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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Rebel Jewel by Natalina Reis


Author: Natalina Reis
Title: Rebel Jewel
Series: The Jewel Chronicles, book 3
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Release Date: August 31, 2019
Cover Designer: Soxsational Cover Art
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Milenda never wanted the responsibilities that came from being a royal heiress. After three years in exile, she’s called back home to ignite a revolution. A revolution that will spill innocent blood and endanger her husband and baby daughter.

After a lifetime in captivity, Jaali only wants a quiet life with his wife and daughter. But the gods have other plans, ones that promise a wave of destruction. To rescue their people from the Elders and free the enslaved, Milenda and Jaali must put aside their fears, summon all their courage and wits, and march head-on into a bloody revolution.

Even if their love for each other carries them, unscathed and victorious, to the end, the revolution may yet destroy the lives of the ones they hold dearest.

Rebel Jewel is the third and final book in The Jewel Chronicles. A unique interracial romance set against a breathtaking fantasy world with complex characters and twists at every turn. Let Rebel Jewel take you to another world.



The smell of blood suffocated him. There was no running from it. It surrounded him, tightening its nauseating grip on Jaali’s senses, clinging to his nostrils, not letting him go.

Where is Milenda? Jaali scanned the area around him, his glance bouncing off objects and undefined shapes, straining through the red fog closing in on him. Even the mist was tinted with blood, snaking over the wet ground, the exhale of a hidden monster. Milenda was nowhere to be seen. His heart pumped harder, the drumming echoing in his ears, deafening and frantic.

He tried to move, but invisible hands held him steadfast, feet rooted to the dirt-covered ground, unseen shackles around his ankles, breaking through skin and digging into his flesh.

No, not again.

With all the strength he had left, Jaali pulled and pushed against whatever held him in place, the sting of wounded flesh shooting up his legs, a feeling all too familiar to him. He was enslaved again. He thrashed harder, blood now running down to his bare feet, warm and frightening.

A shadow emerged from the fog. Milenda! But, no, it couldn’t be. Its frame was too tall and broad. Jaali opened his mouth to yell for help, but the word never left his lips. Panic rose inside of him, insidious and overwhelming. Why had they returned to Afrika? He had warned his wife it was too dangerous. Too many people wanted them dead.

The shadowy figure took shape as it approached him—brown legs the size of tree trunks and long arms to match.

No, no, no.

The sight of an impressive bald head choked him. It couldn’t be. The duivel was dead. And yet, there he was, striding toward him like an out-of-control transport. Jaali yelled out, his voice freed from whatever was muting it, and pulled harder on the invisible chains holding his ankles. To no avail. The shackles held steady as if glued to the ground.

The slaver proceeded toward him, a cruel smirk curling the corners of his lips. “I’ve got you now, my beautiful boy. You can’t run this time.” Mnyama threw his massive weight into his stride, coming closer and closer to Jaali. “It’s been too long. Ready to give me some of that milky goodness?”

“You’re dead,” Jaali screamed, his voice absorbed by the thick fog. “It’s not possible.”

The large man took a few more steps, a growl-like chuckle leaving his lips. “Well, I’m not. And I missed you, little white boy. My friends missed you too.”

From the thickest part of the fog, where the blood seemed to have coagulated into disgusting blobs, a few more shadows appeared, coalescing into several human bodies, both male and female—all unwelcome echoes of his past. The slaver had brought his cronies.

“No, you’re dead.” Jaali’s voice came out as a sob, a heart-wrenching plea to whatever gods were listening. “I killed you.”

The group of human shadows united in their progress toward him. “It’s about time we have ourselves a good orgy.” Mnyama glanced at his friends. “Any preference about who does the boy first?”

He couldn’t be sure the ear-splitting scream he heard came from himself. Jaali closed his eyes tight and, like a mantra, repeated the words, “It’s not possible. You’re dead, duivel. This is only a nightmare.”

“Well, you should have stayed in Isvärld,” a familiar female voice said. “You wouldn’t be going through this again.”



*  *  *
The Jewel Chronicles Series

Desert Jewel
book 1

Snow Jewel
book 2



Author of We Will Always Have the Closet, Desert Jewel, and Loved You Always, Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes.



After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She li



ved in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.



Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.





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The Duchess in His Bed by Lorraine Heath


The
Duchess in His Bed
Sins
For All Seasons Book 4
by
Lorraine Heath


Genre:
Historical Romance 

For
a duchess with practical desires, falling in love is an inconceivable
part of her plan…
 As
owner of the Elysium Club which caters to women’s fantasies, Aiden
Trewlove is accustomed to introducing adventurous ladies to sin and
vice. But he is uncharacteristically intrigued by the mysterious
beauty who visits his club one night, yearning to indulge in the
forbidden—with him. Drawn to her indomitable spirit, he breaks his
rule of never becoming personally involved with his clientele and is
determined to fully awaken her desires.
A
recent widow, Selena Sheffield, Duchess of Lushing, has never known
passion, not until Aiden’s slow, sensual seduction leads her on a
journey of discovery and incredible pleasure. But her reasons for
visiting the notorious club are not all that they seem.
As
Selena’s motives become complicated by love, she finds herself with
a most unexpected choice: forge ahead with a secret plan that could
secure her future—or follow her heart which could prove ruinous.






New
York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lorraine Heath always
dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of
Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases for a publicist,
articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When
she read a romance novel, she became not only hooked on the genre,
but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and
rogues. She's been writing about them ever since. Her work has been
recognized with numerous industry awards including RWA's RITA(R).






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Westward Lies the Sun by Robert H. Kono


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Fiction
Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing


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Greg Sonoda, a Japanese American attorney, embarks on a quest to determine what influence God has in his life. In the back of his mind is the question, first and foremost, of whether God exists at all. God is such an elusive concept to a humanist, who, from his earliest years, was made to question God’s very existence—he suffered in a concentration camp for the duration of WWII—and he doubts his efforts will ever come to fruition.

In Westward Lies the Sun, Greg’s search for truth is given voice during the frequent debates with his poker foursome, although the late-night discussions produce more questions than answers. But they do serve to articulate thoughts and feelings about sundry issues such as the search for Greg’s family heirloom: a samurai sword stolen during Greg’s incarceration in the camps. More significantly, Greg is forced to ponder God’s hand in his family’s survival after being shipwrecked on a small, uninhabited Micronesian island. Greg and his family make several discoveries on the island that lead to financial success and miraculous physical healing. But will the island also heal Greg spiritually?

The family sword—Onimaru—is ultimately used in a showdown on the island with Greg’s quest for God, together with his mental and physical survival, hanging in the balance.


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About the Author

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Born in 1932, the author, Robert H. Kono, is a third generation Japanese American (Sansei) who spent the duration of WWII in several concentration camps in the United States. An only child, he accompanied his father and ailing mother to war-torn Japan in 1946, thus beginning a solitary growing up as a look-alike American outsider. He managed to return to America, the beloved land of his birth, in 1959 to get married and complete his college education. He is the father of two sons. He resides in Beaverton, OR.



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Friday, September 20, 2019

The Beekeeper's Bullet by Lance Hawvermale


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Historical Romance
Date Published: August 2019
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


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American Ellenor Jantz lives in rural Germany in 1917, the Great War raging only a few miles from where she works as a beekeeper for a wealthy loyalist. When a British airman crashes behind enemy lines, Ellenor must choose between aiding him or handing him over to the German authorities, who have just moved a squadron of flying aces into the manor house where she is staying.

Injured pilot Alec Corbin-Dawes, Royal Flying Corps, finds himself at Ellenor's mercy. Yet he is determined to make his way farther into Germany to rescue his sister within the next four days. How can he travel all those miles in time, now that his plane is downed, and still avoid capture behind enemy lines?


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About the Author

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Lance Hawvermale is an English professor and beekeeper from Texas.



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Hanlanka 8pc LED motorcycle light set




This awesome set of  Hanlanka 8 piece LED motorcycle lights is so easy to install and use. My husband is building a trike and wanted a set of LED lights to really make it stand out. We have priced professional lights and installs at Bike Rally's and they are just plain nuts for what they want to charge. This set is very affordable and you do not need a professional to install them.

With the set you get everything you need for these lights. Included are  2 - 4.73 inch strips with 6 LED lights,  4 - 8.58 inch strips with 12 LED lights,  2 - 12.6inch strips with 18 LED lights, a 4 Buttons Wireless Remote, 1 piece of 3M Tape for Controller, 1 piece Extra Fuse for Controller and 2  Y-type Terminals.

The light are RGB 5050 SMD LED with 24 static color combinations and Solid Color Modes, 2 Color Cycle Modes, 3 Flashing Modes, and 1 Fading Mode. you can change the LED color and adjust the brightness as you wish with the wireless remote control. And there is also a Sound-activated function, where the lights pulse to the music or other sound.

The lights have an adhesive backing for easy placement even in tough or curved spots. The strips can even be cut if they are too long. These are a Universal fit for DC 12 Volt so can be used on motorcyles, cars, vans, trucks and really anything that has a battery.

These are IP68 Waterproof for the LED strips. The control box and remote are not waterproof. The remote control will work withing 32 feet.


I either received this product for free or at a discounted price and have chosen to leave this honest and unbiased review.

HanLanKa 4 pc car LED strip light set



This set of 4 pc car LED strip light by HanLanKa is just what we were looking for. I just got a new car and wanted to personalize it. I have seen cars with lights like these and love them. I thought they would be outrageously expensive and take lots of work as well as a mechanic or electrician to install them. I was wrong on both parts.

The set comes with 4 strips of 12 lights for a total of 48 lights. They are super easy to install.  No tools needed even. They have adhesive backing to easily stick to the floor or under your dash and plug into a cigarette lighter. It takes about 5 minutes to have them installed and ready to use. The lights are DC 12 Volt with an output of 10 Watts. 

The set even comes with a remote control that allows you to be able to choose your color scheme. There 8 different colors of RGB LED.  You can have the lights solid, flashing, changing and even pulsing to your music or voice. These are even dimmable. Everything works from the remote control. The remote does need to be pointed at black receiver box and should be in close proximity.


Check these out on Amazon

I either received this product for free or at a discounted price and have chosen to leave this honest and unbiased review.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee


Snow
in July
by
Kim Iverson Headlee

Genre:
Medieval Paranormal Romance 

From
the award-winning pen of Kim Iverson Headlee comes the exciting,
poignant love story of a distressed damsel who wields a fierce
fireplace poker and the smoking hot knight she must save from
himself.


"Captivating!"
~ Kemberlee Lugo-Shortland, Heart of Fiction

Sir
Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a
rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle
of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the
estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity,
but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to
protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily
broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts,
and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing
will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives
stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land,
its problems, and its lady.

Lady
Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced
marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered
her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken
the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time
to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise
to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither
comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman… unless it snows in
July.

Alain
is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting;
Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman
"squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking
dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king
Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike
any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their
very souls lie in the balance.











Kim
Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family,
cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife.
People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old
house ruins--the latter having been occupied as recently as the
mid-twentieth century--seem to be sticking around for a while
yet.


Kim has been a published novelist since 1999 with the
first edition of Dawnflight (Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and
has been studying the Arthurian legends for nigh on half a century.







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Focus Lost by Doug Cooper


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Thriller
Date Published: April 2019
Publisher: Rare Bird Books


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The line between passion and obsession runs through us all.

Levi Combs never planned to rocket to stardom.

Eva Florez knew he would the moment she saw him.

Gabe Adams didn’t want anything to do with celebrities.

But after Gabe’s sister sells his photos of Levi with a young starlet to a tabloid website, their lives become intertwined forever, bound by rage and retribution.

Blending the nuance and insight of literary fiction with the big-screen magic of a Hollywood thriller, Focus Lost whisks readers into a world of temptation, indulgence, and revenge, daring them to take a bite of the forbidden fruit.



 Excerpt

The road twists and turns away from Los Angeles. A man and girl ride inside an open Jeep. The vehicle slows and bends onto a grassy lane. Trees line both sides, connecting above, cloistering the path. Branches smack against the grill and windshield, raining leaves on the passengers, actor Levi Combs and young starlet Emily James.

A blonde ponytail sprouts from Emily’s head. She rubs the debris from her bare, milky shoulders and legs and swats at the swarm of gnats swirling through the cab. “How did you ever find this place?”

“Driving late at night.” Levi downshifts into first gear to navigate the uneven terrain. Strands of his black curly hair bounce against the red bandana wrapped around his head. He nudges up the black Ferragamo sunglasses resting on the tip of his nose. “You’ll see, you need places like this to escape the cameras.”

Even at only seventeen, Emily already knows that. She had been a working actor since she was three. Levi didn’t get his break until he was twenty. “But what do you do out here?” Emily says, leaning toward the middle to avoid more of the invasive underbrush. She latches onto Levi’s forearm as he continues to work the gearshift.

“Just roam,” Levi says, powering the Jeep through the brush. A dilapidated farmhouse and barn appear ahead. He drives past the buildings into an overgrown orchard. Wild plants and grass extend up through the decaying branches spotted with leaves but bearing no fruit. “Solitude is your only friend in our business. Everyone either wants a share of what you have or to keep you from getting theirs.” He increases speed, swerving between the dying trees. The thick weeds and fallen branches scrape against the undercarriage.

Emily clutches the safety bar. “Shouldn’t you slow down?”

Levi accelerates, passing the last row of trees. “Hang on.”

The weeded field drops off into a canyon fifty yards ahead. Panic seizes Emily. “Come on. What are you doing? Just stop.” The space between the Jeep and the canyon decreases. Shrieking, Emily closes her eyes and curls up into a ball on the seat.

Levi stomps the breaks. The Jeep skids to a halt. Levi and Emily thrust forward. The seatbelts tighten and yank them back into the seats. The edge of the canyon appears just beyond the hood. A cloud of dust passes over them. Levi kills the Jeep. The sound of the engine fades into the fog blanketing the bottom of the canyon. Nearby rocky peaks poke through the mist like islands in a white sea. Unbuckling his seatbelt, Levi stands and looks out above the windshield. “Great view, huh?”

Emily uncoils and opens her eyes to the tranquil, majestic setting. She rips off the seatbelt and launches from the Jeep. “You’re an asshole.” She stomps to the edge of the canyon and stares into the emptiness.

Levi trails after her. “Relax. You weren’t in danger. I told you, I come here all the time.”

“But what if we had rolled over?” Emily asks, the fear revealing the young girl she never allows herself to be.

Stepping up next to her, Levi bumps his hip playfully into hers. “But we didn’t.”

“Still,” Emily says, accentuating her pouting with a little girl’s voice. “Why do you have to push everything?”

“That’s funny, coming from the queen of the fast lane. You know I wouldn’t let anything happen to myself. The world would be such a far drearier place without me.” Levi wraps his arm around her, wiggling it to loosen her up. “There’s a waterfall a short hike from here.” He spins her toward him. “What do you say we go for a swim?”

“I suppose.” A restrained smile creeps out through her dissipating anger. “But I’m still mad at you.”



About the Author

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Doug Cooper is the author of the award-winning novels Outside In and The Investment Club and 2019 thriller Focus Lost. Always searching, he has traveled to over twenty-five countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love.


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Hawk by Jessie Cooke

Title: Hawk: Skulls the Early Years
Series: Skulls Motorcycle Club
Author: Jessie Cooke
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: September 12, 2019



Are some men just born bad...or do circumstances conspire to make them that way?

Grant “Hawk” Benning will go down in history as one of the baddest, most hated men on the eastern seaboard...and then some. Hawk cut his teeth on leather and steel, growing up heavily influenced by a culture of violence, drugs and crime. He would navigate the pathways between adolescence and adulthood using only the tools he'd been given...realizing too late that the club that made him a man, would likely bring about his ultimate demise.

Hawk's life, his destiny, was with the Southside Skulls. Prospect at seventeen, Vice President at twenty-one. Two and a half decades of riding alongside the prolific Doc Marshall. Hawk will have a full life...but one wrought with a loneliness built by his reluctance to allow any glimpse of the man who really lived behind the kutte. 

During his life, Hawk will fall in love with three women. The first will become his closest friend and she'll leave a legacy that will both brighten and darken Hawk's days to come.

The second, a free spirit...the one in touch with her own soul...the one who may have taught him how to reach his, if only she'd had the time.

And the last...the woman who would ultimately give him something that no one else ever could...a chance to glimpse and explore the best parts of himself...the parts that even he didn't know existed.
Ride along, read along, and make your own decision in the end. Was Grant “Hawk” Benning born to be bad...or was the deck just stacked against him from the get-go?







“You can’t bring that kid in here.” Grant stood next to Cal, his mom’s old man, outside of a “Go-Go” bar on Washington Street. Grant had been to the bar before, on more than one occasion. Cal usually made him stay in the back with the “girls.” Grant didn’t really have any complaints about hanging out with the girls. They were pretty, they smelled good, and most of them were nice to him. They gave him soda pop and chocolates and they let him watch The Twilight Zone and Bewitched on the television in their dressing room while he waited for Cal. Grant thought it was funny they called it a “dressing” room since they seemed to do more undressing than dressing in there, but that wasn’t his business, so he stayed out of it. Grant spent a lot of time with Cal since his mom worked so much, and Cal taught him a lot. One of the first things he taught him was that he should always mind his own business. One of Cal’s favorite sayings was, “Row your own boat and keep your fucking oars outta mine.”

“Do you know who the fuck you’re talking to?” Cal asked the big, bald bouncer. “Fuck” was Cal’s favorite word; he worked it into every conversation and nearly every other word. Grant’s mother asked Cal not to say it in front of Grant when they first got together, but it didn’t seem to Grant like Cal listened to much of what his mother said. After a while, his mother started saying it too...sometimes. Grant didn’t care about that, but what bothered him was that the first time that he tried saying it, she had washed his mouth out with soap. His fourth-grade teacher had talked to them just that day about double standards. Grant didn’t understand much of it, and he hadn’t even realized he’d been listening. He was almost proud of himself for pointing it out to his mother. Of course, when he did, he got the soap bar a second time. From then on, he kept his use of the word to times when his mother wasn’t around.

“I don’t care if you’re the fucking Governor of Massachusetts,” the bald guy said. “You’re not bringing that kid in here.”

Cal didn’t like the governor, or the mayor, or the police. He talked a lot about the system being “fucked” and the cops being “corrupt” and the “man” trying to keep him down. It confused Grant a little bit because despite Cal’s obvious dislike of the government, he was definitely proud to be an American. Cal rode a Harley with an American flag painted on the tank, and at his club there was a big American flag that hung right next to their black and white Skulls flag. Grant listened to Cal and his MC brothers complain all the time about “foreigners” taking everything over. Foreign cars and motorcycles pissed them off, and they had derogatory names for anyone with a different skin color or accent. But still, Cal didn’t like the governor and Grant thought that the bouncer might end up being sorry he brought him into it.

Cal sighed, and to any other bystander he looked like he was turning to leave. But at eleven years old, Grant had already witnessed three years of Cal’s craziness and he knew well what was coming next. Cal wasn’t all that big, but to hear him tell it, he’d been kicking asses in the Watertown neighborhood he grew up in since he was five years old. Grant hadn’t really believed that at first, but he did now, and he had a feeling the big guy was about to believe it too. Grant took a step backwards to get out of the way and he saw the bouncer smile, like he thought he had won. Then just like that, Cal’s fist came out of nowhere and slammed into the guy’s face. Cal had never used his fist on the boy, but Grant had seen him use it on plenty of people and he knew it had to hurt, especially because he heard the man’s nose crack. Grant had watched Cal knock out men twice his size, make them bleed, and even make them cry. Cal always told him that if you wanted respect in this world, you had to be willing to fight for it. Grant tried using that line on the school principal the last time he got in a fight on the playground. It had gotten him suspended.

Cal stepped on the now prone, incoherent bouncer and the guy let out a painful cry. Cal pointed to the small skull on the front of his leather vest that matched the big one on his back and he said, “The Southside Skulls own this bar.” The man must be stupid, Grant thought, because he opened his mouth to try to argue. Cal pressed down harder with his boot and the man howled in pain. Cal waited for him to shut up again and then he went on, “It don’t matter whose name is on a piece of paper. The Skulls own this fucking city and your pitiful little boss knows it. Now you know it and if you ever forget it again, I’ll make sure you forget how to breathe too. You under-fucking-stand me?”

The nod the man managed looked, to Grant, like it hurt down to his bones. Cal smiled and then looked at the boy and said, “You coming? Already wasted too much fucking time on you today.”

Cal stepped over the man and Grant had to step on part of the big guy’s arm to get to the door. He didn’t understand why Cal was suddenly mad at him, but he wasn’t surprised. Cal got mad at him a lot. He never argued with Grant’s mom about “watching” the boy, but it was obvious to Grant he didn’t want to. But Cal didn’t argue with Grant’s mom about anything. He always just smiled when she was mad, let her yell at him, or whatever, and then he usually went and did things his way anyway. Grant sometimes tried that too, but nine times out of ten he got his butt whooped for it.

Once they were inside the bar, Grant had to blink his eyes real fast to keep the thick smoke from making them water. His nose burned and the bright lights from the small stage blinded him. It was disorienting and he stood still for a minute just trying to get his bearings. He felt Cal’s palm tap the back of his head. “Go on in the back,” he barked at him, “and keep your oars in your own boat!”

Grant started toward the back and he had just passed the stage and was almost to the entrance for the dressing rooms when he heard the rhythmic pounding of a drum. He stopped dead in his tracks and when he didn’t think anyone was looking, he ducked into the shadows alongside the stage and waited. He knew what the drums meant. It had been almost a year since he’d seen her, but he hadn’t been able to forget her. He crouched low in the hopes that no one would spot him, and he watched the brilliant blue headdress appear from behind the shiny curtain. The vividly colored feathers framed the woman’s pretty face and fell down to the floor on both sides of her body.

Grant held his breath as he watched the woman begin to move her body slowly in time with the drums. Occasionally she turned slightly in his direction so the leering men on the far side of the room could see her. She held a big fan with yellow and lime green feathers in front of her body and she moved it up and down, just short of revealing the “things” Grant knew he wasn’t supposed to look at. With her other hand, she held one with pink and white feathers behind her back. Her long, brown legs were bare, and her feet were adorned with sparkly blue high-heeled shoes. She was beautiful, but Grant’s favorite part about her was her hair. He loved her long, straight black hair. It hung down her back, disappearing under the fan, and then reappearing and traveling down to her ankles. It shone under the lights, waved when she danced, and it looked like if you touched it, it would be as soft as silk.

The announcer, a fat guy with a bad comb-over and acne scars all over his face, introduced her as soon as the drumming stopped. “Put your hands together and then get them dollars out, boys. We got our own little squaw in the house tonight, Hialeah, the sexiest Cherokee woman this side of the reservation.” The men clapped and whistled and yelled things Grant didn’t understand. When they quieted down again, soft music started playing and Hialeah began to dance again. Grant didn’t know what it was but something about the way she danced made him happy inside.

The men were yelling at her to drop her fans as she swayed to the music and they were reaching up onto the stage, trying to touch her. Grant wanted to tell them to stop, but he knew better. If Cal caught him watching the dancers, or talking to the men, he might just know what that fist felt like firsthand. Instead, he crept as close as he could, staying on the side of the stage where it was dark, but positioning himself so that he could get a better look at her. The music sped up and she danced faster, turning her back to the howling men and finally dropping that fan. Grant watched the men stuff money into the strap on her undies and he tried not to look at her bare bottom. But her skin was so smooth...and such a pretty color that he could hardly help himself. Hialeah turned back to face the men and she began to sway and lower the fan in front when crashing sounds and dozens of men dressed in black jackets and vests and helmets were suddenly everywhere.

“Boston PD! Everyone down! Get down on the floor, now!”

Grant’s heart was racing as he searched the dark bar with his eyes, looking for Cal. The place was chaos and he couldn’t see him anywhere. Half-naked women were running around, some were screaming and some crying. Men were dropping down to the floor like flies that had been swatted, and panic began to well up inside of him. He looked toward the door, thinking about running, but the police had it blocked. He looked toward the dressing rooms, and they were standing guard there as well. Lastly, he looked back up on the stage and to his shock, a prone Hialeah was gesturing to him with her hand. “Come here little man.” He was terrified, but if he went up on the stage they would see him...everyone would. “I know it’s scary, but all we have to do is exactly what they tell us, okay?”

Finally, with nowhere else to go, Grant climbed up on the stage and got down on his belly, sliding himself over until he was close to Hialeah. He felt her soft hand reach out and cover his and she whispered, “Be brave, little guy. It’s going to be okay.”

Grant was about to nod again but the sound of a pair of boots landing on the stage and the vibrations it sent through him caused him to gasp and look up. When he did, there was a big, black gun in his face and the man behind it suddenly flipped up the goggles he was wearing and said, “Fuck, you’re just a kid.”

“He’s with me,” Hialeah said. “Please don’t hurt him.”

The cop looked them both up and down and then shaking his head he said, “Just be still, both of you.” He left them there and while Grant lay listening to the chaos around them for the next hour, she held his hand tightly and reassured him every so often that things were going to be okay. Grant was still scared but he was also confused. He knew he should want it to all be over so he could go home, and part of him did. But the other part of him was so comfortable with the gentle woman that he almost wanted it to last all night.

* * *

“Who are you?” Grant was at the police station. He had to pee and he was hungry. He’d missed lunch and now dinner. The cops had brought him a hamburger and French fries and a Coke, but he hadn’t touched them. They were trying to bring him over to their side, and he wasn’t about to go. Cal had warned him dozens of times about how tricky they could be. They’d been asking him the same questions for hours, and mainly who took him to the bar, but he wasn’t going to tell them. He wasn’t a snitch. He looked at the man in the suit who’d just come into the room, but he didn’t answer him. The cop in the uniform who had been with him since they got there answered for him:

“He says his name is Grant Benning. He gave me his home phone number, or so he says it is. I’ve been calling since we picked him up, but no one is answering. He won’t tell me who took him to the bar. That Indian chick, the stripper with all the feathers, she finally admitted he wasn’t with her.” Hialeah held his hand as long as she could during the raid, and she’d even talked the cop into letting her ride in the same police car as him on the way to the station. Once they were there, however, they told him he couldn’t go with her to booking. He still hadn’t seen Cal and the thought of being alone with the cops caused panic to consume him. Cal never said anything good about the cops. He always told Grant if he got “hassled” by them that he should keep his mouth shut and not tell them a thing.

Grant had been as stoic as possible up to that moment, but when they tried to take her away, he pulled his small hand out of the cop’s grasp and threw his body back at Hialeah. He gripped her around the waist and held on tight. It took three cops to peel him off her and when he looked up at her face a tear was running down the side of it. She smiled at him though and said, “It’s going to be okay, little man.” Grant had a feeling he’d never see her again, and that made him sad, but her kindness went far in chasing away the terror he was feeling inside. He watched them take her away and then he set his jaw, raised his chin, and walked with the cop to the interview room like a man.

The cop in the suit sat down and looked at the food that Grant had pushed off to the side. “Not hungry?” Grant shook his head. “It’s hot outside. That Coke looks good. You’re not thirsty either?” Again, Grant shook his head. “You talk?” He nodded. “How old are you, Grant?”

“Eleven.”

“Who do you live with?”

Grant sighed. He’d already answered all of these questions. He wanted to use the “F” word again, but he bit it back and said, “With my mother, Sarah Benning, and she’s not answering the phone because she’s at work. She works at Louie’s Seafood Restaurant in the Back Bay and when they get busy, they don’t answer their phone. I already told him,” he tossed his head at the uniformed officer, “all of this.”

“All except who took you to the bar. Was it your old man?”

“My old man took off before I was born.”

“Does your mom have a boyfriend?”

Grant shrugged. “You’ll have to ask her.”

“Grant, who do you stay with when your mom goes to work?” The cop was trying to trick him. He thought he was talking to an average eleven-year-old.

“I’m eleven. I don’t need a babysitter.”

“Well, Grant, I’m looking at your address and it seems impossible to me that you walked or rode your bike to that bar, so how did you get there?”

“Maybe I took the subway.”

“Maybe you did, or maybe you went in there with some guy we didn’t catch today and you’re afraid to tell us who that is. We can protect you, Grant, and your mom.”

“I don’t need protecting and neither does my mom.”

The police officer sighed. Changing tactics he said, “Grant, how is school?”

“It’s summer break.”

“Mm-hmm, but how do you do in school? You get good grades?”

“Yep. I’m a fucking genius.” Grant struggled in school, a lot. But he wasn’t going to tell this guy that. It was not his business.

The man cocked an eyebrow and said, “Your mom know you use those kinds of words?” Grant shrugged. When Grant didn’t answer him the cop said, “So Grant, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

A loud knock on the door drew the detective’s attention away. He got up and went to the door. He cracked it open and whispered to whoever was there. Grant couldn’t hear what they were saying but after a few seconds the detective pulled the door open and Grant could see a short, stocky woman with white hair standing in the doorway. She smiled at him, like she knew him. Grant didn’t smile back. “Grant, I’m Mrs. Haddock. I work with the police and help them when their cases involve children. Would you like to come with me? We can get you something to eat, and talk.” Grant was starving, but he was determined not to take anything the cops gave him. The lady had a badge on her waist, but no gun, and she looked like someone’s old grandma. He wasn’t going to tell her any more than he told the cops, but his stomach felt like it was eating into his backbone and maybe taking food from her would be okay. He stood up and went to the door. As the detective was about to close it behind him Grant turned and looked up at him and said:

“President.”

The detective lifted his eyebrows again and said, “That’s ambitious. You’ll have to make sure you stay out of trouble and...”

“Of my own motorcycle club.”

“Well then,” the cop said, putting his hands in his pockets and looking down at the exhausted, hungry little boy. Grant kept his chin up and his dark eyes locked into the blue ones of the tall man looking down at him. Another thing Cal had taught him...no matter what you’re feeling, never let anyone see your fear. They held each other’s gaze for what seemed like a long time before the older woman put her hand on his shoulder and said:

“Come on, Grant. Let’s go get you something to eat and call your mom again.”

Grant was about three steps from the door when he heard the detective say, “I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that one.” It wouldn’t be until years later when that cop was over halfway to retirement that he would realize how right he was.








Jessie Cooke writes hot romance novels about tough guys, bad boys, bikers, fighters and lovers and the women of strong character who tame them.




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