Archive for October, 2007

Square hole, Octagonal Peg


I’ve never been what you could call…cool. Not remotely. Just never fit in with the in-crowd. I tried, sometimes. Once I even tried to join a clique. (Suffice it to say, that’s didn’t go well. I kept snorting at the thinking processes of the “leader”) I’m just not good at being a follower. I’ve always been the square peg in a round hole. Better yet, octagonal. ‘Cause I damn sure wasn’t like any of the other pegs, either. You know it’s bad when you don’t even fit in with the outcasts.


So, years after my not so thrilling girlhood, when I was advised to find a single genre and stick with it…well, you can imagine how that went. I did try, because it made good business sense, if I wanted to connect with readers. But it was boring. And the writing stalled. I wanted to claw out my eyes. Stories were coming up to me like lost dogs, looking for food and I had to send them away. It was horrible. For my own sanity, or as close as I get to sanity, I secretly wrote a comedy. Just to make myself feel better. No one was going to know. 


Until I sold the comedy. Oops.


So the secret was out. But the book did well and people were happy with it. Yay, right? Right?


Until I sold the drama. And the sensual contemporary. And then the next book turned into a light suspense. After each book, I worried more and more about how each novel would be received. Would people be disappointed as I went from one genre to the other? Were they going to expect one thing and get mad when it wasn’t there? And let me tell you…I started to scare myself. I began thinking I could never hold onto an audience. (It’s rather amazing how much time a writer can spend doubting herself.) Then my friend says to me, “You are aware you sound like you in each book, no matter the genre, right?”


Somehow, that hadn’t exactly occurred to me.


I realized then that was really what the uniting thread for being a multi-genre author; voice. For all that I can’t walk a line someone else draws, I’m drawing one for myself that is solid and deep and tinted with just a hint of rose. Oh…and it sizzles. With that in mind, I decided to take a leap into even hotter territory and wrote an erotic romance. I mean, the worst that could happen was that I’d have a couple of extremely satisfied–if slightly chafed–characters. Following my hero, an earthy self-made man named Travis, and my heroine, a smart-mouthed scientist with a grudge, made for an interesting personal adventure. It was freeing, in many ways, to let go and see how far my characters might go. How far I was willing to let my imagination take me. And yet, it was really important to make sure they really fell in love. As messily as possible. (Sure, I write happy endings, but I still like to make their lives miserable beforehand.) I wanted to join the ranks of good erotic romance, instead of the oft ridiculed “boink ’til you drop” ranks.


Still octagonal, even in romance pegboards? Maybe. But I like to think the line I leave behind me is more important than the pegs I fit into.


Dee Tenorio


PS–Enter to win an ecopy of “Test Me” (as soon as author copies are available), which is set to release November 27th! All you have to do is post in the comments and share your thoughts on authors who write multi-genre books. Good or bad, is it a problem for you as a reader?




“Test Me!” by Dee Tenorio

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Red Hots!

ISBN: 1-59998-699-X

Length: Novel

Price: 5.50

Publication Date: November 27, 2007

Cover art by Scott Carpenter


Who said “sexy” isn’t a science?


When wealthy scientist Vetta St. Claire begins a news experiment polling the male libido, she unexpectedly locks horns with long-time scientific rival Travis Carmichael. She never meant to test Travis’s libido…but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.


Down on his luck and on the verge of giving up his dream to make a real contribution to cancer research, the last thing Travis wants—or needs—is a fling with the prickly Vetta. Travis doesn’t like her. In fact, he hates her. But when the sex is this good…


“Hard science” doesn’t begin to cover it.



Unedited Excerpt:


Disentangling from Travis wasn’t nearly as hard as escaping him.


What had she done?


One second, she’d been yelling at him, ready and willing to berate him for his utter lack of respect. The next…well, she still wasn’t sure what happened next. His eyes took on that angry, hungry gleam and he started saying things that got her head pounding from her heartbeat racing. All she’d been able to think about was the way he had made her feel in her shower, which made no sense analytically because he hadn’t really been there in the first place.


After the sex—could you call it losing your virginity if you’d already tossed that on a vibrator?—she hadn’t known what to do. She’d never planned on her first time with a man being outside, against a door, still dressed, and with a man she couldn’t stand. All she could think of was getting away.


She’d pushed at his shoulders, disconcerted at how comforting it felt to be cradled in his hold that way. She didn’t want to be soothed by the silk of his hair against her cheek or the warmth of his breath. She didn’t want to be held as if she was precious. She didn’t even want his hands on her ass. She just wanted to be free.


“Vetta,” he grunted when she pushed harder, setting one of her feet on the ground and forcing him to slip free from her body.


She pretended that the slippery sensation didn’t make her shiver, didn’t make her feel empty. Her skirt fell back to her ankles, covering all evidence as to what had happened. To her, at least.


Travis backed up a step, his jeans still open, his penis still exposed, still wet…still nearly erect. He quickly went to work covering up, but when she dared to look in his eyes, she could see that an apology was forming. Or maybe it was just a reflection of the confusion inside herself. His eyes were downcast and the stark lighting of the fluorescent lights on the roof made his expression hard to read. All she could see now were the wide planes of his cheekbones, the grim line of his mouth and the shadows in his eyes.


“I have to go,” she blurted, spinning in place and frantically reaching for the flat handle of the doorknob. She yanked it down, but the door wouldn’t open.


“Vetta, we need to talk about this.”


“No, we don’t.” They would never talk about this. She had no inclinations whatsoever to be mocked. She was twenty-five years old, if she wanted to have meaningless sex on the roof of her own property, she would.


“Vetta.” His voice was gentle. Gentle. From Travis!


“I’ve dropped into the twilight zone,” she muttered, reaching for her keys from her lab coat pocket. Except she wasn’t wearing her lab coat. Feeling wild now, she looked around, ignoring his attempts to get into her frame of view. Finally, she saw it, floating like a phosphorescent ghost a few feet away. She hurried over, snatching it from the ground and reaching into the pocket with growing desperation. The lump of keys, just where they usually were, jangled into her palm. She turned back to the shed door and found Travis waiting, arms crossed, decidedly in her way. “Move.”


He shook his head. “Not until we talk.”


“What’s to talk about? We had sex. We’re done.”


Against the door that way, his expression was even more inscrutable than before. She hoped he couldn’t see any better than she could. Despite his flaws, the man was a brilliant observer. If he realized for one second her disconcertion, she’d never hear the end of it. What she needed was to go downstairs, take a shower and hide in her room until this entire situation faded into obscurity. She did not need to talk about it.


“Why are you running away?”


Was he stupid? “This was a mistake, Travis.”


“Why do you say that?”


Yes, he was. He really, really was. “Because you hate me. Because I don’t like you.”


She watched him shrug. “You of all people should know sex doesn’t have anything to do with liking one another. It’s about chemistry. Need. Desire.”


She balled her fingers around the keys, his words making a sick feeling in her stomach. She’d been the one to say it, but oddly, it hurt having him agree to hating her. Thankfully, she’d long ago learned how to keep from showing a response to things said or written about her. Growing up, her mother’s stardom and her father’s money had made her a target for the press. Nothing Travis could say would be worse than what any of them had said.


“You wanted me,” he continued, proving her incorrect again. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”


“Will you please move away from the door?” Moisture was dripping down her leg and she wanted to be mortified in peace.


“I wanted you too, Vetta,” he added quietly.


“Good,” she snapped. “Great. We wanted. We got. Satisfied?”


“Not even close to it.”


She wanted to reply, wanted to say something that would shut him up, but opening her mouth yielded no sound at all.


Travis sidestepped the door, finally getting out of her way. He even waved her through, nearly bowing gallantly, his dark eyes never leaving her face. Refusing to be afraid—of what exactly, she didn’t know—she made herself go back to the door, moving past him to unlock it with the keys.


As she searched for the right one, Travis slipped behind her. His body blocked the breeze, emitting a heat that had her skin tingling again. He leaned down to her ear, as if he were going to touch her, but made no contact. The correct key slid into the lock on the door.


“It’s not over yet, Vetta.”


She yanked down the lever. “Like hell it’s not.”


He lay his hand over hers, pulling the heavy door open. Voice deep, intimate, probably subconscious staining, he whispered, “You can’t hide from things you don’t want to face. Your problems will always be there when you turn back around.”


Vetta stumbled, but he caught her elbow.


“I’m not saying this to scare you. I just know that we’ve started something here, whether we like it or not.”


“Something stupid,” she corrected as primly as she could.


He nodded his head. “Maybe. It’s not good timing for either of us. You’ve got your weird little experiment and I have…”


She frowned at him when his voice trailed off, then shook her arm free. “I’m not going to be your convenient lay, Travis. This was a one-time thing because you saw me naked. We were curious. Don’t make more of that than it was.”


That seemed to snap him out of his little mini-trance. “I don’t have to. Sooner or later, we’re going to end up in bed. It’s just a matter of time.”



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Happy Halloween!


This is the time of year when our thoughts turn dark. The nights are closing in quicker around us and the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Our imaginations conjure up ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, and things that go bump in the night. But the creature that intrigues us the most is the vampire!


Vampires—they endlessly fascinate us. They dwell in the dark recesses of our minds, our books and our movies. They are beguiling creatures, not bound by the same rules of society as we are. Powerful and cunning, they have skills beyond our human capabilities and understanding. They need our blood to survive and take what they need. They are loners, walking in the shadows of our world. We fear them even as we are drawn to them.


How then could I resist writing a vampire series? I couldn’t.


I knew I wanted to write about a particular vampire family—the Dalakis brothers—who were under a curse of sorts. They were destined to love only once in their long lives, that is, if they could even find the woman that is their true mate. They were fated to live with a sense of incompleteness and utter loneliness unless they could find her. While blessed with long life, incredible strength and speed and the ability to shape-shift, they feel empty inside. Always looking. Always searching for the special woman—the one woman who might be transformed and made into a vampire bride.


In Harker’s Journey, Cristofor Dalakis finds such a woman, but Johanna has just turned eighteen. He waits long, painful years for her to grow and to come to him in the wilds of the Carpathian Mountains. She must accept him for what he truly is if they are to have a chance at everlasting love.


Book 2, Lucian’s Delight takes place in New Orleans. Lucian Dalakis dreams of Delight Deveraux. But both discover that the dreams are more than mere imaginings. When Delight witnesses a murder, her life is in danger. Lucian will stop at nothing to protect and keep her. Forever.


In Stefan’s Salvation, book 3, Stefan Dalakis travels the United States, hoping to outrun the loneliness that haunts him now that his brothers have found their true mates. An overheard conversation in a bar sets him on the trail of Laurel Rose McCaffey. Laurel Rose lives alone in the hills of North Carolina and is being threatened by several unknown enemies. When her life is threatened, she turns to the one man she has come to trust—a vampire.


With the stories of all three brothers told, you would think that would be the end of the Dalakis Passion series. But wait! In books 2 and 3, there is mention of the mysterious Zane York, who is nosing around, trying to find out more about the Dalakis family. As well, New Orleans cop, Sam Cassidy, finds his life becoming more and more entwined with the Dalakis family.


ETERNAL BROTHERS is book 4 of the Dalakis Passion series. In this book, the secrets of Zane York are finally revealed. Is he out to harm the Dalakis brothers and their wives? Or is he a friend? Only time will tell. As for Sam Cassidy, he’s left the police force and he’s becoming part of the Dalakis family inner circle. When the family is being attacked from several sides, Sam tries to uncover the truth, but he does suspect that Zane York is a part of it. Enemies old and new surround the Dalakis family in this thrilling tale of murder and mayhem.


I’m so excited about the release of ETERNAL BROTHERS. This book is the longest one I’ve ever written, as it really is two stories melded in to one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


May your Halloween be safe and spooktacular. 🙂


ETERNAL BROTHERS is available from Ellora’s Cave Publishing on October 31st.





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We have winners!! 🙂


The little Diva helped me choose names from Sue-Ellen’s post and the three names she picked from the bowl are…

















Congrats ladies!!



Please email me your snail mail addy at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so you can receive your goodies. 🙂

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Laugh for the day

For those interested in writing romance novels. You must check this out. Really! 🙂 Make sure you take notes. *G*

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Make sure you check out our guests for the next week!

October 30: NJ Walters Guest Blogging

October 31: Dee Tenorio Guest Blogging

November 1: Jane Porter Contest. (I will post a question about Jane and then 5 randomly drawn names will win a copy of her latest book, ODD MOM OUT.)

November 2: Jasmine Haynes/Jennifer Skully Guest Blogging

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Atmosphere – Power of Place

Love is one of the most powerful emotions known to man. Romantic love comes immediately to mind, as does love for family. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention my own great love for dogs. There is a special and enduring bond between a dog-lover and his/her faithful four-legged friend. I won’t even begin to discuss loving books – going down that road would see me typing a tome rather than a blog.

I want to blog about loving a place.





Call it atmosphere, the setting in books, or in my own life, as an American of Scottish descent, the fierce pull of the home glen. By whatever name, to those who experience it, this kind of love is incredibly powerful.

It can also be an unquenchable ache. You live with a constant yearning to be somewhere else, namely there where your heart remains even when you might be oceans away.


Obviously, the place that stirs me so deeply is Scotland. As I noted about Scotland in the acknowledgment to my 2005 Scottish medieval, ONLY FOR A KNIGHT, Warner/Grand Central Publishing, “To walk there can feel like moving in a magical land where time stands still and centuries-old traditions still throb with life.” And that is not an exaggeration. Scotland truly is awe-inspiring. Its beauty can make grown men shed tears and its deep history is proud and tragic enough to squeeze the most hardened hearts.

My own heart has belonged to Scotland since, well … since forever. I was raised to appreciate my Scottish ancestry and I visit annually. I live and breathe to be there. Only when I am, do I feel truly whole, one hundred percent at peace and content in my soul.

I’ll spare you the details of what it feels like to leave Scotland. Suffice it to say, it isn’t pretty. The above mentioned ache is a daily companion, as I imagine it is for all Scotophiles who spend time there and then, sooner or later, must board a plane that will carry them in the wrong direction across the Atlantic.

One way I deal with this ache is to book my next trip as soon as I return home. Nothing soothes a stateside-bound Scotophile faster than knowing there’s a seat reserved on that next Glasgow-bound plane.

Another way I cope is going back to Scotland through the pages of my books. More specifically, through the writing of them. My books are inspired by places I know and love in Scotland. When I write, I return in my mind to these special places.

Perhaps I’ll return to the Lady’s Rock, a tragedy-hung tidal islet off Scotland’s west coast that I used as the starting point for my 2002 Scottish medieval, KNIGHT IN MY BED, Warner/CGP. Or maybe I’ll revisit Dunnottar Castle, truly spectacular cliff-top ruins in Aberdeenshire and the basis for the heroine’s castle in Sir Marmaduke’s BRIDE OF THE BEAST, my 2003 release, also from Warner/GCP. Most likely, I’ll stay in Kintail, the beautiful Highland setting of my ongoing MacKenzie series for Grand Central Publishing. Inspired by Eilean Donan Castle and known as Eilean Creag in my books, this setting is the stuff of dreams.

My most recent Scottish medieval release for GCP, BRIDE FOR A KNIGHT, is set there. But bits and pieces were inspired by other highly atmospheric places in Scotland. The half-ruinous chapel, visited by the hero and heroine on a stormy afternoon, has a great deal in common with a little stone chapel not far from Glencoe. During the book’s deadline, I was caught in a sudden deluge while hill-walking and took refuge there. As well, a delightfully remote cottage in the Cairngorms found its way into BRIDE FOR A KNIGHT. A rainbow was arcing over the cottage the day I chanced by, giving the place a magical feel. I immediately claimed the cottage as the home of one of the book’s secondary characters.



My next Scottish-set paranormal, HIGHLANDER IN HER DREAMS, NAL, released in Nov. under my pseudonym, Allie Mackay, also has an incredibly atmospheric setting. Readers familiar with the Isle of Skye might recognize the cliff-top ruins of Duntulm as the book’s Castle Wrath. One of my own personal haunts and a place I return to again and again, these ruins have an extraordinary sense of the otherworldly about them. To be there, is to feel the past close in on you and if you are there alone, and on a chill, blustery day, as I prefer to be, well, it is very easy to believe in ghosts and time travel!

In fact, it was an eerie experience of my own at Duntulm that inspired HIGHLANDER IN HER DREAMS. Like the book’s heroine, I was enjoying a solitary picnic there, amidst the ruin’s tumbled stone’s, when I happened to see … something.

That experience, and my inner images of this very special place, stayed with me as I wrote the book. Each day, my writing office – everything in my every day world – would slip away and I’d be back there again.

Books can do that.

Whether you read or write them, books can take you anywhere.

If the place you’d like to go is Scotland, you might enjoy a look at the actual settings of my books. Ever since DEVIL IN A KILT, I’ve been using my website to share photos I’ve taken of the real places that inspire my stories.

To visit the world of my Welfonder Scottish medievals for GCP, go to www.welfonder.com and look at the INSIDE pages, or click on ‘see the inspiration’ next to the book covers.

To take a look at the settings of my Allie Mackay NAL books, Scottish-set paranormals, visit www.alliemackay.com and the Books & Beyond page. Or just click on the ‘a glimpse into…’ link next to the book covers.

If a peek at the pictures-behind-the-stories isn’t enough of Scotland for you, I have a few Scottish goodies to share. Just post a comment telling me about your own special place. It needn’t be Scotland … just that one place in the world that holds such power of place for you that simply thinking about being there is heady enough to make your heart burst.

And if you think such a notion is silly, that it’s not possible to be so enamored of a place that it claims your very soul, that’s fine, too. We’re all made differently and that’s a beautiful thing. All names will go into the drawing and I’ll let Fatin do the honors to keep it impartial.

So please comment away. Three winners will receive a signed copy of my Sept. Scottish medieval, BRIDE FOR A KNIGHT, GCP, along with a signed copy of my Nov. Allie Mackay Scottish-set paranormal, HIGHLANDER IN HER DREAMS, NAL, and a box of Scottish shortbread. One grand prize winner will receive both signed books, the shortbread, and – in keeping with my theme of atmosphere – a genuine full-sized brick of peat.


~ And, yes, the peat can be burned. Not from Scotland, but Ireland, it smells just as earthy, Highland-y wonderful as Scottish peat ~


~ To learn about peat and see peat photos, visit Scottish Gems on my website and scroll down to “A Prized Gem: Scottish Peat”


Thanks so much, Fatin, for asking me here today!

To everyone else … Alba gu brath! (Scotland forever)




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Did some book shopping….

Had to take the truck to get new tires today and while we were waiting for them to finish with it, the girls and I spent the time in the bookstore. I walked out with the following books…lol

IN MY WILDEST DREAMS by Julianne MacLean
A WEEK FROM SUNDAY by Dorothy Garlock
NAUTI NIGHTS by Lora Leigh
EXTREMELY HOT by Jennifer Apodaca
HEARTSICK by Chelsea Cain

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So sorry this is late! It’s been storming most of the day and my DSL connection has been wonky all day. I hope I can post this quick before I get dropped again….


Onward to the winners!


The winners picked from Lisa’s post are……




















Congrats ladies!!




Please email me your snail mail addy at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) and your prizes will be sent out soon.

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Hi everyone and thanks Fatin for inviting me! The timing is excellent because this week I have a new release which I am very excited about. So in celebration I have three books to giveaway. But first, welcome to the world of The Knights of White! A world where good must defeat evil and the weapon of choice is, indeed, an alpha male holding a sword. If these heroes want to win their mates though, they’ll have to slay the uncertainties within their hearts and prove their love.


The series idea came from a trip I took to Brownsville, Texas, several years ago. While driving to the small border town, we drove through a Ranch that is bigger than all of Long Island. One thing led to another, and a conversation started about the Mexico border town not far from Brownsville where there is a legend known as the “Matamoros Beasts.” From there, the ideas began to evolve and the ranch became a home to demon hunters: The Knights of White who are overseen by the Archangel Raphael.  The funny thing about the beasts is a lady has sworn she captured one and it was all over the news recently. I couldn’t believe it! But then, most legends are based on some semblance of twisted truth. The creature was nothing like what I picture for my books but it was indeed quite scary. 

Now you know a little about The Knights of White. Onward to prizes! Simply post and tell me a little about you and recommend a favorite book for us all to enjoy. Then Fatin can choose the winners from a drawing of everyone who posts.


I will leave you with a little blurb and a link to a discount for the book. Harlequin has it on sale the rest of this month…






I look forward to hearing everyone’s book recommendations!





The Beast Within


Only Passion Can Sooth the Beast Within…

Known only as Jag, he leads the Knights of White against the soulless Darkland Beasts who took his wife and his life. Jag is immortal, destined to live with the vengeance he feels in his heart. And the dreams that haunt his soul. Sensual dreams of a woman. Dreams that threaten to unleash the beast within…

Karen Gibson is an innocent mortal, unwittingly thrown into this millenia-old battle, and, unwillingly, under Jag’s protection. She and Jag are about to discover that they have met before – in the dreams they share.

Neither trusts the other. Neither can survive alone. The secret of those erotic dreams may be all that saves them – if Jag can only accept it. At risk is Karen’s life. And Jag’s immortal soul…

Knights of White: These demon hunters fight for all that is good…

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AUTHOR: Sarah McCarty

COPYRIGHT: November 2007
PAGES: 473
PUBLISHER: Spice Books

SETTING: Texas Territory
TYPE: Historical Western Romance
SERIES: Hell’s Eight, Book #1

REASON FOR READING: I was one of the lucky ones to win an ARC of the book from a contest Sarah was running at her site. Plus, it’s a McCarty, how could I not read it? She is the author of one of my favorite series: PROMISES LINGER, PROMISES KEEP & PROMISES PREVAIL. Plus, I love (love!!) western historicals. 🙂

Smccarty_3Blurb: The Hell’s Eight is the only family he’s ever needed, until he meets the only woman he’s ever wanted…

Caine Allen is a hardened Texas Ranger, definitely not the marrying kind. But when he rescues a kidnapped woman and returns her to town, the preacher calls in a favor. One Caine’s honor won’t let him refuse.

From the moment he beds Desi, Caine knows turmoil will follow. Desi might have the face of a temptress, but she also has a will of iron and while she needs his protection, she’s determined that no man will control her again. They establish that no man will control her again. They establish an uneasy bond, but it isn’t enough for Caine. He wants all Desi has to offer. He wants her screams, her moans, her demands… everything. Yet there’s still a bounty on Desi’s head, and keeping her sexually satisfied is proving easier than keeping her alive.

MY THOUGHTS: Wow. Where do begin? I knew going in, from reading Sarah’s previous books, that her writing tends to grab me by the throat and doesn’t let go until long after I’ve finished the story. It was the same with CAINE’S RECKONING. I read it as soon as it came in the mail, which was around the beginning of the month, yet I still find myself thinking about it. It was a scorcher like her others were to me but it doesn’t start out that way.

Caine and a couple of his men were sent to save Desi and a few other witches women that had been kidnapped from town. All the ladies wanted to go back home except for Desi. She wanted to go anywhere else but back to town. I’m not going to spoil it and say why she felt that way. Just know that Caine had to be very gentle with her at first, even though that was something he rarely was as a Ranger. He married her because of a favor called in but he planned for it to be a real marriage from the start and had to work at getting Desi to come to terms with what he wanted.

My only quibble with the story was with Desi. Highlight for Spoiler:

After her past experiences with men, I really did not feel that was the true Desi when things got a little frisky in bed (or out of bed) with Caine. I felt like she was playing a part at times. As she was told to from the men Caine saved her from. Just like when they first went to bed together and she told him she would do anything he wanted. Scream the whole time like it hurt her or pretend that she likes it. Or scream like a banshee should he want her to.

End of Spoiler.

Overall though, I was glued to the book from the first page and I really enjoyed their story. I loved everything about Caine. I loved the few peeks we got of the other men in Hell’s Eight but that did not detract from the story of Caine and Desi. Ms. McCarty’s way of telling a story will always have me going back for more. Part of me is thrilled that I got the chance to read this early but the other part of me is silently whining “Summer 2008 until Sam’s book?! Why must you torture me? I can’t wait that long!” 🙂


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