I’ve been sitting on the edge of my chair for the past few weeks just waiting for this day to arrive so I could finally – FINALLY – show you the amazeballs cover graphic designer Kristian Norris made for A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: AIDEN. Ready??
I know you all haven’t read the book yet, but when I tell you this cover is a perfect depiction of the book, believe it!!! And did you notice the Easter Egg the heroine is holding??? Hee hee. It’s a copy of book 1 in the series, A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK. So cool. So ridiculously cool.
I’m doing a professional cover reveal tour with N.N. Lights Bookheaven for this cover, too. Plus, I’m doing a $10.00 Amazon gc giveaway
Open to US residents only.
Runs June 1 – June 10, 2021.
Winner will be drawn on June 11, 2021.
Here’s one of the fabulous graphics she made me: When you read the book, you’ll know why this Chocolate lab is so important – she’s actually one of the main characters!
Here’s the blurb:
Lexi Buckley wants answers about her younger sister’s death. The police have labeled it a suicide, but Lexi doesn’t believe it. Stymied in her investigation, she doesn’t know where to turn next. After a chance encounter with a private investigator, she thinks her prayers have been answered.
Aiden Keane has never been an answer to a prayer before, but he agrees to help Lexi. A quirky combo of brains and beauty, the pixie blonde makes him feel things no professional ever should for a client.
When their investigation puts Lexi’s life in jeopardy, her safety becomes his number one priority. The hard part is not falling for her.
Here’s a little snippet between Lexi and Aiden…
After the best sleep he’d had in weeks, Aiden woke refreshed, recharged, and starving. A quick protein shake and he was out the door, his dog on his heels.
Brontë was in rare form as he ran her in the park on the beautiful June morning. He knew Dylan ran between five and seven miles every day, and it seemed he’d gotten Brontë up to his level. The dog, who typically started to slow down at about mile three of Aiden’s runs, was still going strong at the five-mile marker.
“I should leave you with Dylan more often,” he told the dog when he stopped and found a bench to sit and rest for a bit. “He pushes you a lot more than I do.”
The dog gave him one of her serene smiles, stretched out on the ground next to the bench and yawned before dropping her head over her paws.
When he pulled his beeping phone from his running shorts, an unfamiliar number crossed the screen.
“This is Aiden.”
“Oh, hi…I wasn’t sure if I’d get you or an answering machine. This is Alexis. Um, Lexi. We met. Yesterday. On the plane?”
Aiden smiled at how nervous—and cute—she sounded. How could she possibly think he’d forgotten her?
He stretched his legs out and dropped his free hand to scratch Brontë behind her ear. “You get home okay after we landed?”
“Um, yes. No problems.”
“Well, what can I do for you on this beautiful day, Lexi?”
“Oh, is it? I haven’t been out yet. I, um, had a lot to do when I got home.”
He chuckled to himself, thinking he wouldn’t be surprised if she hit him up with some statistic about how much of a vacation a person who just got home from a vacation needed.
A deep breath came through the phone, and the idea she was trying to gear herself up to ask for help drifted through him. Should he take pity on her and offer his services again, or wait for her to ask?
He had nowhere to be, nothing to do, so he slouched down even more on the bench and waited her out.
“Well,” she said after clearing her throat, “I’m calling because, after everything we talked about yesterday, and because you’re a, you know, private investigator, I, well, I want to ask for your help. Hire you. I want to hire you to help me find out what happened to my sister.”
His grin grew.
“I don’t know how much you charge,” she continued. “But I need help—your kind of help and expertise. I can’t do more than I’ve already done, and I’m at a standstill. So, like I said, I’d like to hire you to look into it. I don’t have much available cash now, but I can give you a retainer to start.”
“Don’t worry about the money. I’ve got a few days free, so how about I take a look at what you’ve got first, no charge.”
“Oh, I can’t not pay you. It seems…wrong, somehow.”
“Like I said, let’s not worry about it right now. Wait to see if I even have anything to offer. You may have already exhausted every avenue.”
“I seriously doubt that.”
He could hear the gears in her mind turning. “When would you like to start?”
“The Reverend John Trusler is credited with saying, ‘There’s no time like the present,’ so how about now?”
The tiny breath he heard her pull in charmed him into another smile. In truth, he’d been hoping she’d say now.
“I’m sorry. That was rude. You’re probably busy after just returning home. Got a thousand things to do. We can make it another time at your convenience.”
“Give me an hour and text me your address,” he said, pushing to a stand. Brontë lifted her head, and when Aiden gave her the signal to rise, she did and positioned herself by his side.
“Really? Oh, thank you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. I’ll text you my address right now. And I’ll see you shortly. Thanks, again.”
“Lexi? One thing before we hang up.”
Aiden rubbed his dog’s head, rewarded with a lolling tongue and a doggie-grin.
“How do you feel about dogs?”
I don’t have any purchase links or a release date yet, but when I do you can be sure I’ll be posting them EVERYWHERE!! hee hee.
When I wrote my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, there was one character who popped into two of the books that I absolutely loved, Private Eye Rick Bannerman. Cocky, self-deprecating, of course handsome, and with a very dark past, I wanted to give him an HEA of his own and a woman who could stand toe to toe with him in every circumstance. A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK, was born from that premise. It was my first ROMANTIC SUSPENSE and the next book in the series, AIDEN, is coming out soon, so I figured today would be a good day to give Rick and Abby Laine some blog time.
Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. He doesn’t get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.
Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client’s vengeful husband, but refuses Rick’s offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.
Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.
When had her life turned into this stressful jumble?
Abby grabbed the bottle of extra-strength pain reliever she kept in her kitchen junk drawer, shook out three tablets, and swallowed them with a small glass of tap water.
“Head that bad?” Rick asked from behind her.
“I let it go too long.” She rolled her neck, massaged a muscle where it connected with her shoulder. “I should have gotten in front of it right when it started in court. But I don’t like to take anything when I’m working. The pills make me fuzzyheaded.“
Rick reached around her and grabbed the bottle from the counter. “These are plain over-the-counter tablets. I’d think you’d have something stronger, something prescribed, for when the pain gets this bad. I can see the headache all over your face and shoulders. You’re wearing the pain like you’d wear makeup.”
“You can’t know what a boost to my fragile ego having you here is, Bannerman.”
“Your ego is fine,” he said, moving a step closer.
Her kitchen was huge by Manhattan standards. She could have four people stand in it and still have room to cook around them. Not so when Rick was with her. Sure, he was tall, but so were her brothers-in-law. They never made her feel like her personal space was so congested when they were visiting, though.
“Turn around,” he said.
“You heard me. Turn around, Abigail.”
The low, deep rumble of his chuckle sent the tiny hairs on her neck up to attention.
“When I have to be,” he said. “Believe me, for once you’ll be glad you listened.”
“Doubtful,” she murmured. Reluctantly, she presented him with her back.
“Take a breath,” he told her. “A deep one. And hold it for a few seconds.”
“Now let it out, slowly. Count to five in your head while you do.”
“What is this, Bannerman? Some Vulcan mind- trick cure for a headache? Because if it is, it’s not—oh! Oh…my.” The last word scattered out in one long exhale.
“Told you you’d be glad you listened.”
The pressure of his thumbs on either side of her shoulders, a hair below the collar of her blouse as they kneaded, pressed, and drew little circles around her constricted muscles, shot a wave of intense pleasure straight down the length of her spine.
Abby closed her eyes and sighed. “Oh, good Lord. Whatever you’re doing, don’t stop.”
“Your neck is so tight, I’m surprised your spine doesn’t snap when you walk in those stilts you love so much. It’s a wonder you can move at all with any kind of flexibility.”
“Practice.” She all but purred like her cat when his thumbs sank into her flesh. “And motivation. That feels…amazeballs.”
She swore she could hear his grin. He replaced his thumbs with the pads of his first and second fingers, pressed in deep, released, and then did it again.
“Amazeballs, Abigail? How old are you?”
“Oh! I’ll be any age you want me to be, but don’t stop…please.”
His chuckle turned to a laugh. “I can’t tell you how much I like hearing you beg. Take another deep breath.”
Obediently, since she now knew the benefits of being so, she did. “Oh. My. God.”
He’d wound his long, strong fingers up under her hairline. While he flexed them, massaging every bit of her skull, a thousand jolts of electricity bounded down her back. Her legs turned liquid. She needed to sit down before she fell flat to the floor.
“Stop wiggling. Try to hold still,” he said, dangerously close to her ear. The warmth of his breath as it whispered over her neck delightfully singed her skin. “There’s one pressure point I haven’t gotten to yet.”
“I can’t feel my feet.” Good Lord. Did that moan come from her?
“Good. Then this is working. Give me another minute.”
“You can have all night, Bannerman. As long as you want. Just don’t stop.”
For the briefest of moments, so brief she might have imagined it, he stopped kneading, a swift inhale ringing around her. Then, in a heartbeat, he started his ministrations again. For the first time Abby noticed their bodies were touching, the middle of her back pressed along his torso.
While his fingers skimmed up to her temples, she tilted backward, bumping her head against his chest. He was as solid as a block of concrete.
Rick inhaled a jagged breath when the rest of her body pressed into him.
He had the pads of three fingers against her temples now, the concentric circles he pressed and released over them drawing out little mewing noises from the back of her throat. When his pinkies joined their brothers, all four fingers of each hand now splayed along her skin, feathered into her hairline, Abby rolled her neck back and opened her eyes a fraction. Upside down, she saw the edge of Rick’s jaw, watched— fascinated—as his throat bobbed up and down while he continued attending to her.
“I’m almost done. Hold on for another sec.”
She let her eyes drift closed again. Rick moved his hands so they cupped the back of her neck, then, slowly, he brought her head away from his chest to an upright position, leaving his palms flattened across her shoulder blades.
“Take a breath and lift your shoulders,” he commanded.
Abby did, then rolled her head front to back.
“How’s the headache now?”
She opened her eyes and blinked. “Gone.” She whirled around to face him. “Completely gone.”
He nodded and flexed his fingers as if working out his own kinks. “Good. I’m glad it worked.”
“Where did you learn how to do that?” She slid a hand along one side of her neck, tilted her head, then moved it in the opposite direction. “I don’t think my shoulders have been this loose since, well, fourth grade.”
“You spend a lot of time hunched over.” He opened her fridge and pulled out two bottled waters. “Computer. Legal briefs. It’s no wonder your shoulders are tight and you’re susceptible to migraines.”
“How did you know I had migraines?” She took a swig of the water. “I mean, as opposed to regular bad headaches?”
“You wear the pain on your face. It’s obvious to anyone who knows what to look for.”
“And you do?”
He nodded. “Drink the whole bottle and then you need to eat. You haven’t had anything all day. It’s a wonder you aren’t dropping.”
He bent and peeked into the refrigerator. Sipping her water, she took the opportunity to stare at his butt.