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An innocent in the crossfire . . .

FBI agent Jack Holland broke every rule in the book falling for the girlfriend of Angelo Cabrini, son of a New Jersey mob boss. But even if Callie Lansing’s relationship to Angelo was actually a cover and her heart was free, her relationship with Jack put both of their lives at risk. Nothing, though, could make Jack regret the liaison that led to the birth of their son, Jonathan.

After Angelo discovered Callie’s pregnancy, he went after Jack and wound up dead. Now Jack is on the run with a target on his back. The only thing keeping Callie and Jonathan safe is the mob boss’s belief that the baby is his grandchild. But if Victor Cabrini discovers the truth before Jack can put him behind bars, it could mean death for his sweet covert family. . . .

 

Early praise for Running Target

“Thrilling . . . Lemor once again features a dynamite protagonist who’s easily relatable, and her talent for incorporating romance and forgiveness against the odds makes Running Target even more enticing.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Ms. Lemor has delivered a scintillating read in this book where the chemistry was riveting; the secondary characters entertained me just as much as the main ones; and the ending took me completely by surprise.” ~ Book Magic Book Reviews

“Running Target is about finding one’s way back home. It’s about beating the odds when it seems like everything is going against you. And most importantly, it’s about family. I would recommend this for readers who enjoy their romance mixed with a light level of suspense.” ~Harlequin Junkie

Excerpt:

An infant’s cry broke the stillness of the maternity ward as Jack crept through the hallway. He looked toward the nursery. Should he go there first or to where Callie was? The room was less risky and he needed to see her. Assure himself she was okay.

The door was ajar so he slipped through, closing it enough to allow a sliver of light to filter in. He made out the petite shape of the sleeping woman then saw the bassinet next to her. His breath left his body. The baby was here with her.

Stepping closer, he looked down on the clear container, the blue tag proclaiming this child to be a boy. Squinting in the dim light, he read the words. Mother’s name: Callina Lansing. Baby: Jonathan.

Jonathan. She’d named the baby after him. A lump clogged his throat. A son. Damn. He had a son and wouldn’t be able to get to know him, see him grow, share in his life. This fucking world was too cruel at times.

He shouldn’t take the chance but he needed to hold him. It was vital that he touch the life he and Callie had created. He wanted—no needed—to let his child know how much he loved him. The powerful emotion emanated from his heart even as he gazed down at the tiny figure. How could love grow this fast? His first glimpse was only a second ago. Now the feeling consumed him.

Reaching down, he stroked the side of his son’s face. The baby turned his head, his bow-shaped lips opening slightly. Jack’s heart beat faster. The protective instincts that had always come into play when he was around Callie, throbbed to life and expanded as he gazed at the sweet face of his son. Heat like an electric storm surged through his blood. How could he protect this child in his current situation? He’d bring more danger upon him if he hung around. Eight months of running, trying to escape the long arm of Victor Cabrini, had shown him what hell was. Now he glimpsed a small piece of heaven.

He slid his hands under the infant, lifting him from the bed to hold him close. Jonathan barely weighed anything. His heart constricted yet again. The innocent baby scent wafted into his nostrils and he blinked back the moisture filling his eyes. The reaction was primitive and territorial. This was his son.

Their child’s eyes opened but no cry erupted so Jack relaxed. It shook him to the core knowing Callie had named the baby after him. After deserting her she had every right to hate him. As much as he hated himself. Leaving her hadn’t been in his plans but the choice had been ripped away from him. It had taken a while to recover from the stabbing. Then the fuck-up by the Bureau had happened.

He stared again at the unfocused eyes of his son, his forehead touching that of the infant’s. Kissing his face, he absorbed every little facet he could. Who knew if he’d ever see him again.

Gazing at the sleeping woman, her innocent face relaxed in slumber, caused more pain to rip through his heart. Her dark hair, streaked with natural reds and golds, was a riot of curls that framed her peaceful face. Long lashes fanned over high cheekbones, highlighting the lovely structure of her eyes. His beautiful Calico Cat.

Had the pregnancy and labor been hard? She must have looked amazing, all round and filled with his child. Regret tore through him, anger warring with that emotion. Anger that his life had been stolen from him. He’d been fighting to get it back, but didn’t seem any closer now than he’d been eight months ago.

Jonathan let out a small mewing sound and Jack snuggled him close. “I’m right here, pal. I might not be around much but I wanted to let you know…I love you very much.” His voice cracked with emotion. “I’m your Dad.”

He had a son. Was now a father. But he couldn’t be a father—not in the way that it mattered. He’d swore he’d be better than his dad. But this—he’d be worse. As it began to sink in, his hands shook with the enormity of the situation.

A noise from Callie drew his eyes to the bed. She shouldn’t see him. It was too dangerous. Still he wasn’t ready to give up holding his son quite yet. You might as well rip his heart from his chest and throw it on the floor.

 

Buy links:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GYPLR6A/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-target-kari-lemor/1125166579?ean=9781516100736

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/running-target/id1178479419?mt=11

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kari_Lemor_Running_Target?id=zhGJDQAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/running-target

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Thanks so much for stopping by to help me celebrate the release of V and Sam’s story.

Don’t forget to enter and good luck in the giveaway!

“Grab it, read it, love it and thank me later!”

~ Tome Tender Book Blog

Will the mistakes of the past ruin their future?

As public relations coordinator for the Manhattan Marauders pro football team, Victoria “V” Price has the wealth, prestige, and glamour she only dreamed of growing up. All she’s missing is a man to share it with. V thought she gave up her shot at love when she left her childhood sweetheart in the dust of her rural Texas town, along with the painful secrets of her family life. But the past comes roaring back when Sam Fitzpatrick, the only man she ever loved, is hired as the Marauders’ new offensive coordinator.

Despite Sam’s reluctance to work alongside V, his distrust of the woman who broke his young heart is no match for their swiftly rekindling passion. Yet even as V’s tough PR persona gives way to her softer side, Sam wonders if their chemistry is enough to overcome the wounds left unhealed between them. But when the devastating truth of V’s past is exposed, threatening both her career and their second chance, Sam finds himself asking a different question: does he have what it takes to win back her love?

Available in all formats @ Kensington Publishing

 

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Coming June 27, 2017 from Lyrical Underground
DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
Book Two in the A Likely Story Series
from AJ Nuest


Revenge might be cold . . .


Xander Dade has a deep-seated regret, and the nomadic decade he’s spent doling out justice as a computer hacker hasn’t helped ease his conscience. Ever since Charlie McGovern was asked to leave the specialized revenge-for-hire business called Dirty Deeds, the curvy blonde bombshell has been stuck in his head. And now that the talented thief is being stalked by a dangerous enemy, Xander isn’t about to let her slip through his fingers—not when he’s so close to convincing her she belongs in his bed . . .


But desire is a dish best served hot


Caught in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, Charlie won’t be surrendering her secrets any time soon. Not even when long-lost friend, Xander Dade, shows up, packing a sexy agenda all his own. Her movements are being tracked, and accepting his help may put everyone she loves in danger. Things are getting too hot to handle, and selling her secrets to the highest bidder may end up costing more than her heart . . .

 
~ * ~
 

Well. Her shoulders hiked to
around her ears as she filled her lungs. Dropped in a hard shrug as she firmly
exhaled. Not a heartbeat later, a smile teased the corner of her mouth, and she
nearly chuckled. Whoever he was, she had to hand it to the guy. He’d just saved
her a Himalayan-sized heap of trouble. Starting now, she owed him a huge round
of thanks for his help.

 
He descended the steps as she
strode those last few feet toward her building. Geez, he had to top out
somewhere around six-four. Broad shoulders, trim hips. Rolling, sexy swagger in
his gait.
 
And dinner. At the very least,
she owed him her thanks and dinner.
 
The form-fitted stretch of a
white thermal shirt peeked through the unbuttoned sides of his red plaid
button-down and leather jacket, and her brow twitched at the thought of
exploring those cut ridges and slopes with her tongue.
 
Yowza. And if he played his cards
right, possibly an invitation to spend the night.
 
A five o’clock shadow covered his
jaw, the scruff a thick sandy brown, and framed a pair of lips that had been
molded by some evil entity with the sole purpose of shutting down a woman’s
brain.
 
Good God. Talk about an eyegasm. That
fantastic mouth had chew toy written all over it.
 
“So, yeah. That was pretty
impressive. Thanks for—” She locked onto his gaze and withdrew a step, her jaw hanging
off its hinge like the broken gate the super refused to fix by the fire escape.
Only one person she’d ever met had eyes that rivaled the clear, aquamarine
warmth of the Caribbean Sea, but there was no
way
he’d shown up in her part of town. “X-ray?”
 
The left corner of that luscious
mouth slid up in a lopsided grin, and she sputtered, shaking her head. Dear
God, it was him. She would’ve known
that heart-stopping smile anywhere.
 
“Hey, Chuck.” He ate up the
remaining space in one relaxed, easy stride. “It’s good to see you. Sorry for
stopping by unannounced.”
 
What in all the sweet holy
hotness was he doing here? She
snapped her mouth shut, her brain tripping over itself to catch up. Those were
his eyes, all right, and that was most definitely the lethal tilted smile she’d
always thought was so darn cute. But the rest of him did not resemble the same gawky teenager she’d left standing in
Malcolm’s front hallway ten years ago.
 
Heck, given the two-year age gap
between them, back then, she’d always kinda considered him her geeky, klutzy
version of a kid brother.
 
Well, not anymore. Whatever tread
climber he’d been dating, the pendulum had officially swung the other way.
“Trust me when I say it’s not a problem.”


Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Heat Rating: 4 Flames
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Author: AJ Nuest
 
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I jumped in with both feet, went on one heck of a journey with Gracie and Jake, before coming out on the other side with the biggest cheesy smile on my face. Hands down, I loved this book! ~ Wild Heart Reviews

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Own the Stage

 

Leave a comment for a chance at one of three free downloads of book #3 in my Players series,

TO WIN HER HEART

(random winners chosen 4/28)

EXCERPT:

“Is it all worth it?”

Immediately defensive, though she wasn’t sure why, she played dumb. “What do you mean?”

“The schedule. The headaches. The insomnia.”

She tensed as he ticked off the negative points she couldn’t argue. After days of nothing but pillow talk and laughter, the harsh reminder of reality stung. Pasting a teasing smile on her lips, she fluttered her lashes and attempted to head off the unpleasant direction the conversation had taken. “We’ve cured the insomnia, remember?”

He didn’t smile as she’d hoped. “What about the headaches?”

“Those, too.” With the way he seemed to spot whenever a migraine came on, he had to have noticed she’d been headache free since they’d been in the woods. Only time would tell if they would return once she was back onstage, but the tone of his questions made her nervous. “Where’s this going, Max?”

He shifted to his side so she came to rest on her back, her head cradled on his forearm. None of the easy laughter of the last few days shown in his somber eyes. “I’m curious. That first night at my condo, you spoke about your mother’s death and of owing your father for helping you attain her dream of seeing you on stage, but you said nothing about the dream being yours.”

Nerves skidded into unease and her stomach plummeted. With less than twelve hours left before they had to leave, she could think of a thousand things she’d rather do than discuss her career or her meltdown last week. Obviously, Max was of a different opinion.

“What kind of question is that?” Try as she might, some of her tension leaked out, making her answer curt. “I’ve worked damned hard to make it to where I am.”

He leaned over her, his gaze steady as it held hers. “I’m not questioning your talent or your drive. You have more of both than anyone I’ve ever met. You shine when you stand before an audience, Jess. I’ve never seen anyone own the stage the way you do, but I’ve also seen the fear in your eyes before each performance.”

She shrugged a shoulder as if the gut-wrenching terror gripping her each time she stepped on the stage was no big deal. “Lots of performers suffer from stage fright. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be there.” The claim sounded defensive even to her.

He nodded, as if he agreed, but didn’t back down from his line of questioning. “And afterward? The headaches and insomnia? Where do those come from? Because there hasn’t been a stage in sight for five days and suddenly they’re gone.”

Damn it. Did he think she hadn’t noticed? Didn’t wish there was a viable solution to make the stress and unhappiness go away? Angry tears of desperation threatened, and she avoided his gaze by rolling her head to the side. The best defense was a good offense. Several deep breaths helped her gain control and she went on attack. “Why all the questions? Is this another of your attempts to prepare me for when you’re gone?”

The question had been a red herring, designed to knock him off track, but the flash of guilt in his eyes told her she’d hit the bull’s eye.

He sighed. “In a way, I guess it is, but you came to me for help. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

“How? By pissing me off?” She attempted to roll away from him. He threw a thigh over both of hers and held her where she was.

“By asking the questions you should be asking yourself.” He swept his thumb over her cheek in a gentle caress. “You claim you’re losing yourself. How can you find your way to where you want to be without looking at where you’ve been?”

Her attempt at diversion had only added hurt to an already uncomfortable conversation. Maybe sarcasm was the answer. “Geez, who are you, Dr. Phil?”

He didn’t bite. Saying nothing, he continued to hold her pinned beneath him.

Damn it, why couldn’t he just drop it? What was the point? Every dream came with sacrifices and hardships. The important ones anyway. Her mother hadn’t survived to see hers realized. That made her dream more important than most.

Jessi slid her eyelids shut against his intent gaze. “I have to sing, Max. If I couldn’t, my soul would shrivel up and die.” She opened her eyes. “Are you suggesting I give it up?”

His gaze softened, and he shook his head. “Not at all. If singing is what you need, then do it. All I’m suggesting is you take a good hard look at your life and consider your options. Figure out what’s holding you back from being happy. Find out what it is you want and then make it happen.”

The earnest concern in his eyes warmed her heart. She lifted her hand to cup his bristled cheek. “Haven’t I made it perfectly clear what I want?”

“Jessi.” He wrapped his fingers around her wrist and tugged her hand away from his face before letting go.

“Max.” She held his gaze until he dropped his chin to his chest and sighed.

The marked pain on his face slashed at her like knives. After the emotional jarring he’d just given her, evidence the past two days hadn’t made a bit of difference in his plans really did piss her off.

Sliding his arm from beneath her head, he flopped onto his back to stare at the ceiling.

She rolled her head and stared at his profile. “At least I’m honest about what I want.”

“Are you? When you’re afraid to even look at a reality that’s making you ill?”

Her slow, indrawn breath didn’t fully deflect the hurt. She rose on her elbow and leaned over him. “What about you, hopping from woman to woman while getting your family fix through my family’s gatherings.”

His eyes sliced to her, full of heat at her cruel words.

Too hurt and angry to care, she pressed on before he could reply. “What kind of existence is that? Don’t you want more than a borrowed family? Don’t you want one you can call your own?”

He bared his teeth in a smile that didn’t come close to reaching his eyes. “I’ll stick with borrowed. I’ve had some experience with real family.” He pushed up to sit on the edge of the bed. The muscles of his back bunched as he leaned forward. “In my experience, they’re not worth the effort.”

Sarcasm aside, the underlying anger in his words cooled hers. She curled her fingers around his arm before he could stand. “I’m sorry, Max. I shouldn’t have said that.”

Her fingers slid away as he bent to pick up his briefs and stood.

“Your family’s friendship means a lot to me. I’ve never hidden that fact, but they aren’t a stand in for a family of my own.” He stepped into his briefs, tugged them up his legs, and over his hips. “Not everyone is cut out for picket fences and kids, Squirt. In fact, in most cases, the world is better off when bad blood isn’t passed on.” He headed for the door. “Get some sleep. We have an early flight in the morning.”

She stared at his back as he disappeared down the stairs. Bad blood? What the hell?

Players series available in all formats @ Lyrical Shine button

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TO WIN HER HEART

book #3 of the #Players series is live!

We’re celebrating on Facebook all week, from 4/12 – 4/17.

For lots of fun, guest authors, games, surprises, a Kindle Fire Grand Prize and some awesome #flashgiveaways,

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Have you met Tuck?

His story, To Win Her Trust, book 2 in the Players series, is on sale for $1.99

and he’s ready to sweep you off your feet.

Oh, and if you hurry, you can snatch up book 1, To Win Her Love, for $.99 this week as well.

You’ll find all formats of both books at Kensington Publishing.

The fabulous folks at Kensington/Lyrical are giving away a print copy of To Win Her Trust,

book 2 in my fun and steamy “Players” series. 

Enter here.

Can she trust this player with her heart?

Ever since experiencing a childhood trauma, reclusive artist CC Calhoun has suffered from panic attacks. But when a fateful kiss from handsome wide receiver, Kevin “Tuck” Tucker, is enough to stop one of those episodes cold, she wonders if guarding her heart has been the right choice. Will going on a test date with Tuck open her to trusting someone for the first time in years? Or will she wind up being just another notch in the football player’s bedpost?

Tuck has a reputation for charming women into bed, but after his kiss with CC, he’s left aching for more. When he proposes a second date, his attraction to the sexy blonde looks like the makings of true love—something he’s never quite believed in—until now. But when Tuck discovers CC’s childhood secrets, will the pro athlete be tough enough to stay by her side—or will he betray her hard-earned trust?

Available for pre-order

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Wowza! The fabulous people over at Kensington Publishing have put together this rockin’ giveaway including TO WIN HER LOVE, book 1 of my Players series.

I’m stoked whenever I see that cover, but I so love that bag. I NEED that bag!

Unfortunately, I can’t win it, but you can. So, what are you waiting for?

Click on the link below and get entered! Good luck all. 

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