Review & Giveaway for Escaping West

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Escaping West by Morgan K. Wyatt

Book Description

Kitty Hamilton is unsure how her life got so out of control. The unexpected deaths of her parents earned her a berth at her embittered aunt’s home. Her latest beau abandoned her, which made the prospect of leaving town appealing. Her version of leaving didn’t include fleeing town dressed like a man, but circumstances dictate otherwise. Kitty becomes Kit to throw the law off her trail. As the pretend brother to her best friend Harriet, she accompanies her friend out west to her contracted bridegroom. They encounter Nick Kennedy, flamboyant gambler, who takes an interest in the odd couple. Kitty enjoys the freedom her disguise allows, but she abandons any hope of attracting the handsome Nick Kennedy. Revealing her gender, might snag her a chance at the elusive gambler, but could also land her in prison. She keeps telling herself he isn’t worth it, but she’s not entirely convinced.

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*****

Excerpt from Escaping West

Why did she do such an impulsive, stupid thing? She knew why even if she didn’t want to admit it was something in his kisses. Then there was his voice, low, intimate calling her name.

“Kit, where are you?”

She could even hear it as if he was nearby. Amazing, Kitty shook her head bemused until she heard the voice again.

“Kit.”

Her imagination must be working overtime. Duke whickered loud and hard. She started to tell him to hush when she heard boot steps on the gravel. Freezing in place, Kitty strained to hear the approaching footsteps.

“Kitty, it’s me, Nick. Where are you?”

Letting go of the breath she’d been holding, Kitty took another breath before calling out. “I’m over here in the hole. Be careful.”

“I’m coming, sweetheart.” He called back, his boot heels scrambling for purchase over the rocks.

He’d called her sweetheart. She sighed then she accidentally put her weight on the wrong foot. “Ouch!”

“What, honey?” Nick called out in a voice that sounded a little closer.

“Hurry,” Kitty managed through clenched teeth. He was there before she knew it. Deftly jumping into the hole and wrapping her in his arms, accidentally battering her already savaged ankle.

“Ouch, watch it,” she complained.

“I didn’t expect undying gratitude, but something like my hero might not be out of line,” Nick commented laughingly.

“Thank you, Nick. I am grateful. I hurt my ankle when I fell into the hole.” Kitty snuggled into Nick’s shoulder appreciative of his warmth and inhaled deeply, enjoying the smell of worn leather and clean male.

Nick paced around the small hole with Kitty in his arms. He dragged his boot toe around the edge trying to find a way up or out.

“Well, darling, looks like I am going to have to toss you up,” Nick acknowledged.

“What,” Kitty squeaked. “Toss me where?”

“I looked, and there seems to be no easy way out of here. It’s up to you. Once you’re up, I need you to tie the rope to the saddle horn on Duke’s saddle and back him up. Once I get a hold of the rope, pull me up. Can you manage?”

Kitty had her doubts as she felt Nick’s voice vibrate through the clothing separating the two of them. In the end, tossing seemed to be her only hope of getting out, and she imagined Nick was a good tosser. Naturally, he would be good at everything.

*****

Book Review

The 18oo’s provides the setting for this light-hearted western romance that provides lots of chuckles and informs readers of the societal limitations women endured during this time.

The protagonist of this story is Katherine (Kitty) Hamilton, a young girl of nineteen, who has been forced to grow up with a malicious Aunt Eugenia who despises her and, over the years, has become more abusive.

Kitty lives in a small rural town where the pickings are slim to find an eligible bachelor to marry. Of course, marriage was expected, in order for a woman to have a safe and secure life.  For some odd reason, Kit realizes her aunt has discouraged any man who is interested in courting Kitty. As a nineteen -year-old, with no suitors knocking on her door, Kitty worries that she is getting past her prime and may end up a bitter spinster just like her aunt.

Kitty lives in a small rural town where the pickings are slim to find an eligible bachelor to marry. Of course, marriage was expected, in order for a woman to have a safe and secure life.  For some odd reason, Kitty realizes her aunt has discouraged any man who is interested in courting Kitty. As a nineteen -year-old, with no suitors knocking on her door, Kitty worries that she is getting past her prime and may end up a bitter spinster just like her aunt.

When her aunt begins to attack her with a whip for an unjustified transgression, Kitty tries to protect herself, and the assault ends with her aunt accidentally falling and hitting her head.  Out of rage, Eugenia reveals that the real reason behind her callous treatment of Kitty is because of the dowry Kitty’s parents left for her.  Eugenia is determined to keep Kitty’s money and threatens to press charges against Kitty for attempted murder.

Knowing her aunt is just vengeful enough to go through with her threat, Kitty finds what’s left of her hidden dowry and plans her escape with her best friend, Harriet.  Harriet has become a mail-order bride and is leaving for British Columbia to meet her new husband. In order to minimize her chances of being caught, Kitty cuts her hair and decides to pose as a man, call herself Kit, and pretend to be Harriet’s younger brother.

While traveling together by train, both Kitty and Harriet are excited by the adventure that awaits, especially since neither have ever traveled abroad. Their naïvety and innocence certainly make for an entertaining journey full of chuckles and laughter, especially when Kit realizes that masquerading as a man is not as easy as she expected.  For example, the scene where Kit has to use the bathhouse for men is hilarious and one of my favorites.

Kit quickly catches the eye of Nick Kennedy, a professional gambler, who is also traveling on the same train.  It doesn’t take Nick long to discover that Kit is really a female. His curiosity over why she would go to such extremes to hide her identity draws him to her. Although Kit feels an attraction to Nick, she is adamant that he not discover her gender. Using her sharp tongue, she tries to deflect his interest, but he is persistent, and this leads to some entertaining banter full of subtle flirtation on Nick’s part.

The handsome Nick Kennedy is a kind and caring man even though his gambling lifestyle would be considered unsavory by any proper, young lady. However, Nick has grown tired of the dangerous life he leads and considers retirement . His heart has been hardened since the betrayal of the woman he loved. Yet, now that he’s met Kit, he feels protective of her. After Harriet reveals their destination, he decides to follow them to make sure Kit will be okay, since she’s obviously hiding from something or someone.

Once they arrive, Kitty continues to pretend to be a man and soon finds herself employed in a saloon, playing piano to entertain the customers. The saloon owner Stella and some of the others working there quickly see through Kit’s disguise but decide to let her hide out in their establishment. When Harriet gives Kit tips on how to act more “manly,” I thought I’d roll over laughing:

“You could talk less and stick a rolled sock down your pants,” Harriet advised with a wink.

“I’ll talk less, but what’s with the sock?”

“You’re manly parts. You might even want to move it now and then.” The blonde chuckled at her friend’s horrified expression.

“Stick my hands down my pants and start scratching away?”

“No…You do the scratching on the outside, haven’t you watched men at all?”

When Nick arrives, their secretive courtship begins, even though both are reluctant to reveal their true feelings for each other. The suspense of the story begins to build when a Pinkerton agent, hired by Aunt Eugenia arrives, intent on capturing Kit for prosecution. Furthermore, Nick has a vindictive gambler who feels cheated chasing him with intent to do harm.  My curiosity of the outcome of these conflicts made this an, overall, interesting read.  However, for me, the climatic outcome of Kit’s conflict with her aunt was not as dramatic as I had hoped for or expected.

Numerous grammatical and proofreading errors were the main drawback for me in reading this book.  At times inappropriate verb tense is used, essential articles and other words are omitted, and the wrong word is used. These errors increasingly proved to be a distraction to me as I read. Just one more proofreading would greatly enhance the overall quality of the book.

Although I found some flaws with this book because of my personal preferences when reading, I do want to emphasize that I am glad that I read the book. If you enjoy a good western filled with humor and romance, do check out Escaping West.

I received a copy of this book from the author via Goddess Fish Tours for an honest review.

Rating

Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40

*****

About the Author

AuthorPic

Morgan K Wyatt, raised on a steady diet of superheroes, believed she could fly at a very young age. After using trees, barn lofts, sliding boards, and even a second story window as launch pads, she found her flying skills were limited to fast and downward. By the age of nine, her dreams to be a superhero needed some modifications, which caused her to turn to writing and horseback riding as alternatives to flying.

At the age of twenty, she had another chance at superhero greatness as being one of the few female soldiers trained for combat. The fact that women will be able to serve in combat soon indicates that all the witnesses to the grenade incident have retired. The grenade incident didn’t prevent her two sons or daughter-in-law from enlisting in the service. Having different last names probably helped.

Morgan recently retired from teaching special needs students to write fulltime, instead of in the wee hours of the night. With the help of her helpful husband and loyal hound, she creates characters who often grab plot lines and run with them. As for flying, she prefers the airlines now.

Author Links

www.morgankwyatt.com

www.twitter.com/morgankwyatt

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Morgan-K-Wyatt/160636730670958?ref=hl

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826299.Morgan_K_Wyatt

*****

Giveaway

Morgan will be awarding the winner’s choice of ivory, peach, or white, cultured freshwater pearl necklace to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

To enter just click on the green “Leave a Comment”  link located at the end of this post following the tags. 

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Follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/04/virtual-review-tour-escaping-west-by.html

*****

Purchase With Discount: 
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Secret Cravings Publishing is offering a sale during the Rebel Heartsong and Escaping West tours.  All Morgan K Wyatt books bought May 15-31st are available for another 20% off publisher’s site.
The code is Morgan20
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To post a comment, please click on the green “Leave a Comment link located at the bottom of this post after the tags.

Review, Author Guest Post & Giveaway for The Hunted Series by Jennifer Ryan

hunted (1)

The Hunted Series

Saved by the Rancher, Lucky Like Us, The Right Bride

By: Jennifer Ryan

Saved by the Rancher (Book 1 of The Hunted Series)

Saved by rancher Book CoverBook Description

A million dollar mistake…

Marrying millionaire David Merrick was the biggest mistake of Jenna Caldwell’s life. Two years after their divorce, Jenna is still on the run, relocating to a new place every few months after each terrifying run-in with her ex. No matter where she hides, he always finds her, and each time his temper worsens. Bruised, battered, and bloodied, Jenna takes her lawyer’s advice and relocated to a quiet ranch in Colorado in the hopes that she can finally stop running…

Another chance at finding a safe-haven…

Jack Turner was also running; in the hopes of forgetting about his nightmarish experiences in the army, he’s retreated to his family’s ranch. But Jenna shows up and forces him out of his isolation—and right into her arms. All he wants to do is pull her close and protect her from the world—and especially from her stalker of an ex. But David Merrick is on the hunt for Jenna and he won’t stop until she’s dead.

…And a romance worth the risk

Despite the looming danger posed by Jenna’s ex, Jack and Jenna find themselves inexorably drawn to each other, and just being with one another is healing them—both externally and emotionally. But can Jenna get past the fear factor of giving herself over to another man?

 Purchase on Amazon:Saved by the Rancher: Book One: The Hunted Series (ebook)

Saved by the Rancher: Book One: The Hunted Series (book)

*****

Lucky Like Us (Book 2 The Hunted Series)

Lucky Like Us book coverBook Description

Too sweet for her own good…

Elizabeth Hamilton is almost where she wants to be in life: she’s got the best bakery in town, she’s the daughter of the most feared and respected judge in the country, and business is booming—but she’s got no one to share it with. No one, that is, except a grumpy cat named The Muffin Man, and a social climbing psychotic stalker of an ex-boyfriend.

But all of the sweetness in Elizabeth’s life goes sour when she sees Sam Turner lying unconscious in the street—with car speeding toward him—she saves him without a moment’s hesitation—and unwittingly puts herself in the path of a serial murderer. As the only one who can identify the FBI’s Silver Fox Killer, she’s ended up in the hospital with a target on her back.

A man who could use some sugar…

Special Agent Sam Turner owes Elizabeth Hamilton his life—and now, he’s the only one who can save hers. After the Silver Fox almost killed the both of them, Elizabeth and Sam can’t help but spend time together, and against his better judgment, Sam gets emotionally involved with the charming, brave woman who rescued him from certain death. Hell-bent on protecting her from an ex desperate to get her back—despite a restraining order—and a psychopath bent on silencing her before she can identify him, Sam is prepared to give up all he has to keep Elizabeth safe…even his heart. 

They set a trap to catch the killer – putting Elizabeth in his hands, with Sam desperate to save her. If he’s lucky, he’ll get his man…and the girl.

Purchase on Amazon:Lucky Like Us: Book Two: The Hunted Series (ebook)

Lucky Like Us: Book Two: The Hunted Series (book)

*****

Review of Lucky Like Us

I started this series with Lucky Like Us because I enjoy reading books with a protagonist working in a Police/Security Role like FBI Special Agent Sam Turner who stars in this story. Sam and his partner Tyler Reed are working undercover to catch a serial killer known as the “Silver Fox” when the book opens.  Early in the story, the killer catches Sam off guard, poisons and beats him in the middle of a warehouse district where Elizabeth Hamilton resides.

When Elizabeth hears noises outside of her house, she rushes out to find Sam, barely conscious, lying in the street. When she realizes someone is trying to kill him, she risks her own life to protect his.  During this intense encounter, “Silver Fox” brutally attacks Elizabeth for intervening, and, in her desperation to fight back, she removes his facial mask revealing his face.  The attack ends with both Sam and Elizabeth sustaining life-threatening injuries and left for dead.  Fortunately, they are rescued in time and both survive.

The hospital serves as the setting for much of the story as both Sam and Elizabeth recuperate from their injuries. The pace slows down and more attention is given to character development and the relationship that develops between Sam and Elizabeth as they recover and bond over their shared traumatic ordeal. Once Sam learns he accidentally shot the woman who saved his life, he feels responsible for her well-being and spends a lot of time by Elizabeth’s bedside. Even though she is heavily sedated and constantly in and out of consciousness, they still manage to connect on a deeper level; his calming voice and warm touch soothe  her anxiety and distract her from the pain, while her concern, understanding, and acceptance of him draws him even closer to her.

Elizabeth is one of my favorite heroines. She comes from an affluent family, owns a successful bakery, and spends much of her time involved in philanthropic activities. Initially, I expected her to be fragile, passive, and dependent upon others to take care of her, especially in her vulnerable condition. However, this woman is intelligent and strong, both emotionally and physically. She takes action when needed and never once pities her situation.  Overall, she is calm, rational, and determined to have a normal life once again, even though she knows the “Silver Fox” is determined to see her dead since she is the only one who can identify him.

Once she recovers, she takes an active role to help apprehend the “Silver Fox,” even risking her life again by setting herself up as bait to lure the killer into the open.  However, while waiting to catch the serial killer, Elizabeth is also being stalked by a “wannabe” boyfriend whose disturbing behavior continues to escalate.  Although she understands the gravity of her situation regarding the serial killer, I was surprised at how easily she dismissed this stalker who begins to pose a serious threat to her well-being.

The romance and suspense of the plot accelerate once Elizabeth is released from the hospital. Arrangements are made for Sam to resume his role in the investigation by protecting Elizabeth until her life is no longer in danger.  As their relationship develops, the attraction between them intensifies into a full-blown passionate love affair. The lines of professional duty and personal interest become blurred once Sam and Elizabeth begin acting like a couple.

Although none of the characters seem to see this as an issue, I do think it has a negative impact on how the FBI proceeds with the investigation.  For example, when Elizabeth realizes that she knows the killer, she and Tyler work together to set a trap for him. They intentionally keep Sam out of the loop, not letting him know the real identity of the killer and about their about their plan to trap him at a charity event until the last minute.  Did they do this because they thought Sam’s personal involvement with Elizabeth would hinder their operation to apprehend the killer?  Since Sam is officially part of the investigation, I thought he should have been fully aware of all aspects of the case in order to do his job.

Nevertheless, an unpredictable and exciting climax occurs when Elizabeth does come face-to-face with “Silver Fox,” who is determined to eliminate her once and for all. The story continues after the climatic outcome, bringing up more questions to pique my interest until the end.  Lovers of romantic suspense will find this to be a great read.

I received a copy of Lucky Like Us from the author via Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

Good-Read-icon

*****

The Right Bride (Book 3 The Hunted Series)

The Right Bride coverBook Description

High-powered businessman Cameron Shaw doesn’t believe in love—until he falls head over heels for beautiful, passionate, and intensely private Martina. She’s perfect in so many ways, immediately bonding with his little girl. Martina could be his future bride and a delightful stepmother … if only Cameron weren’t blinded by his belief that Shelly, the gold-digging woman he’s promised to marry, is pregnant with his child.

No matter how much his friends protest his upcoming marriage to Shelly, Cameron knows he has a duty to his children, so he’s determined to see it through. Will he find out in time that Shelly’s lying and Marti’s the one who’s actually carrying his child? It’ll come down to the day of his wedding. After choosing Shelly over Marti at every turn, will he convince Marti she’s his world and the only woman he wants?

Purchase on Amazon: The Right Bride: Book Three: The Hunted Series (ebook)
The Right Bride: Book Three: The Hunted Series (book)

*****

Author Information

Jennifer Ryan writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find. Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three children, dog (Bella), and cat (Shadow). When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one.

Author Links

Twitter: @JenRyan_author / https://twitter.com/JenRyan_author

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Ryan/520021168037391

Website:  http://www.jennifer-ryan.com/index.html

*****

Guest Post by Jennifer Ryan for Sun Mountain Reviews

The Hunted Series

Villains: Love to Hate Them

I love a good villain. Writing them is so much fun. Reading about them and hating them is fun too. The first three books in The Hunted Series all open with an ominous introduction to the villain. Enjoy!

Saved by the Rancher

Excerpt:

David sat behind his massive desk, his hand wrapped around a tumbler of whiskey instead of his high-priced, highly educated, but still incompetent lawyer’s neck.

“She outmaneuvered us, Mr. Merrick. If we’d known about . . .”

“You should have known,” he bellowed, barely able to contain his temper. “I lost half of everything to that bitch!”

“At least it didn’t go public.”

“Get out.” Voice low, it resonated with his inner rage.

Alone, David stared out the windows of his thirty-sixth floor office at Merrick International. His company, and now she’d taken part of it. The fire of fury from that single thought shot through his veins, enraging him more. He tipped the drink to his mouth and downed a deep gulp, welcoming the familiar sting down his throat. Three men entered. He tracked their progress toward his desk with their reflection in the window. He’d used his elite security team to investigate many corporate deals, but now he needed them for something much more personal.

His back to them, he ordered, “Whatever it takes. Find her.”

They marched out eager to do his bidding.

David turned his focus from the city lights inside to the anger eating away at him. How could she do this? He’d make her regret winning today in court. She’d pay for besting him. No one got away with taking anything from him. No woman left him, especially not his wife.

He held his drink aloft and toasted the San Francisco skyline. “The game is on.”

Lucky Like Us

Excerpt:

A wisp of smoke rose from the barrel of his gun. The smell of gunpowder filled the air. Face raised to the night sky, eyes closed, he sucked in a deep breath and let it out slow, enjoying the moment. Adrenaline coursed through his veins with a thrill that left a tingle in his skin. His heart pounded and he felt more alive than he ever remembered feeling in his normal life.

Slowly, he lowered his head to the bloody body lying sprawled on the dirty pavement at his feet. The Silver Fox strikes again. The smile spread across his face. He loved the nickname the press had dubbed him after the police spoke of the elusive killer who had staged eight deaths. Who knew how many more? He did. He remembered every one of them in minute detail.

He kicked the dead guy in the ribs. Son of a bitch almost ruined everything, but you didn’t get to be in his position by leaving the details of a partnership to chance. They had a deal, but the idiot had gotten greedy, making him sloppy. He’d set up a meeting for tonight for a new hit, but hadn’t done the proper background investigation. His death was a direct result of his stupidity.

“You set me up with a cop!” he yelled at the corpse.

He dragged the body by the foot into the steel container, heedless of the man’s face scraping across the rough road. He dropped the guy’s leg. The loud thud echoed through the cavernous interior. He locked the door and walked through the deserted shipyard, indifferent.

Maybe he’d let his fury get the best of him, but anything, or anyone, who threatened to expose him or end his most enjoyable hobby needed to be eliminated. He had too much to lose, and he never lost.

Only one more loose end to tie up.

The Right Bride

Excerpt:

Shelly swiped the lip gloss wand across her lips, rolled them in and out to smooth out the color, and grinned at herself in the mirror, satisfied with the results. She pushed up her boobs, exposing just enough flesh to draw a man’s attention—and keep it—but still not look too obvious.

“Perfect. He’ll love it.”

Ah, Cameron Shaw. Rich and powerful, sexy as hell, and kind in a way that made it easy to get what she wanted. Exactly the kind of husband she always dreamed about marrying.

Shelly grew up in a nice, middle-class family. Ordinary. She desperately wanted to be anything but ordinary.

She’d grown up a plump youngster and a fat teenager. At fifteen, she resorted to bingeing and purging and starved herself thin. Skinny and beautiful, boys took notice. You can get a guy to do just about anything when you offer them hot sex. By the time she graduated high school, she’d transformed herself into the most popular girl in the class.

Destined to live a glamorous life in a big house with servants and fancy cars and clothes, meeting Cameron in the restaurant had been a coup. Executives and wealthy businessmen frequented the upscale restaurant. She’d gone fishing and landed her perfect catch. Now she needed to hold on and reel in a marriage proposal.

*****

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Click on the link below to enter The Hunted Series Giveaway for

The Complete Hunted Series in exclusive paperback

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*****

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