a handsome, dark stranger in her bed.

Gavin Kincaid spends his life shifting time in order to preserve and protect the MacCoinnich family and their line even though he’s never met one living MacCoinnich. A haunting portrait of a beautiful woman captures his attention and he embarks on a quest to put a name to the picture. When a colleague vanishes, the time-stream forces Kincaid to the twenty first century where he finds his mystifying woman close to death. His Druid gift can save her, but at what price? And when they both find themselves emotionally linked, the truth behind Kincaid’s heritage just might kill them both.

And another back to back read for me, this time around it's men in kilts! Let me just say this now, if you liked/loved Karen Marie Moning's Highlander Series you will enjoy Catherine Bybee's The MacCoinnich Time Travel books. And CBybee didn't disappoint, she gave me an enchantingly sweet and tender story that spans centuries. And though it shares similar themes with KMM's and just as entertaining, CBybee's saga is very unique, genre crossing novel that's well written and told you'll breeze through it.

HIGHLAND PROTECTOR has dual plots going on for it the main one being Amber MacCoinnich's, the youngest MacCoinnich, and Gavin Kincaid. An empath, Amber's powers are slowly killing her and foreseeing her untimely demise, her mother sent her to the future. The great Lora MacCoinnich foretold that the cure to Amber's "illness" lies in the future. True enough, the cure is a hunky man, Gavin Kincaid, a warrior sworn to protect the MacCoinnich legacy centuries after the family left this Earth. 

Their story is sweet and reminiscent of old school courtships aka historical romance. Though Amber and Gavin belong in different centuries, this difference didn't play a big role as far as their compatibility is concerned. Gavin let Amber lead their relationship, he was very patient, protective and bound to her from the beginning it's romantic and a tad traditional which I really liked. There's nothing more exciting than wooing a virgin! LOL The best part is Amber got to share this happy union with the rest of her family so the entire MacCoinnich clan makes a great cameo but not without drama. I haven't met the rest of the crew yet but I can tell that their individual books are as good if not better than HIGHLAND PROTECTOR. 

The sub-plot is Selena and Jack's, a modern witch and a cop. These two are friends of Amber's family and I think they have been skirting around each other for quite some time now. The gist is, Selena got herself into a mess selling off love potions in the internet. A client was dissatisfied and started harassing her and it ended tragically. I'm not sure if CBybee will tell their story in the next book but the ramifications of said tragedy is huge, heartbreaking and complicated. It's the kind of drama that will suck us in and the resolution will be a huge guilty pleasure to read. 

HIGHLAND PROTECTOR was an exiting installment to the series, it was suspenseful and promising, it set the stage for another great installment. With the prophesy half fulfilled I'm eager to see how Amber and Gavin's union will play a role inasfar as vanquishing the villain, Gainna, permanently. If this is the plot for book 6, Gavin Kincaid's character will go through some rough patches and it may or may not play a pivotal in terms of what direction the series is taking. I love the dual plot and love story, it kept the book moving and with short appearances from the villain, it made the novel even better. The best part is, HIGHLAND PROTECTOR can be read as stand-alone but if you end up loving it like I did, I'm sure you'd want to backtrack and pick up the entire series. 




1686, MacCoinnich Keep Scotland

Fighting with a sword ranked up there with having sex without an orgasm. Holding the damn thing took too much energy and the end-result was anticlimactic and messy. Kincaid’s free hand itched to pull any one of his hidden weapons from the pockets of his modified seventeenth century clothes and finish off his opponent. The man’s death was inevitable. He had no earthly prayer of taking Kincaid. Even without the use of Kincaid’s gift, the kilted Scot had two fatal flaws working against him. One, he underestimated his opponent, never a good thing in battle. Two, Kincaid’s Druid gift would prevent any fatal blow from reaching his skin. He was damn near immortal.

Kincaid missed being skewered by the Scot’s blade by lunging to his right and placing one foot on the edge of the Keep’s massive stairs. Above him, other men fought, some with powers, a few without. Preventing the ancient Keep from falling into any hands that didn’t belong to descendants of the original owners, wasn’t going to happen. These missions were planned and orchestrated with extreme caution and precision.
The Scot advanced again—sweat falling from his brow with the effort of the fight.

“Kincaid!” He heard his name from the floor above, but didn’t make the mistake of looking up.

“I’m busy.” He blocked his opponent’s sword again, locked the man’s free arm, and attempted to pull it behind his back.

Kincaid was rewarded by taking an elbow in the ribs and having the wind knocked from his lungs.

“Finish him already. We need to move on.”

Moving on was his queue that their time was nearly up.

“I guess…” He shoved the Scot a foot away and lifted his sword high. “That means we’re done here.”

“Your confidence will be your downfall,” the Scot said.

Kincaid motioned the man forward. …said the spider to the fly…

The Scot advanced with a surge of strength and determination.

Kincaid held his ground, threw up his Druid shield, and watched as shock filled the man’s gaze when his sword bounced off the shield and opened him up for Kincaid’s final blow.

Killing never sat well with him. But he was a warrior and killing was part of his soul. Damn shame that.

Kincaid heard his name called again, and he took the familiar stairs two at a time to reach the others. From the corner of his eye, his gaze met a painting on the wall, one he’d not seen before.

His steps faltered as he connected with the haunting gaze of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Didn’t matter that the painting was one dimensional, or that the woman was most likely dead…even in this century. He did a quick inventory of the other images on the walls and recognized only one. The same painting hung in that very space on the wall, so many years in the future. But this one…the picture of the woman with her long dark hair and pained focus as she attempted to smile, beckoned him. This painting he’d never seen.

“Kincaid! Dammit man, get your ass up here!”

Kincaid shook away the woman’s soulful gaze, bounded up the stairs, and trailed his band of men up the spiral staircase of the turret.

As they moved to the privacy of the bricked room, he noticed the small face of one of the Keep’s youngest occupants watching from behind an adjacent door.

Rory moved to close the door when Kincaid motioned toward their witness.

The child, a girl not more than ten years old watched with wide eyes. She didn’t appear frightened in the least.

“Is she…

Rory lifted his hand, palm up, and from it, a small ball of fire swirled from nothing and hung suspended.

The girl’s wide eyes lifted and a small smile inched at the side of her lips. She lifted her hand and a sputtering of fire sprang from her fingertips.

Kincaid felt his pulse dip as he lifted his finger to his lips “Shh,” he whispered with what he hoped looked like a friendly smile.

Noise from the long staircase met their ears. Rory ushered them inside and closed the door. Before the noise from below became another battle, Kincaid closed his eyes, lifted his shield, and spread it over his small party…then he began to chant and time slid away.


New York Times & USA Today bestselling author CatherineBybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned novels Wife by Wednesday, Married by Monday, and Not Quite Dating. Bybeelives with her husband and two teenage sons in Southern California.

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